Few people create masterworks.
On the other hand, almost anyone can efface–or even destroy–works of excellence. Individuals today can find the means to destroy the work of ages.
All too often we honor those who take things apart. We disempower, discourage or disparage those who dare to create.
Destruction can be a precondition of creation. Deconstruction can pave the way for construction. Analysis can crystallize a vision for action.
But destruction is not creation. Deconstruction is not construction. Analysis is not action.
Deconstruction can locate Value
There can be great value in deconstruction.
One may deconstruct a work of art. Through the process, one may learn technique. One may even touch the magic of design, of vision.
One can deconstruct an automobile. In turn, one can build upon the accrued knowledge and experience of others, in different times and places.
One can reverse engineer any product or service to ascertain how better to serve one’s own customers.
At the least, one may find salvage value in parts and processes one plucks from the work of others.
Deconstruction is not Construction
Deconstruction can be precursor to construction. It can set the stage for new value creation or recognition. It can salvage bits of value already created.
Nonetheless, no matter how brilliantly executed, deconstruction must be ranked a secondary, derivative source of value.
The actor or the writer stands above the critic. The exception, proving the rule, would be the rare critic who creates a work of genius in form of criticism, criticism that itself reaches the level of art.
A World of Spectators
Information Age tools accord anyone the capacity for self-expression. All too often, too many among us apply these gifts to criticize or deconstruct. Presumably they find this safer and less demanding than throwing themselves open to the dangers of creation and innovation.
When a politician speaks, a cacophony of critics immediately set upon the style and setting of the communication. Or, they may simply use the occasion to express their preexisting opinion of the communicator. Rarely do they dispassionately attempt to work through the arguments or vision.
Politicians are nothing if not adaptive. Not rewarded for attempting to create a vision or respect their audience to follow an argument, they increasingly offer up what their critics and spectators reward.
The result is not merely the absence of creativity and vision. It’s a cycle of destruction and division.
Are these steps on the road to nihilism?
Criticism, Destruction is not Creation
The power of individuals to express themselves has occasioned a confederacy of critics. The universal right to speak, combined with the universal capacity to express oneself, occasions a widespread presumption of equality of value in expression.
That can be a delusion.
If you can analyze–even break apart the pieces of–a great speech, that does not make you a great speaker.
If you can find fault in a Beatles’ recording, that does not in itself make you a transformational popular artist.
If you can leave Coventry Cathedral in smoldering ruins in a matter of minutes, you’re anything but a creative.
Such derivative acts in no way render your contribution comparable to those whose work drew you in.
What about You?
Are you creating, criticizing, destroying?
Is the combination you’ve chosen in the service of art, in the service of others? Or is it simply serving yourself?
Where is the art of your life, your work? How will it be evaluated? Whose evaluation do you strive toward?
Looking at the life and work of those you admire, whose evaluation did they strive for? Where did they succeed? Where did they fall short?
Are you creating your own, unique masterpiece of service?
Destruction is not Creation