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On The Critical Attitude
(10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956 / Augsburg)

On The Critical Attitude

Poem By Bertolt Brecht

The critical attitude
Strikes many people as unfruitful
That is because they find the state
Impervious to their criticism
But what in this case is an unfruitful attitude
Is merely a feeble attitude. Give criticism arms
And states can be demolished by it.

Canalising a river
Grafting a fruit tree
Educating a person
Transforming a state
These are instances of fruitful criticism
And at the same time instances of art.

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Comments (3)

Brecht seems to be favoring the culture of criticism specifically. Criticism in his view loses its power when it is not tied to human psychology and the capacity for pleasure.
The 'critical attitude' can be seen as unfruitful when it is destructive rather than constructive.One has to have something positive to put in place of what is torn down; e.g. freedom instead of the Berlin wall. Criticism needs arms, that is, ways of implementation of the kind that Brecht details in his second stanza.
The 'critical attitude' can be seen as unfruitful when it is destructive rather than constructive.One has to be prepared to build anew as well as to tear down. Criticism needs arms, that is, ways of implementation of the kind that Brecht details in his second stanza.


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