Youth carries with it feasibly unrecognised, though estimable, excellence: innocence and modesty; for, it is a rarity that one in this stage of life is possessed of arrogance and conceit. It is a humbling experience to acknowledge one’s own limitations in environments and circumstances which expose the same. Emerson’s essay, Nominalist and Realist adeptly addresses this condition.
“In his childhood and youth he has had many checks and censures, and thinks modestly enough of his own endowment. When afterwards he comes to unfold it in propitious circumstance, it seems the only talent; he is delighted with his success, and accounts himself already the fellow of the great. But he goes into a mob, into a banking house, into a mechanic’s shop, into a mill, into a laboratory, into a ship, into a camp, and in each new place he is no better than an idiot; other talents take place, and rule the hour. The rotation which whirls every leaf and pebble to the meridian, reaches to every gift of man, and we all take turns at the top.“
A colleague shared with me the drawings of another colleague, which he applauded, and because they lacked the precision and realism of mine, I dismissed them as inferior in my thoughts. Should I have shed the arrogance of adulthood and acquiesce to the talents of another? Being cognisant of one’s own constraints and prejudices goes further and obviates the need for “critics” of any kind, and is precisely the reason I do not heed Critics’ opinions of art, books, music or cinema.
“If you criticise a fine genius, the odds are that you are out of your reckoning, and instead of the poet, are censuring your own caricature of him. For there is somewhat spheral and infinite in every man, especially in every genius, which, if you can come very near him, sports with all your limitations.”
Caravaggio: The Martyr of Saint Matthew
And there you have it. Consider this: all individuals, though seemingly flawed or inadequate, are nevertheless worthy of praise.
Finally. Am I alone in — upon reading the opening of the first quote — thinking of…this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ukUlu0x5k&app=desktop