This author, being neither a humorist nor a prophet, is inclined to attribute the basic fear of criticism to thatpart of man's inherited nature which prompts him not only to take away his fellowman's goods and wares, butto justify his action by CRITICISM of his fellowman's character. It is a well known fact that a thief willcriticize the man from whom he steals-that politicians seek office, not by displaying their own virtues andqualifications, but by attempting to besmirch their opponents.
The fear of criticism takes on many forms, the majority of which are petty and trivial. Baldheaded men, forexample, are bald for no other reason than their fear of criticism. Heads become bald because of the tightfitting bands of hats which cut off the circulation from the roots of the hair. Men wear hats, not because theyactually need them, but mainly because "everyone is doing it." The individual falls into line and does likewise,lest some other individual CRITICISE him. Women seldom have bald heads, or even thin hair, because theywear hats which fit their heads loosely, the only purpose of the hats being adornment.
But, it must not be supposed that women are free from the fear of criticism. If any woman claims to besuperior to man with reference to this fear, ask her to walk down the street wearing a hat of the vintage of1890.
The astute manufacturers of clothing have not been slow to capitalize this basic fear of criticism, with whichall mankind has been cursed. Every season the styles in many articles of wearing apparel change. Whoestablishes the styles? Certainly not the purchaser of clothing, but the manufacturer. Why does he change thestyles so often? The answer is obvious. He changes the styles so he can sell more clothes.
For the same reason the manufacturers of automobiles (with a few rare and very sensible exceptions) changestyles of models every season. No man wants to drive an. automobile which is not of the latest style, althoughthe older model may actually be the better car. We have been describing the manner in which people behaveunder the influence of fear of criticism as applied to the small and petty things of life. Let us now examinehuman behavior when this fear affects people in connection with the more important events of humanrelationship. Take for example practically any person who has reached the age of "mental maturity" (from 35to 40 years of age, as a general average), and if you could read the secret thoughts of his mind, you would finda very decided disbelief in most of the fables taught by the majority of the dogmatists and theologians a fewdecades back.
Not often, however, will you find a person who has the courage to openly state his belief on this subject. Mostpeople will, if pressed far enough, tell a lie rather than admit that they do not believe the stories associatedwith that form of religion which held people in bondage prior to the age of scientific discovery and education.
Why does the average person, even in this day of enlightenment, shy away from denying his belief in thefables which were the basis of most of the religions a few decades ago? The answer is, "because of the fear ofcriticism." Men and women have been burned at the stake for daring to express disbelief in ghosts. It is nowonder we have inherited a consciousness which makes us fear criticism. The time was, and not so far in thepast, when criticism carried severe punishments-it still does in some countries.
The fear of criticism robs man of his initiative, destroys his power of imagination, limits his individuality,takes away his self-reliance, and does him damage in a hundred other ways. Parents often do their childrenirreparable injury by criticizing them. The mother of one of my boyhood chums used to punish him with aswitch almost daily, always completing the job with the statement, "You'll land in the penitentiary before youare twenty." He was sent to a Reformatory at the age of seventeen.
Criticism is the one form of service, of which everyone has too much. Everyone has a stock of it which ishanded out, gratis, whether called for or not. One's nearest relatives often are the worst offenders. It should berecognized as a crime (in reality it is a crime of the worst nature), for any parent to build inferiority complexesin the mind of a child, through unnecessary criticism. Employers who understand human nature, get the bestthere is in men, not by criticism, but by constructive suggestion. Parents may accomplish the same results withtheir children. Criticism will plant FEAR in the human heart, or resentment, but it will not build love oraffection.
SYMPTOMS OF THE FEAR OF CRITICISM
This fear is almost as universal as the fear of poverty, and its effects are just as fatal to personal achievement,mainly because this fear destroys initiative, and discourages the use of imagination.
The major symptoms of the fear are:
SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. Generally expressed through nervousness, timidity in conversation and in meetingstrangers, awkward movement of the hands and limbs, shifting of the eyes.
LACK OF POISE. Expressed through lack of voice control, nervousness in the presence of others, poorposture of body, poor memory.
PERSONALITY. Lacking in firmness of decision, personal charm, and ability to express opinions definitely.
The habit of side-stepping issues instead of meeting them squarely. Agreeing with others without carefulexamination of their opinions.
INFERIORITY COMPLEX. The habit of expressing self-approval by word of mouth and by actions, as ameans of covering up a feeling of inferiority. Using "big words" to impress others, (often without knowing thereal meaning of the words). Imitating others in dress, speech and manners. Boasting of imaginaryachievements. This sometimes gives a surface appearance of a feeling of superiority.
EXTRAVAGANCE. The habit of trying to "keep up with the Joneses," spending beyond one's income.
LACK OF INITIATIVE. Failure to embrace opportunities for self-advancement, fear to express opinions, lackof confidence in one's own ideas, giving evasive answers to questions asked by superiors, hesitancy of mannerand speech, deceit in both words and deeds.
LACK OF AMBITION. Mental and physical laziness, lack of self-assertion, slowness in reaching decisions,easily influenced by others, the habit of criticizing others behind their backs and flattering them to their faces,the habit of accepting defeat without protest, quitting an undertaking when opposed by others, suspicious ofother people without cause, lacking in tactfulness of manner and speech, unwillingness to accept the blame formistakes.
作者倾向于认为恐惧批评属于人类与生俱来的天性的一部分，这一点使他不仅夺走同胞的物品， 还批评同胞的人格从而使自己的行为合理化。众所周知， 小偷会批评被盗者，政客不是通过展现自己的美德和才华，而是通过诋毁对手的名誉而获得职位。
恐惧批评会剥夺人们的主动性， 推毁其想像力，限制其个性，夺走其自立，并以各种可能的其他方式害人。父母经常批评孩子，而给孩子造成无可弥补的伤害。我有一位童年好友， 他的母亲几乎每天都要打他， 打完后总说：
"到不了2 0岁，你就得进劳教所。"结果他在1 7岁那年进了劳教所。
这项恐惧几乎和害怕贫穷一样随处可见， 对个人成就有同样的致命影响， 主要是因为这种恐惧会摧毁主动性，扼杀想像力。这种恐惧的主要症状有：
o 自卑。口头及行为上习惯表现出自我赞许，目的在于掩饰自卑感；使用" 生僻字眼"以期给人留下印象，但经常并不了解那些字眼的确切含义；模仿他人的衣着、言谈和举止；夸耀虚构的成就，这一点有时会造成一种优越感的表象。