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7.3 Criticism of criticism

At this point it remains to be clarified how, in the course of faith, we can experience moments not disturbed by criticism, even though we will dedicate them relevant spaces at other times. It may be helping making use of another simple reasoning: if criticism is to be really serious and courageous, it must always have the courage to criticize itself. What does criticism of criticism mean? Obviously at first sight it appears as a vicious circle, since even criticism of criticism should then be criticized in its turn and so on endlessly. We can, however, observe that a serious criticism of criticism shall not make use of criticism only, because it would be like getting the par condicio on television only by asking a politician to do sometimes a little self-criticism. This is tantamount to saying that the task of criticizing criticism cannot be entrusted to criticism itself, but to what really opposes it, that is our human faculties of spiritual choice, which can claim to be larger and deeper than any understanding on which every criticism thinks to be based. This sort of defense of the spiritual experience is not based on its phantomal magnitude and mysterious depth never demonstrated, but on the very fact that, in history, nothing has ever been given that any criticism has shown to have understood one hundred percent. But is history enough to always demonstrate the existence of elements not yet understood? How is it possible to prove that they exist, if they have not yet been understood? If the history of criticism can be an element to relativize it, another blow against criticism can be suggested by a methodology that is often adopted by the critic itself: the accusation of explaining obscura for obscuriora (i.e. explaining unknown things by using references to other things that, to think of it, are even more unknown than the first ones). If this accusation can be applied to any answer, to any explanation, actually it can also be directed against any question, since there can be no questions that are not based on a minimum of precomprehension, and it is precisely this precomprehension that can always be accused of claim to have understood something. In other words, if there is a crisis of all the answers, we must not stop at this conclusion, but we must understand that actually this amounts to saying that there is also a crisis of all the questions. Thus the answers take their revenge: there is no question that does not need to be based on some answer in order to be formulated. Therefore statements can also claim to exist without being obliged to provide explanations to all the questions. In fact the world exists in our experience without having to give an account to anyone of why and how it exists. We can do all of this, obviously, without claiming to kill questions, which, as we said, are the only true, precious defense and protection against fanaticism.

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