• Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I was playing a simple game, and I had this realization that life may be devoid of meaning; but, still be enjoyable. The chance to partake in the practice of philosophy should be a pleasant experience even if the answers can never be known. After all, philosophy begins in wonder.

    Firstly, one can say many things about life, that it sucks, is full of suffering, that they wouldn't want to bring children into such a world, and so on... But, despite all this, life is a mystery nonetheless. We came about by a stroke of chance, depending on whether you're religious or not. As things are, scientists explore nature and in their own way feel the mystery of life through reason. Religious types might feel similarly; but, instead of 'reason', it's faith. I will most likely never be too religious a person, although I'm sure many scientists might have become religious over the sheer complexity of nature or elegant simplicity. I'm too firm a believer in reason to be persuaded by storytelling. However, I can appreciate and respect the religious mindset of awe with the world seen through spirituality and faith.

    Second, the internet is full of complaints. I don't think there ever existed a person that never complained. Yet, why do we complain so much? See, I'm doing it too. I suppose it's a matter of maturity.

    There's a cognitive dissonance here. Yet, the resolution should be obvious.

    Thoughts?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    We only complain because we care.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    165


    I think complaining can serve a host of different functions.

    Because we care about something, and we think complaining can have an effect on realising that something.

    Because it can play a role in our emotional economy, i.e. sometimes venting is better than keeping it all for yourself all the time.

    Because it can serve as a socio-political tool to help getting what we want.

    Because we have legitimate grievances and we want redress.
  • Baden
    6.5k
    Second, the internet is full of complaints. I don't think there ever existed a person that never complained. Yet, why do we complain so much? See, I'm doing it too. I suppose it's a matter of maturity.Posty McPostface

    What matters with regard to maturity is whether the complaint is justified/necessary as well as how it's presented, not that it's a complaint per se.
  • Jake
    269
    Second, the internet is full of complaints. I don't think there ever existed a person that never complained.Posty McPostface

    To correct the record, I've never complained, which is why I'm sick and tired of all these other people who are complaining day after day after day.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    We only complain because we care.StreetlightX

    If we cared so much, why are we still complaining?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    What matters with regard to maturity is whether the complaint is justified/necessary as well as how it's presented, not that it's a complaint per se.Baden

    What does that mean?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    If we didn't care we wouldn't complain. These things are complimentary, not disjunctive. The apathetic on the other hand - those who don't even care enough to complain - they are the true uncaring.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    If we didn't care we wouldn't complain. These things are complimentary, not disjunctive. The apathetic on the other hand - those who don't even care enough to complain - they are the true uncaring.StreetlightX

    Yeah; but, what good has complaining ever resulted in?
  • Baden
    6.5k


    It means that there's nothing inherently wrong in complaining. It's the context in which we do it that counts.

    Yeah; but, what good has complaining ever resulted in?Posty McPostface

    Can you really not think of any situation whereby a complaint could result in a positive outcome?
  • StreetlightX
    2.9k
    Evidently quite a bit, considering the frequency with which it is done. You should read - if you can get your hands on it - Aaron Schuster's "Critique of Pure Complaint" (in his Deleuze and Psychoanalysis).
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    It means that there's nothing inherently wrong in complaining. It's the context in which we do it that counts.Baden

    So, when is one's complaint justified?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Evidently quite a bit, considering the frequency with which it is done. you should read - if you can get your hands on it, Aaron Schuster's Critique of Complaining (in his Deleuze and Psychoanalysis).StreetlightX

    Thanks. Give me a pointer and I'll see if I can bite the cost.

    Edit: Just found it one Amazon. Nevermind.
  • Baden
    6.5k


    I would say if it results in or at least aims at a positive outcome and is undertaken for good reason. So, a positive or justified complaint to me would be one the motivation for which is a wrong, and the goal of which is to right that wrong. A negative complaint is one that involves simply venting with regard to a wrong (perceived or otherwise). For example, complaining to the appropriate authorities about being sexually harassed at work would generally fall in the former category while venting on the internet about how shit your life is in the latter.

    I suppose we could do a more comprehensive taxonomy of complaining by distinguishing between positive v negative and justified v unjustified complaints (for example, a complaint being justified (motivated by a wrong) doesn't necessarily make it positive (if one just vents with no hope of redressing that wrong)) but it's not necessary to do so to make the basic point that complaining is not always the wrong thing to do.
  • unenlightened
    2.6k
    So, when is one's complaint justified?Posty McPostface

    A complaint is justified morally, on grounds of justice, or duty, or some such. But perhaps one should consider too its felicity. A justified complaint directed towards someone who can do nothing to remedy it is infelicitous. We call it moaning, as distinct from whinging, which is unjustified complaint that amounts to a demand for special treatment. Moaning and whinging may get you a biscuit though, or just make you feel better and other folks worse.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I would say if it results in or at least aims at a positive outcome and is undertaken for good reason. So, a positive or justified complaint to me would be one the motivation for which is a wrong, and the goal of which is to right that wrong. A negative complaint is one that involves simply venting with regard to a wrong (perceived or otherwise). For example, complaining to the appropriate authorities about being sexually harassed at work would generally fall in the former category while venting on the internet about how shit your life is in the latter.Baden

    I think you are performing a category error or at least it doesn't fit the definition of what you're formally describing as (constructive) "criticism" and a complaint here. Correct me if I'm wrong on this.
  • Baden
    6.5k


    I'm not sure. Are you saying you think I'm confusing "complaining" with "criticism".
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I'm not sure. Are you saying you think I'm confusing "complaining" with "criticism".Baden

    Yes, I think so.
  • Baden
    6.5k


    Which example of mine do you think would be better classed as criticism than complaint? And I'll try to justify my definition in that case.
  • Baden
    6.5k
    (There is some overlap between the two terms).
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    Righting a wrong would be a case of criticism. Without going into the murky waters of intentionality, let's assume it's constructive criticism here.

    Venting, ranting, and trolling would be a case or form of complaining.
  • Baden
    6.5k
    Venting, ranting, and trolling would be a case or form of complaining.Posty McPostface

    It could be both. Complaining implies criticism when the complaint concerns an agent (rather than, for example, venting about the weather).

    Righting a wrong would be a case of criticism (Without going into intentionality, let's assume it's constructive criticism here).Posty McPostface

    It could be, but the example I gave concerned an official complaint regarding sexual harassment. Are we agreed that that case is also a case of complaining?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Complaining implies criticism when the complaint concerns an agent (rather than, for example, venting about the weather).Baden

    But, they surely aren't the same. One can imply the other, and be logically sound in such an assertion, depending on how you view things; but, both are distinct, in my opinion.

    It could be, but the example I gave concerned an official complaint regarding sexual harassment. Are we agreed that that case is also a case of complaining?Baden

    Yes, I'm in agreement here.
  • Baden
    6.5k
    But, they surely aren't the same. One can imply the other, and be logically sound in such an assertion, depending on how you view things; but, both are distinct, in my opinion.Posty McPostface

    Well, I only made the claim that one implied the other in the case of a complaint regarding an agent. But, examples aside, what is the specific semantic distinction you want to highlight?
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Well, I only made the claim that one implied the other in the case of a complaint regarding an agent. But, examples aside, what is the specific semantic distinction you want to highlight?Baden

    Well, I think that criticism can be justified by some rules or whatever normative framework you can have. Complaints are never justified, though, under this understanding.
  • Baden
    6.5k


    But you've just agreed that my sexual harassment example is an example of a bona fide complaint. Clearly this is justified in relation to normative rules regarding employee interactions, right?
  • Baden
    6.5k
    A complaint is an expression of disapproval or disappointment regarding a state of affairs and may or may not be directed at an agent. A criticism is an expression of disapproval and/or an identification of a fault/deficit specifically directed at an agent, or a system designed and controlled by agents, or the creative work of an agent. That's the basic distinction I'd make.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.1k

    What's the deal against complaining? Complaining is a way of showing disapproval at a state of affairs as @Baden stated. It can be said that the US got started by colonists complaining. In fact there is a whole sections in the Declaration of Independence called "Grievances" that are essentially just complaints. Complaints are the catalyst to try to get to a different state of affairs. Those who don't complain and perhaps simply comply with a bad state of affairs may be indirectly complicit in the bad state of affairs.

    I bring up a lot of the negative aspects of the human experience, and the structural suffering of life. I guess this can be construed as complaining. But then, I am bringing up disapproval of a negative state of affairs. In this case, it is the negative state of affairs of life itself. It is perhaps to catalyze people to look at it for what is going on to us as a whole.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    A complaint is an expression of disapproval or disappointment regarding a state of affairs and may or may not be directed at an agent. A criticism is an expression of disapproval and/or an identification of a fault/deficit specifically directed at an agent, or a system designed and controlled by agents, or the creative work of an agent. That's the basic distinction I'd make.Baden

    So, I guess there is an overlap between the two, which is based solely on agency. That doesn't seem right; but, I digress.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    I bring up a lot of the negative aspects of the human experience, and the structural suffering of life. I guess this can be construed as complaining. But then, I am bringing up disapproval of a negative state of affairs. In this case, it is the negative state of affairs of life itself. It is perhaps to catalyze people to look at it for what is going on to us as a whole.schopenhauer1

    Yes, while I understand that. Complaining breeds complaining, hence the issue with the internet in general, I suppose. Instead, the logical progression, in my mind and in accord with reason, would be the utilization of constructive criticism to actually perform some change in the matter or complaint against some state of affairs.
  • Baden
    6.5k


    Well, it's the distinction that jumps out at me, but there's much more to it. Criticism also covers, for example, literary and philosophical critique where, though agency is a factor, the primary distinction vs. complaining is more like the search for truth rather than the emotional aversion to it as revealed in a negative reaction to a given state of affairs. Anyway, it seems to me it's a particular type of complaining that you are highlighting, and rightly so, as objectionable. I'm, like others, only problematising the generalisation.
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