The Need for Criticism
Life is a phenomenon in need of criticism, for we are, as fallen creatures, in permanent danger of worshipping false gods, of failing to understand ourselves and misinterpreting the behaviour of others, of growing unproductively anxious or desirous, and of losing ourselves to vanity and error. Surreptitiously and beguilingly, then, with humour or gravity, works of art - novels, poems, plays, paintings or films - can function as vehicles to explain our condition to us. They may act as guides to a truer, more judicious, more intelligent understanding of the world.
Alain de Botton, in 'Status Anxiety'