Thursday, March 27, 2008

On Creativity

Throughout my life I have always considered myself to be "uncreative". I simply could or did not build, imagine, or produce anything. In fact, I reckon this blog is the first and only tangible thing I have ever produced in my entire life.

So why wasn't I creative? I always assumed I lacked the gene but have since dismissed that explanation. In fact, I am feeling my creative juices swell these days, so much so that I am even contemplating writing some fiction! So apparently I do have the capacity to imagine. Heck, most of my utterances are total BS anyway - how much of a leap is there from that to the land of make-believe?

Here's a long (20 minute) clip of Ken Robinson who asks, "Do Schools Kill Creativity":

Ken brings up the point that modern schooling is only 100 years old and that it was set up to serve "industrialists" by emphasizing math and literacy instead of "creativity". He doesn't dare mention the "political mind control" aspect to his progressive audience. It's not even clear that he understands that phenomenon. But his talk is peppered with decent jokes and has at least a palatable thrust, so there's reason enough to watch it.

So, does mass schooling in fact kill creativity?

Of course it does. It saps that and a few other core human potentialities.

The last two books I've read were on Mark Twain and Walt Disney - two towering examples of American creativity. Perhaps, I can soon do a more involved post on them and the subject in the future.

If I could only create free time...


Taylor Conant said...

Cool video, thanks for bringing it to my attention. So many of the other speakers at TED seemed to be maniac egos with small ideas posing as humble scholars with BRIGHT ideas. (Ahem, Al Gore, and also some theological scholar who said that every child in the world should learn about every religion on earth and be allowed to freely choose the one that fit him best...)

I agree with essentially everything he talked about in that vid. I think my creativity was squandered when I was young, I was put on Ritalin at age 7 for a number of years. I think my life would be different than it is now if I hadn't, in a lot of positive ways.

I look at my sister, too, who supposedly has a "learning disability" and it's clear she is just like I was, fidgety, a dancer like the guy's story (I'm not saying I was a dancer, though I was fidgety), and she simply learns differently than other people. She's incredibly creative and intelligent when people allow her to be so.

Sad, to think how much more "progressive" the world would be if everyone stopped trying to medicate and control the free-thinking spirits.

CaptiousNut said...

I think one of the points the Brit touched upon was the opportunity to "make mistakes". Not everyone sucks it up and thrives from failure, but I think for the lot of us, there's more risk - and definitely less reward - in avoiding humble pie than in sampling it.

The number of great achievers who've been mired in "misfortune" is a powerfully instructive fact all by itself. Heck, Winston Churchill went from flunking English to becoming eloquence incarnate. Walt Disney was also a bumbling, starving innovator for years before he bestrode the world of entertainment.

There's also that aphorism about the difference between life and school: In life, the tests come first, the lessons later on.

Why then do we indulge a school system that literally turns life itself upside down?