“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. – Pablo Picasso
Creativity is one of our most powerful abilities, alongside with freedom. It is extremely useful and can be used for good, but we must be extremely careful with it. You hear about it every day. Creativity is an important thing in our now much more connected world. A lot of people like to stress that we must have creativity if we are to evolve. However, I don’t think we will evolve that much, because human creativity has been going through a slow death, and the fact that most people don’t consider themselves creative these days is really troubling.
Take this study for example:
It showed that among a group of second graders, 95 percent of them answered yes, they were most certainly creative! This group was asked again, this time in fifth grade. Only 5 percent of them answered the same.
Ken Robinson has a great explanation for this in one of his TED talks back in 2006:
*Many workplaces often stress of doing one way right, and if you do or say something wrong, you will be scolded. This is especially prevalent in our education system. We are told that there is one way to do things in school, one way to solve problems, one answer. The problem with this is that it creates convergent thinking, which is uncreative.
*The modern-day education system can trace its roots to the 19th century. At this point, much of the world was industrializing. Even though many parts of the world are deindustrialized, schools still value subjects which are more critical to the industrial world. We stress English, Mathematics, and Science, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but many other subjects, like dancing or drawing, are being repressed, because we don’t value them as much. As kids grow older, they get the perception that what they thought when they were a kid was absolutely worthless, but in reality that’s not true at all. Ideas when they were a kid could definitely be used as art, stories, etc, but we suppress that.
I have a different theory to the death of creativity, and that is the idea of “maturity”. Not exactly the main core of maturity, but what is perceived as maturity. This is definitely related to the first part.
*When you’re younger, you’re encouraged to dress in all these cool clothes with fun designs and such. But as you get older, you’re told to “dress your age”. That means dressing conservatively. There’s an idea of sameness in that. When you’re older, you must dress this way. You can’t wear these shirts with cool designs, because that’s “not your age”. There are a lot of adult enthusiasts for certain cartoons, video games, and such, but they are often scolded and viewed as “not being able to move on” or “not able to grow up”. However, they probably have a greater sense of creativity, because they didn’t let the boring maturity norms kill their love for such.
*As we grow up, certain ideas we develop are considered “immature”. Remember that cool story or drawing you made that mixed up these cool environments and your favorite characters? Tough luck, you’ll be considered “immature”, or perhaps worse. “Gay” and “retarded” are the words that I particularly loathe.
*”Gay” and “retarded” are often used in a negative sense by teenagers to scold something. This can be connected to the idea of always wanting to be right, to do no wrong. Nobody wants to have their ideas to be called in a derogatory way. Because of that, such ideas are quickly discarded. This is bad, because those ideas really could have had a shot, but because of popular norms, it died.
Maturity is simply the development of a person into an able-bodied mind able to make their own decisions and use freedom wisely, and able to live on their own and live in the world without much assistance. Nothing more, nothing else.
But what I find particularly disturbing about the education system is this:
*Students are forced to be in these boring rooms where they are forced to listen to someone lecture about something. Instead, they could actually be developing ideas which could be useful. They could be making their own stories, books, philosophies, games, etc. We don’t encourage that.
Creativity is perhaps one of the greatest gifts a human can have. It can help a person create new stories, new paintings, new things which can be used to advance life. However, we as a society do not encourage creativity. We encourage it being destroyed in favor of forcing upon a boring industrial system of sameness among the masses. Instead of encouraging new ideas, we force people to take the same idea that is accepted. We don’t let students have a free mind. In the end, as the world progresses, future generations may actually be less creative, because the education system that we force upon them will kill any new ideas they may have. We have to change the education system, and instead of forcing people to accept ideas, we should instead let people make their own interpretations and create new ones.