The Death of Creativity
by Ayushi Nagalia
Since the very day a child is born, the world around starts to contemplate what her future is going to be like, what she would grow up to be like, what skills and talents she would develop as an adult and what education system and stream she would follow. From the very beginning, only two fuels run the human mind; it’s capability to understand the things that already exist, and its ability to create new things. Intelligence and creativity are the two things which if used together, can take a person to great heights. However, creativity always has the upper hand. Nothing in this world has ever been created without a certain level of creative curiosity and the will to take risks and do things never done before.
While we, as a society are correct about the fact that education is the key to enhance one’s intelligence and logical reasoning, it is most unfortunate that we also believe that education also enhances our creative skills and capacities. No such education system exists in the entire world that can successfully trigger a person’s creativity. If anything, education grabs creativity by the neck and squeezes it hard enough to exhaust it completely.
The future is unpredictable. Nobody knows what a person might have to do after 10 years. The education system is vested to take us into a future we cannot grasp. We don’t know what the world is going to be like in few years, yet, we are taught how to function in the future. Such dictative education system sucks the children’s ability to imagine what the future is going to be like; it destroys their will to do something different that could possibly change the future of the entire world. Such dictative education system curbs creativity from flourishing.
In schools, students are taught the same mathematical principles, the same literary derivations, the same historical events; and the students are expected to never question the textbooks and the teachers, they are expected to grasp everything they are told, no matter what their opinion is. Restricting a human mind to believe for example, that that the poems Lamb and Tyger by William Blake have a singular meaning, and that they are poems only about the fierceness of a tiger and innocence of a lamb, is nothing but a way to restrict a child’s imaginative faculties, and unfortunately, that is what happens in schools all around the world. Even in case of subjects that purely require imagination, students are instructed in believe in a singular fashion, and any sort of wavering from the exact teaching of the concerned teacher, costs them their grades.
Our education system inculcates within us the belief that there is a fixed path towards success. However, the problem that arises is that, everyone in the world is following the same path and patterns to reach to the top of their respective industries. Therefore, it takes creativity for a person to do unconventional things and to walk on a road not taken towards success. It is creativity within a person’s character, sets her apart from the crowd. Thinking out of the box is a concept that is highly emphasized upon in today’s world. In understanding this statement, what needs to be understood is that the ‘box’ is our education. The ‘box’ is something that every person knows and can think about, because it is the knowledge that has been imparted on us through education. Thinking ‘out of the box’, or thinking beyond our education, is what constitutes to a prosperous person in every domain.
Education deprives people of practicality. Practical subjects like business, music and creative writing are also taught in schools. And sure, it is important to know the basics of any art that a person wishes to follow, but the over-emphasis on theory is what ruins the art. Students are taught the theories and are expected to create new things while strictly complying by them. By trying to make the students aware of the creative work of other people, schools make the mistake of terming them as ‘theories’ or ‘rules’.
It is important to remember that when Shakespeare created the format and rhyming scheme of the English sonnet, he did so without restricting his creativity by consulting to any rules; and his creation brought about a revolution in poetry. Nowadays, we are told to follow the exact rhyming scheme to pen down a sonnet, but wouldn’t coming up with a whole new rhyming pattern be more creative? Why are our creations forced to be the slaves of the ideas of other men? Our schools make us believe that our thoughts and ideas are not as important as the ‘theories’ and that we are not capable of creating history. Also, the theories that our taught to us have been laid down so long back, that it is striking how schools portray that modern creativity doesn’t even exist. Even though there are many new advancements coming up in every industry, nobody deigns to teach them to the young minds. Even today, we study Shakespeare and Bukowski and their age old writing styles. Poets like Lauren Eden and Neil Hilborn do not stand anywhere close to entering our everyday textbooks, no matter how they have been revolutionizing poetry and performing arts.
The fear of being wrong has been inculcated within the souls of every child so deeply, that they fear doing unconventional things, and thus, creating something new. If a person is not ready to be wrong, she can never be creative, because hit and trial method is the most effective way of creating something new, but the ‘hit’ part of it is what hits the confidence of students. Failure and creativity go hand in hand, and therefore, students need to believe that failure is just a proof that they arte going in the right direction. But unfortunately, the society and education system leads them to believe being wrong is the worst mistake they can ever make.
The education system follows a strict hierarchy, according to which, mathematics and science are reserved for the most intelligent students, commerce and humanities for the average ones and arts for the below average students. Just this little, seemingly harmless system creates an illusion that arts is a discipline that needs no studying and science is a discipline that should be studied only by geniuses; as a result, creative and more artistically inclined students also hesitate to study arts and instead opt for humanities or science. Eventually, these students start to loath the subjects they study and will definitely find their jobs miserable. All this misery happens due to the beliefs that our schools blindfold us with. Art is fairly synonymous to creativity and art is looked down upon in our education system. Other than hierarchy, another chief concern is that though many schools and colleges boast to provide good quality education in science and humanities, there is a very inadequate number of colleges that aim at providing decent quality education in subjects arts, dance and music.
Academic intelligence and the emphasis on good grades too creates an adverse effect on the creative abilities of a child. Students who are creative and/or are artistically talented or gifted, are looked down upon if they fail to successfully maintain good grades throughout their student lives. Such attitude towards them makes them feel like their art is not as important as studies and that maybe they are not as worthy as the other students around them, this leads to a major inferiority complex in children and they never get the courage to express themselves and portray their creativity in front of the entire world. Students have started learning for grades rather than developing themselves and that is the biggest proof of the fact that the education system is cheating them and is majorly flawed.
Students have made it a practice to study and not learn. Students study for good grades, good résumé and a good Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Students do not learn anything due to such studying. The aim of studying should not be good grades, but should be personality and creativity development. In the race to obtain a good IQ, we have forgotten all about the importance of EQ, i.e., Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence. A person’s IQ can categorize her into certain intelligence blocks; however, it is her EQ that defines the level of creativity in that person. Art and creativity are directly linked to a people’s emotions and how they choose to look at the world around them. It is absolutely distressing how easily our education system never mentions and oversees the importance of EQ in a person’s life. This just shows how creativity’s priority has taken a backseat in our education. It should not be ignored that personalities like Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Elvis Presley, the most creative souls the world has ever witnessed, were not as much educated as one might expect. They excelled in their fields due to their high EQ and high creativity. Such is the power of creating something new out of nothing.
Our education system has turned us into robots, following every instruction we are given without questioning it even for a second. Our emotions and our cognition are completely under the control of what we learn in the classroom and the time we spend in front of our computer screens. Technology too is responsible for the death of creativity. Nowadays, any person can write poetry and songs with the help of online tools, and anyone can put forward their work in front of the entire world, no matter its quality, with the help of the internet. Such easy access to the public too kills creativity, because a ‘creator’ doesn’t need the approval of a third party to portray their plagiarized or conventional work.
Schools and colleges need to deconstruct the system of grading and need to give an upper hand to arts. That day is not far away when creativity would seize to exist. And if that day comes, the world would become stagnant. The entire human race would turn into slaves to the monotony in life. Eventually with the changing circumstances in the world, we, as a community would not be able to come up with new ways to tackle the problems thrown at us by time, and would have to accept defeat against the physical world. The he mental faculties of humans would break down, and so would their existence.