What Would a Day Look Like if Creativity was Dead?
“I’m not like you, I don’t do creativity -I’m not a creative person”
This is what I often hear when I mention that I quit a career in business to become a teaching artist. In the same way, many believe that The Arts (what a dirty word for some) have no place in a society turned towards financial gain -aka our western societies. Considering the latest axing of the Arts Department in Australia, it seems that the current Australian government indeed thinks that way.
Sir Kevin Robinson, an English expert in the field, author and speaker on creativity and education, believes that “we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it.” In other words, education, society and government discourage our innate capacity to create, play and innovate.
In addition to fostering innovation, learning and collaboration, many eminent researchers and authors such as Robinson, Freud, Vygostky, Brock, Wood and Attfield support that:
Creativity encourages critical thinking, attention and memory, social and language skills, divergent thinking and problem-solving skills.
The international Deutsche bank has even installed 60,000 artworks in their offices across 40 countries as it proved to boost productivity amongst their employees.
However, some politicians still don’t seem convinced by all this research.
So let’s go along with it and imagine for a second what a society without art would look like.
You wake up in the morning with a sharp alarm – one of those strident sounds that make you cringe, not a nice and soft melody that someone designed to ensure that you face your hard working day feeling tranquil. You prepare to go to work and perhaps you read a magazine.
But since creativity and the arts have been cut in Education or in society, the authors haven’t developed much critical thinking nor divergent thinking: what you read are facts, perhaps biased information relayed by the government or some powerful body. Your magazine doesn’t include any images, and the whole thing is presented blandly in a Time New Roman font.
You commute to work by car or by train. None of them showcase any color or design whatsoever. Perhaps you actually will need to walk since creativity and play is the birth of innovation: no innovation, no car, no train. It’s a bit like what they say in The Intouchables: “no feet, no sweets” – but you won’t have seen this movie either since filmmaking is dead.
You wait patiently for your stop without the ability to read a book, listen to music or even play a game on your iPhone (which wouldn’t have been invented by the way -that required genius creative and innovation skills). If you’re driving, don’t even try to turn the radio on: you won’t be able to hear anything except people talking about the latest news and market trends.
You have that annoying feeling that you forgot something at home, but since your attention and memory were poorly trained, you can’t recall what it is that you left at home (your briefcase).
You arrive at work: no image on your computer screen, no jokes (that requires some divergent thinking and play skills), no browsing on internet to read some creative writing or see pictures.
At midday sharp, you go out for lunch and eat some tasteless noodles because the chef has no cooking creative fiber in his body. You struggle to relate to the people around you since your social and language skills haven’t developed completely. You go back to work and wait desperately for the day to end. You feel ashamed of making so many spelling mistakes in your emails but can’t help it: you haven’t read a book for a very long time – no one possesses any creative writing skills anymore nor write fictions.
Perhaps your computer breaks down or you struggle with a customer, but your lack of problem-solving skills stops you from…well, solving any problem. You go back home the same way that you came to work earlier: satisfied that the data is good and the market does well, but dead inside. You sit on your couch and look blankly at your white wall because there’s no point in having a TV that broadcasts static noise 24/7.
You wonder desperately what could help you to relax and relieve you from your stressful day: alcohol or sex seem the only possible solutions (although, again, without any creativity those options might not be very satisfying). You eat your bland dinner; you never really learned how to cook and there are no books or blogs to help. You go to bed, sigh at the idea to go through it all over again tomorrow. You close your eyes.
You fall into a deep sleep devoid of any dreams. You don’t realize you forgot to take your valium.
This doesn’t feel like a society that would promote mental health and connections. This doesn’t feel like a society I would be happy living in.
What about you?
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