A terrible thing is happening here in Georgia (and I’m sure in other places too). State government is planning cut all State funding for the arts, which of course will mean no matching funds from the federal government. Art is not considered necessary. The public libraries across Georgia operate on miniscule budgets, but even those are being cut. A mayor was heard to say that libraries were not necessary, nobody ever went there, they all have televisions in their own homes. Huge amounts of money are being cut from the education budgets, and schools have diluted and diluted their curricula until they are nothing more than a series of test questions that the children can learn by rote so that the schools don’t lose even more funding. The minds of all are being shrunk…watch tv, don’t read. Don’t even consider a creative answer, it’s not on the test. Art, music or drama? Those are unessential “soft” activities designed to take your mind off the real tasks in life: produce, buy and consume. Nineteen Eighty-four is here.
The crazy thing is – that in order to have more things to produce, buy and consume we need people to be creative. So cutting funding is self destructive anyway. All over the world companies are competing to provide new objects, new technologies, new systems. Innovative solutions are necessary for progress, so why are we not encouraging and teaching our children and ourselves to be creative? Even if creative solutions are dreamed up, it seems there are conspiracies to squash it. A friend of mine discovered a better drug for a certain disease; the drug’s patent was bought by a chemical company and the drug never produced….it might have competed with their existing drugs for that disease. Ian McEwan’s brilliant new book Solar shows how greed at every level acts like weed killer to mow down all new ideas sprouting up.
We need more Weeds!!! More creativity. More horizontal thinking all over the place. As teachers we know how often people say in class “oh I’m not creative like you”….let’s help everyone to see how creative they are.
I remember one class where the teacher started out great “let’s throw out all the rules!”, she said. But then, “now you must do this, and this , and this….and all by 4pm”!!! Hmm, just run that by me again?!!
If we all demand to be creative, celebrate creativity, stop educating our children in ways that reduce rather than increase their creativity, if we all stop watching reruns on telly and go to the library and support any local art event, perhaps we can begin to turn the tide. Let’s find out how to be creative and practice creativity every day…it’s more important for the brain than crosswords and sudoku. Once your brain has learned to solve those kinds of puzzles it stops learning, simply uses the same kind of analyses over and over.
Never again make a quilt that someone else designed! Never take a class where the teacher dictates the pattern or gives you new rules to replace old ones. Try to come up with new ways of solving problems, and encourage all those around you to do likewise. Let creativity rule, and grow and grow.
Sorry for the rant! but the local news has really shaken me up. If you have been, thanks for reading! And if you have any ideas as to how we can really encourage activity everywhere for everyone, let’s hear about it!