CreativityAugust 31st, 2011
I’ve been thinking about creativity a great deal lately. Some of the impetus, I must say, have been provoked by the slew of publications I’ve found on the subject.
You don’t have to go far to find these publications. Thanks to google, all you have to do is type in ‘creativity’ in the search box, select ‘books,’ and you’ll see the whole gamut. Some of these books are over 400 pages long.
I actually have some of these books in my possession.
And I’m still waiting to dig into them. Somehow, the thought of having to wade through over 400 pages of scholarly discussion about creativity does not seem, in itself, to be a very creative thing to do so I’ve been avoiding it.
The question is, can creativity even be taught?
And that’s where I differ with these creativity experts.
For example, did anyone teach Bob Dylan to be creative? I’ve seen the documentary “Don’t look back.” He just sits with this typewriter and bang away at the keys. What’s driving him and providing him with all that creative energy?
Or Glenn Gould recording the Goldberg, singing and humming away, baring his soul to the world. Did someone teach him to come up with his unique and breathtaking interpretation of the work?
Or closer to home, if you’ve seen a young kid on the beach, making sand castles, or just playing with the sand. Did you see any creativity expert nearby telling him, “Here, sonny, this is how you make a sand castle”?
Creativity is an urge, a hunger, an obsession. It’s pure energy.
It can’t be taught just as you can’t teach someone to be hungry. All you can do is foster that energy, and give it an outlet.
I live in a city where people are constantly having to whitewash walls.
Now, I’m not condoning any acts of vandalism. Defacing public property and other people’s fences is not a fun matter for those having to clean it up.
But what drives young people to go out at night and spray paint public property? There’re many motivations, I suspect, but one of these has to be that creative energy bursting inside all these young hearts, just wanting to be expressed.
Although many of these expressions are just random territorial statements, some of them are incredibly beautiful.
Talking about graffiti, I’ve heard that graffiti is a serious crime in Singapore which is punishable with many strokes of the cane.
And I’ve also heard that Singapore is at the forefront in fostering creativity. They’ve recruited Edward de Bono and Andrei Aleinikov (two experts who I happen to have the greatest respect for) to help their citizens become more creative.
Now I wonder whether there’s any connection here.