The end of creativity

Arshid Malik

During my studies into the deep depths of human understanding and comprehension, I have come to abhor schooling of children. I was schooled and I know very well what it did to me, besides doing all those other things which I never wanted; things that my parents always craved for, my turning into a disciplined and obedient son who takes social and semi-political responsibilities very seriously. I did grow up to be a quasi-disciplined child who took social and semi-political responsibilities not so seriously and all this at the cost of my very courteous curiosity and at the end of the ladder my creativity turned into just another educational “metaphor”.

I believe that I learned whatever I could during my schooling years at the cost of losing my sleep over serious thought that I pad to my actual social and political circumstance and that is how I came to be what I am today – a modest and well balanced individual who never let the fire die down inside him; the fire that drives you through life, no matter how very hard manufactured social and political intrigues attempt to contain and keep you from achieving your potential as a human being.

I have heard billions of arguments favouring schooling of children but that does not change what I think about it. The very beginning of schooling for every individual marks the very demise of creativity and ingenuity. At school you are taught to live artificial stances; you are fed all kinds of prefabricated feeds in a very non-responsive and inert atmosphere and through and through your intelligence is put to sleep. Schooling is a genuine form of practical hypnotism that is being practiced all over the world in the name of education and as you know hypnotism is always more of a pretense rather than an actual circumstance.

When we talk about creativity we are led into definitions that sound like, “Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative are a) need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation b) need to communicate ideas and values and c) need to solve problems – Beyond the Myth of Genius, Robert W. Weisberg. In order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective.

Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. The ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown.

And as far as my knowledge about the current system of education is concerned it is all opposed to the very core definitions of schooling. At school you are subjectively taught with almost no scope for the teachers to learn. Students are pure subjects who are generically understood to be experimental anecdotes with which you try all kinds of passive teaching. There is just no scope for what actually becomes inside your head, actually.

It is a very mechanical parody that ends with the students or subjects walking out with a bleak and bizarre sense of judgment and molded reasoning, looking out for good and well-paying jobs. There is very little left, if there is any at all, that actually drives you ahead to create something novel, which I believe is the actual purpose of all human life.

There is immense need for all of us to understand that while schooling may be necessary to certify our dreams as parents, it is not at all required for children – who are as a matter of fact so brilliant at the very start that in fact the very concept of schooling is rendered obsolete. Now, when I talk about schooling in general, I am particularly referring to the kind of education systems we have installed for our children – while the government-run institutions are deplete over all purposes and practices that actually could have benefited children, private institutions are there more to please the parents and convince them into paying up heftier sums of money to get their children off their nerves. While the former are systematically defunct, the latter are authentically commercial. There are exceptions, but those are not called schools…

In the words of Ivan Illich, who provided a more than an elaborate critique of modernization and the corrupting impact of institutions, “The pupil is … “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is “schooled” to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work.” 

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