America For Sale: “One Day All This Will Be yours”
You have only got to watch children play to realize that virtually all children are creative. Here, I speak with some authority as the eldest of twelve, and the father of five. They are not all creative in the same way, or to the same extent, but the creative spark is there nonetheless. Frequently, it is more than a spark; it is a flame.
All too often, neither spark nor flame survive our educational systems.
Why is that?
To answer that adequately would take a book, but let me offer some thoughts.
- Our education systems are far more concerned with forcing children to conform than with nurturing creativity. We call this ‘socialization.’ By that we mean conditioning our children to accept the American Way of Life. That, in turn, is much more oriented towards mass conformity and consumption than creativity.
- True education has much more to do with supplying children with basic tools, and then encouraging them to think for themselves, and to question everything. All children want to learn though not necessarily to accept what we want to teach them. Conversely, the last thing our current system wants is to be questioned.
- Managing creative children is vastly more demanding than looking after socialized children, and requires teachers of a higher caliber than are generally available today. It is also more satisfying.
- Socialized parents tend to produce socialized children thus perpetuating a society in which creativity is suppressed to a significant extent. To change that requires fundamental change. The need for it is becoming self-evident.
- The U.S. is a surprisingly authoritarian culture and our schools reflect that fact. As a consequence, we don’t allow children enough autonomy and responsibility to permit creativity to flower. Here I would like to emphasize the point that there is a difference between authoritarianism and discipline. One is a rigid top-down approach. The other, ideally, is inwardly generated and involves trust. U.S. society is worryingly short on trust.
- Much of our education is implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) directed towards preparing our children for either the professions or corporate employment. Subject to some exceptions, both environments are oriented towards the status quo, and are the antithesis of creativity.
I came to these views from observation and first principles. Subsequently, I saw a TED lecture by Sir Ken Robinson and wanted to cheer.
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been seen by an estimated 200 million people in over 150 countries.
Back to David Loew. He is a stunningly good portrait photographer, in addition to his other talents, but the two images I’m showing today are particularly timely given the long overdue emergence of OWS. The captions are his.
We have traded quality for price and jobs for corporate profits. We are no longer governed, we are ruled.