January 15, 2021•536 words
The more I spend time learning and reading, the more sure I become that creativity is the most important thing that schools can foster in kids. Morals, a desire to learn, critical thinking, and information evaluation (i.e. discerning between biased and least biased information, sorting out truth and valuable insight from noise, etc.) are close behind, but I believe that creativity is more important; most virtues are (in my opinion) far more effectively instilled in kids in the home rather than the classroom, and I believe that a desire to learn will follow creativity wherever it goes. The latter two are not as important for the future of humankind as is creativity.
Now, there are numerous reasons why I care so much about creativity, but I think it all boils down to two central points:
Creativity is what makes us human.
Humans' unique creative abilities are what distinguish us from machines - a line that I think wiill become further blurred in coming years - and other animals. Regardless of what form it comes in, be it math or music, science or painting, it gives us meaning. I'd love to write a whole essay on generalism and humanity and how they're connected, but I think that should be saved for later (since further research is required).
Creativity is the source of progress.
Creativity is how we advance as a species: innovation - new ideas, techniques, philosophies, etc. - is how humans have become so powerful and sophisticated. There is no real way for that to change. As long as we continue to be creative, society, science, academics, and arts will continue to improve proportionally.
I think that the reason it's not talked about more is that creativity is fucking hard to teach. Like with other abstract concepts and skills, you can't just spend an hour lecturing and suddenly have a class imbued with remarkable creative skill; it takes a lot of time, and it's hard to gauge effectiveness of whatever you do. That said, I think that an education revolution is what we need to propel humanity further, and creativity needs to be at the forefront of it.
That's not to say what we're doing already is entirely unhelpful. Though some things - like standardized tests, for example - need to be entirely overhauled or torn down, the fundamental knowledge that school gives us is still important. After all, you can't innovate in mathematics if you don't know any.
The problem, I think, is that we've lost ourselves in these subjects, put too much focus on them. We're losing kids, in part due to other circumstances, but I think our rigidity and lack of creative expression is a major part in what has demoralized society. Shutting down that part of ourselves leaves us empty, and test prep and reading assignments don't fill that hole. We're squandering massive amounts of potential for the advancement of humanity, and we're not preparing our new generations to improve the world that is left for them.
This could be rewritten better, but I'm just getting my thoughts down. This will go up on the main blog eventually, with heavy revision and addition, along with more sourcing.