How School Kills Creativity & Artistic Individuality & What To Do About It

From an early age we are programed, cogs for the economic machine. I think we need to do something about that…

Courtesy Andrew Branch Unsplash

From an early age we are programed, cogs for the economic machine. I think we need to do something about that…

When I was 15 my parents convinced me I needed to get a job. Anything else was a waste of time, I wouldn’t survive.

“Convinced me” is being kind to them. I wasn’t convinced at all. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was taking that job.

There was fire in my mother’s eyes that Tuesday evening in August 1990.

I dare not look that gift horse in the mouth that was for sure.

Maybe they were right.

Or maybe they weren’t.

That was the culture they grew up in. A post WW2 Ireland that was ruled by the Catholic church and politicians who trusted them.

So they knew no better. They did what was best for us.

But it wasn’t.

Adults don’t play for a living — we work.

They tell us we need to do this work in order to be responsible, worthwhile members of society.

This work, for the vast majority of us is toil, effort, something we’d rather not do. Something that has become a means to achieve an end.

We work the best years of our lives and dedicate ourselves to the dreams and goals of other people and organisations, sacrificing our inner creative spirit in the process.

We work because we believe we must — for money.

Money pays bills and helps us buy stuff, keep the economy going, to have occasional holidays away from the work we dislike so much.

This to me is a dysfunctional state of mind and ultimately destructive to us on a personal and societal level.

The momentum of the system we are a part of is strong and it seems impossible that there could be any alternative.

But there is an alternative, there has to be.

Because the status quo is increasing inner turmoil and disconnection from ourselves and is driving people to increased anxiety and depression.

I know 4 people, one of whom I was very close to, who took their own lives. I don’t need an explanation as to why they did, for me it was a simple case of complete disconnection from life, from the world, from society.

They left here because they did not know how to fit in. Psychological, physical, sexual abuse?

Yes maybe. But this way of living we have built was poorly equipped to help them find a way back.

Something has to change, we need momentum in the opposite direction.

We need more people doing what they love for the sake of it.

Stuart Brown: The Importance of Play

Play, Sure. But Not Too Much!

Remember when you were a kid, all you did all day was play.

There was a natural urge to have the most amount of fun you possibly could. To imagine, to create, to express the artist inside.

From the time you could crawl you explored your environment, touching, feeling tasting anything you could get your hands on.

Experimenting with everything, imagining new worlds and scenarios for you and your friends to explore.

If you can think back you’ll recognise that there was no effort in that, it was automatic. And for a certain number of years that was acceptable to adults who cared for you.

But then something changed.

This system of society we’ve built began to dumb down the importance of play, and creativity. It said play is ok but only in small doses.

And so began the process of assimilating you into the systematic, mechanistic world of economics, business and machine like productivity.

We began to be measured on the basis of how much we produced.

The system said if you work these number of hours and do this particular task then you are worth this amount of money.

Your worth was measured by economists.

It’s a screwed up notion, that I accept worked for a while, and still works for some. For the rest of us it does not work — it’s deeply unsatisfactory.

We need to get back to play and allow our inner artist and creative spirit the freedom to follow that original blueprint.

I am putting the final touches to The Artist’s Manifesto. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity. To disregard the need for applause and recognition. It will be released on 12th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Traditional Schools Kill Creativity

Schools for the most part, kill children’s creativity.

This is not simply the opinion of this writer, but of many other more qualified people, experts in the field of education.

People such as Ken Robinson agree with this idea and represent a new paradigm in thinking.

You know, it’s not like there is a conspiracy against creative people (everybody is this by the way, creative I mean), but rather that momentum is strong in this direction.

We can change it but it will take time and commitment.

In order to make this change happen, not just on a personal level but globally, we must do two things as I see it;

  1. Make personal choices in line with what’s in our hearts.

  2. Encourage our children to follow their dreams.

This generation and subsequent ones have an opportunity to make changes in the right direction.

I take this very seriously. Seriously in a not so serious sense if you grab me.

My kids are still in a system that has a bit of a hangover from the church run education ethos and many of their poorly thought out principles still exist.

But I do my best to counter that bullshit with a little bit of Alan Watts or Abraham in the background.

I hope it works.

Making Personal Choices

Making time for our creativity is essential. Be that writing, drawing, gardening, music whatever it is for you, you must do more of it.

Make time for hobbies. If it will be your career then great, better again, but it doesn’t have to be.

As long as we are spending time in creative mode then we are making a difference and we are influencing others around us including our kids.

Encouraging Our Children

For many of us this can be counter intuitive. After all, our parents encouraged us to learn an academic or trade skill so that we might become valuable.

Understanding our own inherent value was an alien concept. As far as they were concerned in order for us to survive in the world we needed a job.

Art was nice, but it was largely a waste of time. Creative people don’t make money!

Now as parents we have a responsibility to cultivate the inherent creativity in our children. To buck the trend of popular thinking.

It is our responsibility to break the mould of the old way of thinking, and create a new way of living.

I am putting the final touches to The Artist’s Manifesto. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity. To disregard the need for applause and recognition. It will be released on 12th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Doing The Work Anyway

How is it possible that we can have a functional society if everyone just does what they really want to do?

Is it possible to do the work you’d rather not and still nurture your creative spirit?

I believe it is.

In fact during a transition from the shitty broken system to life on our own terms that’s exactly what we should do.

It’s a state of mind change.

It’s a shift away from having no option but to be in the job you hate, to doing the job and using it to your advantage.

The job now serves your needs, it works for you rather than you working for it.

It provides you with a necessary income while you build and develop your art, and while you build a following of others who value what you do.

Then when the time is right you can leave it behind.

I believe that if we leave a job while still resenting it, that negativity can be brought with us into other things we do.

We’ve got to make peace with the work we dislike.

What If Money Were No Object

It’s a well played video created by Isaac Blencowe a number of years ago but I think it’s worth sharing again here.

It this short video, philosopher Alan Watts suggests that spending our lives doing things we don’t like doing is stupid.

And not only that, teaching our children to do the same thing is stupid too.

When I watched this video for the first time a few years back I realised that I wasn’t crazy, that something wasn’t right.

I subsequently searched for more Alan Watts material and it was like someone was reading my mind.

I realised I wasn’t alone.

The Artist’s Manifesto

On the 12th of May I’ll be publishing The Artist’s Manifesto. It’s a call to arms to all creative people hiding in the shadows of shitty jobs and unsatisfied lives to create.

It is a call to make stuff purely for the sake of it. To graciously present the middle finger to those who would insist we do something more productive.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a statement of intent to create with passion and integrity, and to ignore popular opinion, applause or criticism.

The time to change is here. Join me on the 12th by entering your details to download FREE your copy.

I am putting the final touches to The Artist’s Manifesto. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity. To disregard the need for applause and recognition. It will be released on 12th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Originally published at larrygmaguire.com on May 1, 2017.

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.