Is There a Social Need for Creativity?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    I maintain that there is a desperate social need for the creative behavior of creative individuals.

    Do we foster creativity in America?
     
  2. _avg_

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    Respectively, "yes" and "yes, though conformity *seems* to be more desirable."
     
  3. Principessa

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    Excellent question earllogjam!

    Short Answer: Yes there is; and no, we do not.

    Long Answer: There is a desperate social need to promote and foster creative behavior and creative individuals! As an educator I have seen creativity not just squelched; but stomped upon and kicked into the gutter. It just kills me that the first thing cut from curriculums nationwide are art, music, and field trips.

    I often wish we could bring back just the arts portion of the WPA. America has lost touch with the importance of creativity. For too long we have looked down upon our skilled artisans in many fields. I had a teacher that used creative writing assignments as punishment in high school. That is just beyond stupid IMHO.

     
  4. whatireallywant

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    Not only that, but creative people usually "think outside of the box" and so are often squashed in school, by their teachers and peers. Those who do go on to succeed in creative fields usually either had very supportive families growing up, or continue to have emotional problems. Now this is not always the case so don't get all irate at me, just saying that this is all too often the case.

    And one of the things I've been griping about is my theory of major creative trends in popular music. There have been major creative movements (often more than one) in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. There were also pre-1950 but I'm not as familiar with those time periods. However, it is my contention that there have been NO new major creative trends in music in the 2000s. Or, at least not that actually get radio airplay - and that's the thing. I do think there are creative musical artists and bands out there now, but so many of them don't get airplay because they don't fit in with the corporate radio format. The 2000s have seen a drastic increase in corporate radio - radio stations run by a very few large companies that have stations in every city. So you go to another city and you hear stations that sound EXACTLY the same as the city you came from! The only thing in the 2000s that has really changed music is the technology such as mp3 players.

    The emphasis seems to be on more and more conformity these days.
     
  5. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    creativity is ruined in the public school system, not fostered or encouraged at all. Uniformity is the ideal aspired to, pushed by most of your peers, most of your instructors, and the curriculum.
     
  6. prince_will

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    i totally agree. creativity leads to nothing but beautiful things.

    but as i saw in a recent HP ad, Gwen Stefani is supposed to be creative. if she is deemed creative with all of the shit she does, then i say down with creativity. :p
     
  7. SpoiledPrincess

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    We need creativity but it's always the schools that are blamed for squashing creativity when parents are equally to blame, your child is one in a class of 20 some and parents expect a teacher to be able to foster creativity when they have the child one on one for a large part of the time and don't bother reading, making up stories, talking, painting, cutting up and sticking, helping the child to form his own opinions, there are a million ways a parent can help a child to be creative but they often don't yet it's always the schools that are accused of letting kids down. Schools and parents should both do this, but you can't blame one and let the other get off scott free.
     
  8. D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah

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    Kids creativity is destroyed even before they get to school. It is destroyed by parents allowing their kids to sit on computer games all day instead of using their brains, drawing, painting, playing dress-ups etc.

    Kids are naturally creative and extrovert, but say when a child wants to go shopping in their batman costume the parent will say no because of what others think, making the child think they have to be regular and fit in with the normal day-to-day society.

    if you can allow your child to choose the colour of their room, bedding etc. let them experiment with colours. Read books with them and get the child to make up the end of the story, each time it will end differently depending on their mood.


    A child need to be allowed to be creative and that side allowed to grow efore they get to school and are told to be 'normal'
     
  9. SpoiledPrincess

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    What Lee said too. You can't aid a kid's creativity by teaching it how to have a relationship with a machine.
     
  10. Willy_the_Wonka

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    in answer to your query... :biggrin1:

    As far as appreciating the creativeness of others....there's a definite need and a hunger for it, but a lot of lesser exposed people don't know exactly how to approach it or refine their appreciation for it, and end up going after mass produced pap such as Thomas Kincade or Wyland. (But any artist that says they wouldn't want the degree of success they have met would be either mad or lying)....

    The "popular" music of the last decade has been creatively dead...at least what the major labels are churning out. Which is not to say that there is a goldmine of creative talent in all fields.

    As far as the need withing oneself to be creative...I think we all do, whatever the outlet may be. Some of us, more than others.

    Kids....I love doing things with kids. That's the best part, they are not cynical and jaded and they just want to explore this wonderful thing that's in them!



    My personal take on creativity....apologies in advance for getting wound up here....

    If I can't be doing something creative in my personal life or at work, I go nuts.

    Having been in the visual arts all of my adult life, the "fostering" I get from some people range from requests to paint baby murals or pinstriping cars to copying Olan Mills wedding or misc. family photographs into paintings (a definite legal no-no and creatively as bankrupt as it gets). I politely turn down all of that stuff for various reasons, because I either am not trained in pinstriping, or have any interest in painting Disney shit on walls, or so on and so forth. It's flattering to be asked, though...I guess. :rolleyes:

    In the work world, being known as the artistic guy, I have ended up getting loads of people saying "draw me a picture", or "draw me a picture, I'll even pay for the materials." :confused:WTF?

    I came in to work one morning years ago, with some girl waiting at my cubicle, wanting me to actually DRAW designs on paper so she could make it into wrapping paper for a present for someone in the office. :eek::mad: I told her I didn't have the time, and she said "that's okay, I don't need it until the end of the day". By that time I was fuming, and said "CAN'T YOU AFFORD WRAPPING PAPER?" and she said "yes, but I want YOU to do it. :redface: "

    Being in the art business is also interesting, because of the backstabbing from "rival" artists or galleries as well as the support from other artists and galleries. Then the art students come in. There's a lot of wacked behaviour there. I experienced it bigtime when I opened my studio. BUT, in spite of the bizarre community I lived in (which I referred to as an art colony elsewhere here and got a lashing for it, when that is exactly what it is, and was founded almost a hundred years ago as such)... I was able to produce and sell for several years before getting bored of it, and wanting to try other mediums.

    I'm lucky to still have people wanting stuff, while I piddle away in an office doing corporate graphics design and squandering creativity for a salary....which, by the way, is low rung on the ladder, even if I do make their products look good and produced a catalog that's the best in the field, no false humility. I did it alone, with no help, and reining in the company owners who were so scatterbrained, they were adding and changing and deleting products and pages up to beyond the deadline for their own tradeshow. Such is the creative arts in the corporate world. I just interviewed for a place that didn't know what they wanted. It appears they wanted a graphic designer, photographer, webmaster, IT Tech, and creative AND marketing think tank, all in one person. I've done that, and it's a real drag, especially when you have to fight to be paid what you're worth every step of the way. ANd when cuts are made....guess what goes first? After the Christmas party, that is. :mad:

    So, I'm tiring of that and going back into paintings and prints, only because there are people wanting the stuff.

    I have had a lot of people come to me, asking me to show them how to draw or paint, how to do photoshop, to evaluate their work, and it's wierd....in the past I was painfully shy, intimidated, around everyone. I had to break myself of that.... I still value my time alone. That's when I create. When the rest of the world is asleep, I just feel like the world belongs to me. For some strange reason, working through the night, that's the magical creative time.

    People can be so negative about their abilities and shoot themselves down before they even think about being creative, and that's when I had to tell them otherwise. It doesn't matter how talented they are or aren't, if they love doing it, that's reason enough, it doesn't need to be a career, and if you want it to be, you'll work towards that, but it's a business like any other.

    One bone of contention I've had with other "artists" is the tendency to be eccentric to the point of opaque and completely out there, or people calling themselves artists and all they do is sit around a coffee house and complain. Or they want to get high and party, and nothing gets done....or all manner of unpleasant behaviour. I've had to kick out bums and hangers-on many times. I found myself warning people that want to be artists.... that if they truly want to do this, they will find a way to learn, and do it. It will become their life, and nothing else matters. But they also need to function as responsible human beings, too. A lot of artists, the successful ones, are doing just that. ANd another thing was to stay true to what they do, and not to let others drag them down or try to control them in any way.

    When my studio opened up, I had to deal with.... some crazy lady wanting to use my window space to display her dresses... pissed off high school kids throwing burning cigarettes in my door.... an egg thrown at the window.... lip prints on the window.... a baker's dozen of people coming in, trying to get me to advertise in their free arts guide, one of a baker's dozen that promised to reach a circulation of thousands.... people who wanted to be my sales person, agent, manager, and none of them qualified to do so, or just plain looney (a couple living in their cars, I find out).... on TWO occasions, having reproductions made of my work to go onto "phone calling cards" (this was the early 90's, folks) the other just a sale of a print. The guy buying the print delivered a check, and asked me to sign a letter of provenance that basically stipulated that all reproduction rights be transfered to him. I told him to take his check and get out. The guy with the calling cards also handed me a generic contract that I said needed changing, especially for the small amount of money I was getting for the images. He never called back.

    I also had to deal with one guy who took a liking to me, and once we were dating, he tried controlling every aspect of my life...to the point of being a tyrant. I told him to get some therapy and get out when he started that, and he threatened to sue me. That's when I changed locks on the studio. :rolleyes:

    SO..... creative expression is wonderful. There's a social need. It's like moths being attracted to a light bulb. But there's HORNETS out there too.


    EDIT... apologies for the long soapbox... :redface: There are so many facets of this and directions this can go off in, discussion-wise, but I have to call it a night. I love all the replies I've read so far. Thanks all of the core people here. I really do enjoy reading your posts about anything and everything.
     
  11. HazelGod

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    Indeed.

    Retardedly short-sighted thinking of the type that produced the No Child Left Behind act (which is almost universally despised by front-line teachers) have our educators tailoring their lessons and curricula toward the goal of improving standardized test scores rather than actually fostering any sense of learning in their students or developing individuals' abilities according to their demonstrated aptitudes.
     
  12. Magicgayboy

    Magicgayboy New Member

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    Yes, we need.

    No, we don't foster it; overall I think we tend to squelch it actually. (not always, and not in every situation, but generally I think we put too much of a premium on "being normal" and "fitting in" and fail to allow people the creative space and support necessary for them to reach their full potential.)
     
  13. DC_DEEP

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    EXCELLENT topic, Monsieur LogJam. Yes, there is definitely a social need for creativity, and I'll get to that in my dissertation.:biggrin1:

    As for fostering creativity, no, it just simply does not occur. For a number of reasons, it doesn't. Of course, it should begin with parents, starting at the birth of a child, but it isn't. It should be continued by the parents and supplemented by schools and peers, but it isn't. It should be celebrated by society and the general public (hereafter referred to as "the sheeple.") The sheeple demand creativity in everyone around them, but absolutely refuse to foot the cost (and the cost is simply effort.)

    Now for the dissertation: you hit on a subject that I've tried to discuss many times, over the years, but most everyone is just too scared to talk about it.

    If you think about it logically, creativity must, by its history, be defined as being as essential as food, clothing, shelter, and sex. Archaeologically, it pre-dates written language, and most likely pre-dates a formal spoken language. The earliest paintings and musical instruments date back (an estimated) 36,000 to 42,000 years ago.(!)

    Here's the part that answers the "need" question. At a time when every single waking moment had to be used in the pursuit of survival, why else would any member of a tribe waste precious time "discovering" and making flutes, drums, reeds, and lyres instead of hunting and gathering, or making tools and clothing? The earliest surviving flutes were made of long bones (usually a tibia) from animals or even humans. It must have taken a few tries to discover that if you hollow them out, and make a hole in one end, and blow across that hole, it makes sound. It must have taken a few more tries to discover that another couple of holes make the sound change in predictable ways. Drilling two or three holes in a bone would have taken many hours, using only a sharpened stone tool. 30,000 years ago, several hours to make a flute was a massive investment.

    Of course, we have no way to know to what degree cave paintings and flutes were used as creative outlet versus talismans and good luck charms, but the fact remains that the creativity was as important to them as was their next meal. Every hour spent painting walls or making & playing an instrument could have been used instead to make those crucial spear points and knives.

    Thanks, Earl!
     
  14. earllogjam

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    Very thought provoking responses from creative people.

    I wanted to expand this discussion a bit and propose a few more questions to think about your own relationship with your own creativity and perhaps uncover how it actually works.

    -What are the conditions that need to be in place inorder for creativity to develop and be sustained?

    -Is the society we live in the ideal system to perpetuate creativity?

    -When did you think the most creative periods of your life were and why?

    -How does an individual's creativity benefit society?
     
  15. Ethyl

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    Time, recognition of creative desires, an environment that encourages one to explore and focus on their newfound desires and abilities.
    Depends. If you have interests in anything creative that relates to technology, then yes. If not, then no.
    There were several long periods of time in my life where my creative juices were flowing freely without an end in sight. When I was enrolled in a gifted program in primary school, I flourished under the tutelage of my instructor who introduced me to a world I would've never been exposed to otherwise. When I entered junior high school I was bored with the curriculum and spend large amounts of time reading, writing, sculpting, painting and drawing. After that, my largest period of creative time was spent in my early to mid twenties. I was teaching and later enrolled in college again and that opened a few creative doors for me. My interests in psychology, literature, folklore, science, religion, alchemy, and philosophy expanded as did my own world view.

    At this moment in time, i'm too busy trying to take care of my basic needs to indulge in any of my former creative endeavours. I expect this to change very soon.

    They are more productive simply because they're happiest doing what they love most. When one is encouraged to hone their talents, they want to give back to the community and enjoy the satisfaction they derive from their work, which in turn fosters encouragement in others to seek and develop their own talents.
     
  16. B_Hung Jon

    B_Hung Jon New Member

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    I'm not sure how true this is but there's a whole school of peeps who think that the mainstream has pretty much co-opted any true creativity because advertisers gobble up individuals who stand out in any way. I'm not sure about this but I'm including a link to a book entitled "The Rebel Sell" which I thought was pretty amazing, and scarey.

    The Rebel Sell - the book
     
  17. rexcasual

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    Fostering creativity and risk-taking is important.

    However, let's not forget that adversity is also a great teacher.

    Teaching how to recover and get over obstacles is valuable. The fear of failing is a big one. Dealing with failures is part and parcel of getting great ideas off the ground. I think that goes for the arts and sciences. Problem solving enables creative outcomes in areas including and beyond traditional arts.


    Too much of education was designed to produce docile factory worker types and consumer clones. These people are quite valuable for the social fabric, but it undershoots what people are capable of doing. And those jobs are being outsourced in droves.
     
  18. AlteredEgo

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    Sent to me on Twitter today:

    "Frugality without creativity is deprivation." - Amy Dacyczyn
     
  19. SpeedoGuy

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    I fear its mainly in methods of generating wealth does consumer culture not hold back from expressing admiration for creativity.

    Everywhere else creativity and individuality must prevail against a tide of hostile conformity, and even then its regarded as oddball, quaint or irrelevant.
     
  20. earllogjam

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    I think primary school education encourages creativity in children, at least mine did. It was only when I got into high school and college when all those creative pursuits became electives and all the college prep emphasis was placed on critical thinking and rote memorization subjects like calculus, and history. Art and creative pursuits all took a back seat but ironically these things are what big name colleges look for in accepting students.

    I think creativity does not discriminate between good and evil. Jewelry thieves, hackers, and Carl Rove are all creative people.

    DC, you're welcome for the topic. It's something that interest me a great deal too but rarely get a chance to discuss.

    I do agree with you that creativity is hardwired in us but it needs to be developed and nurtured to develop. Those examples of flutes and cave paintings you describe just show me how little human needs have changed over the centuries and how little we as creatures have evolved. Contrary to what many believe I think hunter gatherer societies had more free time than we do now and that afforded them the luxury of expressing their creativity. And it is not just limited to art or musical pursuits. Designing spearheads, new weapons and textiles, and food preservative methods also were creative pursuits that gave a direct survival advantage

    What has evolved is the societies in which we live. Some have been more condusive to creativity than others. But there needs to be some factors in place before it can blossom. It cannot be forced. But you need a certain degree of unconditional self worth and fortitude to swim against the stream, a freedom or permission to pursure your interests, no fear of failing, and not giving a shit what other people think of you and your work.

    Another result of teaching to the test is that it produces straight A kids that have no desire to learn anything beyond what is on the test. They are generally do-gooders, uniformly boring and uninterested in the world. They need direction and take no responsiblity or initiative in exploring thing on their own. Their approach to learning always is rooted in "what's on the test?", a very limiting and self defeating attitude towards expanding ones intellect. Many creative types don't do well or drop out of school.

    I get the feeling that many creative people deal with fustration, angst, and financial hardship as a part of life. Most artists I know have a tortured soul aspect to their personalities, a strong drive for excellence and have known a lot of failure in their life. None of them do it for anyone else but themselves. It is actually a very loney pursuit as you are your harshest critic. They are demanding and very disciplined in their pursuit of excellence. It is something I greatly admire. But artists are only a slice of the creative people pie however.

    People think creativity is effortless and innate but failure, experimenting and learning is a big chunk of being creative. I agree with you. I think discouragement, and fustration is a big obstacle to creativity.


    Yes the nail that sticks out always gets hammered down. I think that culture of greed does force people to be creative but it certainly is selective as to which creative people benefit. I think most famous artists have died poor and the creative art gallery dealers have made the killings. :eek:
     
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