Saturday, October 4, 2014

Creativity in a box

Conventional wisdom is that the more we learn, the less we know.  It's not that learning makes us stupid (at least not by design), but that a broader understanding of the world in which we live or a deeper understanding of a given subject shines a harsh and unforgiving light on simple solutions and easy answers. Thus, the longer I teach, the more questions I have:

  • How can creativity be taught or explored within a traditional academic course bound by a traditional academic calendar?
  • If research indicates that knowledge and facts have little bearing on the decisions we make--that, in fact, passion and existing beliefs have far greater bearing--what is the role of education?
  • Do taxpayers understand or care about the reality that tax dollars support the academic practice of providing guaranteed salaries for tenured academics and the increasing size (and salaries) of administrative oversight?
  • Have we constructed (or allowed the construction of) political and educational systems that are, for all practical purposes, mostly divorced from the people they are charged with representing and educating?
  • Within the boxes of our making, how do so many people still manage to find beauty around them, value in a life well lived, and purpose in brief existence?
Perhaps the last question is the necessary but not sufficient condition for grappling with the others.

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