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Imagination and creativity


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I took this photograph on Sunday of the Ridgacre canal. Not very pretty is it? But look again and use your imagination. What would it look like in summer? If the canal was cleaned out and fish added and then a waterfront cafe built and some other features, would you visit? How about apartments overlooking the waterfront?

In school we learn to memorise stuff and do calculations in mathematics. We learn to question and analyse. We can be creative in art perhaps, but our work is marked for the technical aspects of art rather than trying to be creative. We write essays in English. Are they looking for perfect grammar and punctuation or creativity? The creativity inside of us is our individuality, but in school we are expected to conform. Creativity is stifled. In universities and colleges it’s much the same story. Students are asked to write dissertations and do research but the guidelines are very strict, they have to read what their elders and betters have written and use that for reference. Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation and that is important. New knowledge however, comes from experimentation and creative thinking.

Imagine being a time traveller and traveling back to Victorian times to meet Charles Dickens. Would you be able to explain to him what your cell phone does or how it works? Without referring to all the past knowledge and without the networks and infrastructure that makes cell phones works, it would be impossible. You would even struggle to explain how more basic technology works like the steam engine. If you could explain the steam engine, you wouldn’t be able to build one without the help of other people. You would have to rely on the skills of blacksmiths using quite primitive tools.

Becoming a writer, artist or musician requires that you ignore a lot of what you’re taught and look for a freedom that will allow you to create something new. You might find yourself playing with words to make new sentences, throwing paint at a wall to see what it looks like or trying to make a musical instrument out of an oil drum to see what it sounds like. In business people can do research and analyse what people might want to buy or they can play around, imagining what might be and then trying to create it. It might be building a waterfront cafe on a canal that has fell into disuse…

What will you create today? Please comment and share your thoughts…

Without creativity, we will see nothing new, nothing will change for the better.

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3 responses

  1. I like your creative ideas here. I would love to meet Charles Dickens. I don’t agree as much with the idea of good grammar and puntuation holding back creativity. You can break the rules occasionally, but good grammar is an agreement between the reader and the writer to get your ideas across as clear and concise as possible to make sure they get it without having to wade through a lot to get to it.

    30, January 2013 at 2:21 pm

    • Hi Peter,

      Yes, we need punctuation and good grammar, but I think perhaps Dickens was allowed to be more imaginative. I help students and they get a little lost when they have to do research and come up with something new. I agree what we write should be concise, if the reader is likely to skip it. Why write it? Many writing courses tend to impress on students the need to ‘show, don’t tell’ when writing fiction. That is OK as long as they don’t overdo it and lose sight of the story.

      I think lack of imagination, creativity and innovation has a lot to do with why economies aren’t prospering in the West.

      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

      30, January 2013 at 3:53 pm

  2. Pingback: From psychology to nostalgia « Mike10613's Blog

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