QMS Park CircusSchoolPerspectives on Creativity and Imagination

September 19, 2021by Editorial Team

Play the fool In a recent census it has been revealed that only 28% of the world’s population consider themselves to be artists. Only 10% of art school graduates are successful in making a living out of their art. What’s extremely baffling to me is that despite all the criticism about the current generation’s lack...

Play the fool

In a recent census it has been revealed that only 28% of the world’s population consider themselves to be artists. Only 10% of art school graduates are successful in making a living out of their art. What’s extremely baffling to me is that despite all the criticism about the current generation’s lack of culture, most adults force the adolescents to pursue a more stable field rather than something that will feed their passion, their creativity. It is actually through art that we connect and heal each other spiritually.

Personally, I always find myself seeking comfort in music or movies or books during periods of emotional turmoil; have seen parents and elders seek solace in songs or books to pull them out of a dark phase in their lives.

There is copious research in biological, cognitive and neurological sciences to suggest that visual art promotes health, wellness and fosters adaptive responses to stress, which tap into our emotions and influence them in a healthy way to make us feel good. Pablo Picasso had rightfully said,” Art is simply a way to rejuvenate ourselves.”

A huge part of being creative is also being vulnerable, this vulnerability brings you closer to people who care about you. So, in a way it can be said that our creativity brings us together, regardless of age, race or where we live.

As Ethan Hawke says, playing the fool is letting yourself make mistakes and experiment on how to best express yourself. The world is an unreliable critic, the harsh and unfair judgement plays an important role in stunting the flow of creativity.

My plea to the world is that instead of forcing your children to choose a more sophisticated, stable profession, let them be what their heart desires. Give your children the permission to be creative, the permission to run after their dreams.

Creativity comes with absurdity

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness” were the words of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. History has been proof of the fact that every creative mind with a zest of genius thinking has been termed as “weird” or “absurd” or “insane” at some point in their lives solely because their thinking was not aligned with others.

I have an anecdote to share from my personal life. I am extremely fond of music and instruments really amuse me. The way in which just a few strings and a piece of wood can craft such musical marvels is extraordinary. After listening to a few of the greatest pieces from western classical music, it struck me suddenly that If I took a single octet from some of my favourite pieces perhaps I would be able to come up with a wonderful melody! Yes, I did it and it made me ecstatic ! I was so proud of myself and the nuance of art I had just created.
Creativity is absurdity, because as soon as we start to think in a way society collectively does not, we become “crazy” or “insane” I believe that society wants you to be “normal” and think in an aligned manner, but if the art that makes you “absurd” to some people makes YOU happy, then do it!

Even History gives us ample proof that every genius mind is absurd. It is quite another matter that the world, being the unreliable critic it is, has disregarded innovations of genius minds, even punished them for their contributions! Every coin has two sides, and so does the reaction to innovations. The lives of Galileo Galilei the Italian astronomer from the 16th Century, or that of Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician from the same time period, bear testimony to the same.

These incidents are proof of the fact that not only do we have to give ourselves permission to be creative, but also need to evolve as a society to bring forth innovative minds who can promote creative ideas.

It’s my life.

Young children do what they like without giving it much thought. However this joy of freedom diminishes as one grows up. As the evils of self consciousness and social acceptance creeps into the child’s untroubled mind, vulnerability grows. We view and criticize, but hardly do we create anything of our own. This is because we are surrounded by people who hardly tolerate mistakes. It makes me wonder that if Leonardo Da Vinci, often regarded as the crazy old man, had not made a rough sketch of the aircraft, could the Wright Brothers have made the world’s first aircraft?

Every time we sit to read, write or even daydream, we feel relaxed and composed. I was 7 when my cat Emanuel got run over by a car. I could not accept it and was terribly depressed. I could not work, eat or play. I just sat in one corner of that room and let darkness engulf me. At one time I felt that there was no reason for my life at all. That was when I started taking to books. The first book which I read was Pollyanna. Surprisingly I started to feel good over a span of a few weeks. I was convinced that everyone in the world had experienced grief and loss; and I was not the only one.

I would also like to cite the example of Muniba Mazari, the lady from Pakistan, who survived the horrifying car accident in 2007 through her passion for painting. Today she is an anchor, activist, artist, model and singer with several awards in her credit, standing tall as a warrior and an inspiration for many.

Personally, I would rather let my creative, naive or crazy self rule over me than my rational self-conscious self. It is my life; I want to live with the joy of what I do or create and not by satisfying people. As Albert Einstein said, “ If you want to live a happy life, tie it to good, not to people or things.”.

Creativity and problem solving skills

The noted American psychologist IP Guilford says “ Creative thinking produces novel outcomes and problem solving involves producing a new response to a new situation, which is a novel outcome.”. Let us take the example of the movie Mission Mangal, starring Vidya Balan and Akshay Kumar. It depicts Vidya Balan, an ISRO scientist using the mechanism of making puris to help her fire a satellite. Working with limited resources, she thought out of the box and succeeding in sending a satellite to Mars in the very first attempt.

We should see problems as interesting opportunities and not as a burden. Problems should help us challenge assumptions, suspend judgement and work hard. Critical thinking makes us curious, optimistic, confident and imaginative. We should try to train our brains to think in a creative and imaginative way because these qualities are critical in the 21st Century.

Children should be taught to think in an imaginative and creative way from an elementary level. Training programmes should be carried out to measure and enhance creative skills in education and industrial scenarios. Knowledge acquired through creative and innovative thinking has a long-lasting impression on the mind which is not easily forgotten, unlike lessons memorized and learnt by rote, solely for securing high marks and grades.

About the author/s

The following students from Our Lady Queen of the Missions School, Park Circus, Kolkata have contributed to this article: Adreeja De, Anisha Sengupta, Dishita Roy Chowdhury and Koushiki Sarkar.

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