Creativity, How I Adore You! *Blergh*

(3 min read)

This song played over the intercom before flag-raising in my Primary School and is sadly forever burned into my memory … They were trying to encourage us to be creative by playing a boring and repetitive song extolling the virtues of creativity. It was pure torture listening to the maddening machinations of this piece of propaganda. At the tender age of 9, I thought this made absolutely no sense. I still don’t think it does. If anything this song cramped my style and staunched my creative flow.

I recently found an old song book from my Primary School. As a child I know I had many thoughts and opinions, most of which I would keep to myself because I didn’t feel comfortable sharing them with anyone.

I felt so vindicated to find the song titled “Creativity, How I Adore You!” in the book because there lay a forgotten story I had never been able to share with anyone.

The song was jointly written between a few students and a teacher to encourage fellow students to endeavor to become more creative.

However, the way they approached creativity was overly literal and on the nose, and I do believe the entire campaign fell flat. Nobody cared about the song, and the one person whom it elicited a reaction out of (namely, me) was traumatized by it.

Why do people think that the best way to deal with problems is by talking directly about them? Why do people think that the fastest way between points A and B is a straight line between the two?

If that were so, there would be no more problems in life because most of them would have been solved a long time ago.

If we view creativity as something which can be “taught” or “instilled” isn’t that killing the very idea of creativity itself?

As I pondered this question I looked up the multiple meanings of the word “creative” and found some interesting definitions:

As defined by Oxford languages, creativity is “relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.”

Merriam Webster defines creativity as the “ability to create” – it’s an ability…. It’s not something you can dictate or control, rather it’s something that needs to be unleashed. The creative spirit accounts for dynamic change and progress in all aspects of human life.

I was quite intrigued by Merriam Webster’s third definition of creative: 3: managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits creative financing also : deceptively arranged so as to conceal or defraud

This third definition reminds me of how artists choose to express themselves – Pablo Picasso once said “Art is the lie that exposes the truth” and this statement left a strong impression on me.

I had always assumed that art was always a form of expression of the truth in an artist, so how could it be thought of as a “lie”?

Perhaps to others what the artist expresses may appear to be a lie, but that exposes the falseness or judgmental attitudes in their own thinking. Or perhaps the reactions a piece of art elicits in society e.g attitudes of outrage, indifference or praise exposes the true nature of society in that time when the piece of art is shared with the culture it is embedded in.

Here’s a fun question to ponder: what does your opinion or reaction to a piece of art tell you about yourself and your sense of aesthetics?

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