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March 11, 2006

Artists All Musings

Sitting in the bookstore this afternoon, flipping through Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, I came across an arresting anecdote.

Gordon MacKenzie, who has spent most of his adult life thinking about creativity, tells the story. When he goes to speak, as he often does, to a classroom full of kids, he'll pause to admire aloud the original artwork adorning the classroom walls, and then he'll ask, "How many of you are artists?" If it's a kindergarten or first grade class, all the hands shoot up. Second grade, three quarters of the hands, more tentatively. Third grade, just a few hands. Sixth grade, none.

Appalling, when you stop and consider it. We start out bursting with creativity, free of self-consciousness and shame, curious, inquisitive, and interested. Then in a few short years we're taught to be narrow, tentative, and dull. It's what we're used to, so we never really stop to see it for what it is: a colossal societal failure. Self-defeating beyond measure.

At this stage of human development and knowledge, there is no excuse for not doing better. And we really need to do better. As educators, as parents, as citizens. Given the challenges facing us and the ever-accelerating pace of change, we need people who are creative, people who are open to new ideas and experiences, people who can adapt readily and integrate the big picture, people for whom beauty is not an adornment or afterthought but an intrinsic measure of the goodness of a thing. In other words, we need artists — in all walks of life.

This calls for a Gumpagraph.

Today's Gumpagraph. Kent is 'Gumpa' to his grandson Sebastian.
© Kent Tenney 

So ends today's sermon.

Posted by Jonathan at March 11, 2006 07:43 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


Here is an article by someone who thinks they understand 'why'.

And Harry Chapin had a song

There is a gent who published a book based on his research into the education system. Claims the purpose was to create little workers for the factories. (alas, I can't find the link but if of interest, I'll dig it up,)

Posted by: eric blair at March 11, 2006 07:55 PM

My understanding of our economy is that it
depends on growth in order to be healthy.
That means we must all consume sufficiently to
maintain that growth.
I think artists tend to put too much energy into
creating instead of consuming.

Creative energy is a drain on the economy we can
ill afford.

Posted by: Kent at March 12, 2006 07:11 AM

Very funny, Kent.

Posted by: Clay at March 13, 2006 01:04 PM