Creativity, education and culture: limitless power

Dr Franco Lotito C. – Academic, writer and researcher (PUC-UACh)– www.aurigaservicios.cl

Albert Einstein –Nobel Prize in Physics– in his fruitful life as a scientist expressed several thoughts in relation to creativity. In one of these reflections, Einstein pointed out that “Logic will take you from A to B, but imagination and creativity will take you everywhere”. So much so, that his creativity and intellectual capacity led him at the age of 26 to publish his famous Theory of Relativity, a theory that completely reformulated the concept of gravity and, without Einstein having powerful and fast computers at his disposal, with Only his brain, his imagination and a modest slide rule, was able to deduce the most popularly known physics equation, namely, the mass-energy equivalence, that is, E=mc².


In this context, the “Creativity corresponds to that ability that some people have to give original answers to various problems and challenges” with which a certain subject faces day by day. And… what is meant by culture? Culture is defined as that “set of knowledge and ideas that are acquired based on the development of the intellectual faculties, through habitual reading, study and the performance of disciplined work”.

Now, for those people who don’t know, let’s point out the following: creativity is developed and learned in the same way as learning to read. It is not an ability that belongs only to a few geniuses or very bright people, since creative potential exists in all of us, which is why it is not necessary that we possess exceptional personality and/or intelligence traits. , in order to develop our creativity. Creativity effectively represents limitless power, but unfortunately, it is restricted by –and is a prisoner of– an erroneous and poor quality education system, which is added to a cultural level of the general population that can only be qualified of pauper. Said in a more direct way: the creativity of people begins to be wasted since the minors enter school.

In this sense, creativity represents that quality that would allow us to break – so to speak – the usual cognitive framework, in order to see and observe things from a totally different and novel point of view.

Another reflection of Einstein – which complements the previous one – is related to the definition that this scientist gives in relation to madness, namely: “Repeating the same things over and over again, and expecting different results”. Without a doubt, an ingenious way of defining madness.

The problem lies in the fact that the different governments that have directed the destinies of our beloved country –regardless of whether they are governments of the right, of the center or of the left– have blindly insisted on repeating, over and over again –almost foolishly– the same formulas and inept methodologies… hoping to obtain different results. A rhetorical question: are our authorities possessed by madness?

Worst of all, is that they simply do not learn from the disastrous results that are obtained, year after year, in the area of ​​Education. What is the lapidary comment given by various experts in Education? That “Under current educational standards, the country will require a whole generation of teachers and students with a totally different approach to education before it can change this shameful reality.”. If you add the educational disaster caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it could even be two full generations.

The English researcher Ken Robinson, a world-renowned expert in the field of creativity and education, states in his book “Creative Schools” that schools around the world – with honorable exceptions in countries like Norway, Japan, Finland, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, etc. – waste talent and “kill creativity” of millions of students very early because they are mainly driven by political and commercial interests and, furthermore, because they have a totally wrong idea of “how do people learn”which is why Robinson asks all those governments that are really interested in quality education for children – whose main active ingredients should be, precisely, imagination, culture, curiosity and creativity – to reverse the immense damage what is being done to young people, to humanity and to the progress of a nation, when the creative power that we all carry within us is stopped, restricted and inhibited through a poor quality education, an education that is outdated and wrong in form and substance.

Various scholars have shown that current formal education nullifies childhood creativity, forming and giving rise to intellectually inquisitive adults, passive subjects, without response capacity and quasi-ignorant. It even talks about people “functional illiterate”that is, of people who once learned to read and write, but who, due to disuse, forgot and/or lost these skills.

Unfortunately, the country is full of this educational scourge, where what is privileged is mediocrity, “rote learning” and the automatic and robotic repetition of the subject taught by teachers, who, for reasons of insufficient academic training, lack of time, professional frustration, lack of resources, poor infrastructure, lack of interest, lack of vocation, poor salaries, tiredness, chronic stress, etc., they totally disregard the act of making sure if the student understood –or not– what he is now repeating as “parrot” before the teacher. Moreover, the student is punished with a bad grade if he does not repeat verbatim what the teacher taught him. Grades, quizzes, and exams become the ultimate purpose of the education system – instead of being used as a “diagnostic method”– without giving a damn how the student came to get those grades and if he really “learned” the subjects taught.

Let’s say, finally, that many for-profit (pseudo)universities (including public universities) have also been shown to deliver “professional bakelite titles” –that is to say, useless garbage–, as expressed literally in March 2014 by the former Minister of Finance, Nicolás Eyzaguirre, in which the “professional” All too often, the graduate has severe problems reading fluently and understanding abstract thoughts, or the sixth-semester engineering college student doesn’t know how or when to apply a simple rule of thumb.

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Creativity, education and culture: limitless power