There is another Bi-Weekly Question by @tribesteemup, and this time it is concerning whether there is huge waste of human potential and if so, how can we help people tap into it. This is a great question, one you could approach from so many different angles: the potential of rational thought, the potential of efficient use of resources, the potential of communicating effectively... What I believe comes before anything else though, is the wasted potential of creativity seeing how so many good ideas are descarded before they can even become anything.
How The World Is, And How It Could Be
Creativity means coming up with new ways to see and do things, finding innovation by trying out different approaches from conventional ones. While this is generally seen as a valuable asset that should be valued and supported, usually it is also restricted to certain areas, such as music, fashion, visual images, and other forms of art, as well as the recent trend of selling things in new ways.
In most other areas, however, the attitude is the exact opposite. We're supposed to know how the world works, and adjust, adapt, and be realistic in our way of working with it. This means, we are given relatively little room for experimentation, even theoretically, not to mention in trying out things in practice.
But What Is There To Experiment With, Really?
Hahaha, did you really have to ask that? If so, it only verifies that indeed, there is a lack of imagination in our way of life. Here are a few areas, just from the top of my head, where creative approaches are far too few, and even then, ideas are usually discredited for being unrealistic:
- The way we travel Just yesterday I had a discussion with a touring cyclist about how bike touring is unknown or unheard of in certain countries: tourists are supposed to stay in hotels, visit only the official "sights", and travel by taxi and airplane!
- How we work and go about our business Remember when home offices were seen as a radically new way of working? Even today, decades after Silicon Valley companies started the trend, a bean-bag chair or a ping-pong table in an office environment is still not the norm.
- Treating trade and ownership of resources Joined ownership, cooperatives, tool libraries, barter exchanges, or other alternatives to the private property vs. state control dichotomy are still considered weird exceptions, even though they have been around for a while.
- The way we learn and teach things Sure, some progressive schools in Finland may have gotten rid of homework, standardized tests, and other such counterproductive methods that actually impede learning. Regardless, the teacher centered approach is still the most common way of teaching worldwide.
- Housing and living arrangements If a fourteen-year old asks his parents if it's okay that he moves away from home to share a place with his friends, most parents would have a hard time even imagining such an arrangement, let alone letting the kid go. Which is also a reason why there are so few teenage housing co-ops.
- The people we like to share our lives with Relationships that don't fall into the traditional "man and wife" setup, such as same sex partnerships, non-monogamous partnerships, or sharing the parter(s) of both sides in a constellation of three, four, or more, is much talked about nowadays. However, this also shows precisely that these new types of partnerships are generally seen as extremely radical moves away from how things are perceived to be "normal".
This list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, they were just a few random things that came to my mind in a matter of minutes. All this is a speck of dust compared to an actual creative approach to life. And as I said, I have not even been raised to fully use my creativity. Children of course are the masters of creativity, until it has gotten drilled out of them. And if you stop to consider, the way this is done uses the most ridiculous reasoning:
- No-one has ever done it like that before!
- It has been always done like this!
- Well, but then anybody could do it!
Okay, I stole this from a satiric explanation of why German companies don't innovate, frequently found framed precisely in the offices of those German companies. Everyone has a good laugh, recognizing the truth in it, all the while accepting it as the way things are. In Mexico the same attitude towards change is embraced in one simple sentence: "Eso no se hace." - This is not done. Period. Notice the passive voice, surrendering responsibility over one's actions!
Gotta Make It Happen!
I like to go back to German, and use a common proverb to retort to this attitude against change: Es gibt nichts gutes außer man tut es. - Nothing good happens unless you do it. In other words, we must give our creativity full reign to think up solutions to our increasingly complex problems. Because business as usual ain't gonna cut it. And the old paradigms have proven not to have the desired results. So we need a completely new approach to things. There's no guarantee that it'll work better, but before we reject them we should give them a try. Or at least a thought. Or at least let us (or our kids, the most creative ones of us) come up with a suggestion! Otherwise our failure will be our own doing.
Thank you very much for reading my opinion till the end.
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