Creativity and the Art of Living
The creative peak of any human being happens between 0 and 5 years of age, before the entrance to the so-called conventional schooling, and the beginning of the valorization of their artistic process through grade and “literal value” of the final result of the artistic process. The introduction of the valorization of a child’s artistic process for the integration of normative and homogeneous social concepts instilled in formal artistic education, creates as a hindrance of creative skills in the child’s development. Together with the introduction of written and mathematical symbology, where the concrete symbol has a concrete function, the abstractionism inherent to the symbology of the psyche in the stage of developing its creativity is rejected. Thus, the varied and fundamental archetypes of the psyche are rejected, creating an obstacle to the possible development of each child.
This process, also adding to the need to correspond to homogeneous standards of intelligence and the valorization of memorization instead of the creative solution of problems, expands this numbness to an almost creative apathy, thus resulting in the exorbitant number of adults who say they do not know how to draw and who thinks they are not artistic or creative, and worse, adults who feel unable to take part in co-creating personal and social solutions.
The concept of learning the creative process begins with total freedom in the first years of development, to a stagnation in a false sense of belonging to a homogeneous medium of identical solutions and memorization, in circular repetition.
Nowadays, parents are increasingly looking for their children’s creative development in favor of greater intelligence. However, this paradigm is also not transversal and concrete, as each child, each human being, has its own style of intelligence that may not be congruent with the abilities developed or that the parents want to see developed. There are children who feel closer to abstraction, others closer to naturalistic thoughts, others closer to physical learning, others to intellectual stimulation, and so forth. The importance of letting the child develop creative in freedom, lies above all in the development of creative skills for solving problems in adolescence and adulthood. A child whose artistic skills are only valued within certain standards and requirements in the “literal stage”, develop problem-solving skills that will fit into the box of the pattern that has been instilled in them, and not to their full capability as a creative human being.
The fact that the child’s creative peak is between 0 and 5 years of age, happens because at 6 years old begins compulsory schooling and with it all the mandatory belonging to a de-facto homogeneous group, due to an easiness outside of the child’s belonging, in light of national statistics on the quality of education according to standards that are not in favor of children, but to the system’s ability to educate who will further perpetuate the system’s needs. Of course, all of this is highly antagonistic to what a creative process means.
A creative process lies above all in the exposure of a problem to be solved and the capacity for flexibility and adaptation to the conditions for solving this problem, through different means and, as it is said colloquially, outside the box. If the child from 6 years of age does not have at home or in resources outside the school and the family environment, an incentive for the development of these skills, will become an adult who is not flexible, less compassionate to others, less able to create personal and social solutions to the problems inherent in their life and community.
For this same reason, the development of the artistic and creative capacities of a child, and of a group of diverse children, passes precisely for being an alternative and a solution to function outside the paradigms of his usual social situation, thus creating a safe haven for the learning of other dimensions of reality in the form of knowing how to imagine and co-create with other children both concrete and abstract solutions to the problems exposed.
Another issue in the child’s creative development comes with the absence of the factor “play” in the context of school learning. A group of children who cannot make too much noise, who cannot freely express themselves in their own way, who have to stand in line and finish the creative process within a time bounded by a bell or worse, by an adult in charge of their education, will set limits to the creativity and originality of their whole being in development.
Of course, this problem is not easily solved. In conventional schooling, as from the 3rd or 4th year, the artistic and creative process is no longer as important, and the emphasis is placed primarily on the programmatic and systemic repetition of the so-called social state needs, such as knowing exactly the same within exactly the same words to create a social and national narrative consistent with needs that are alien to those of the child and their development. This question is extremely important, because it is at this age that the child begins to develop skills to put their creative process into practice, especially in the school environment, where social pressures are imposed and a homogeneous response is favored. It is at this age that the child begins to develop the narrative notions of their own experience, namely to tell their story and what it is like to be themself.
Now, if these narrative abilities are valued merely by their homogeneous characteristics, clearly the child will feel excluded from the common narrative. It is a key issue in children belonging to minorities in Western countries, as they are children with personal and social narratives that are highly different from the common narrative, and worse, that call into question the social and national narrative imposed beforehand. It is here that the other child, who belongs to the common social narrative in minimal standards, will feel superior and valued (since their entire creative process is based on notions of superiority and inferiority), and will act on the child with a different narrative (which goes directly against the narrative to which it is supposed to belong), in an antagonistic way. Simply because the pattern instilled earlier in its development has been valued for being this way and the child feels the inherent need to belong.
It is a very simple way to generate even more segregation and in a very complex way, to instill notions of ethnocentrism and the need to maintain the social narrative that may not be congruent with reality, thus annihilating the adult’s creative capacity in decision-making, that does not call into question third parties, or needed pragmatisms that do not involve violence and attempts at social superiority.
The closed and bitter adult is a child who did not have the ability to freely express their individuality. An adult antagonistic to common norms, is a child who had their narrative tampered with in favor of a false social notion of what it means to be themself. A child who demonstrates violent and antagonistic notions is a child who does not have their problem-solving skills in a creative and supportive way.
If a child in the Portuguese class is asked to write about his day-to-day (his own narrative) but in the History class he is instilled with a social narrative that does not agree with his own truth, it happens immediately perpetuation of that child’s social exclusion. This is the case with children of different ethnicities who live in countries with their own narrative of exclusion. Worse than that, instead of solving the problem of teaching as it is, the social and programmatic narrative is changed to something that is included, even if it is false. In my history classes in preparatory education, Portugal’s role in the exploitation of black slaves was absolutely excluded. The propagation of this type of false narratives, leads only to the ignorance and critical and analytical incapacity of the adults of the future, thus forming adults antagonistic to their real and concrete need for an inclusive social narrative.
Given that after the child’s creative peak, values that are inconsistent with the reality shared outside school are instilled, it is normal for the child to begin to show difficulties in understanding and analyzing programmatic contexts — they simply do not correspond to their realities, they do not correspond to the voice of creativity of the child who wants to express themself freely.
The inherent creative capacity in all of us promotes another type of problem in adulthood: the aesthetic, social and moral elitism of the academy — the true result of the appropriation of social narratives that match the personal realities of children — versus the rest of the population that follows blindly thinkers of the social narrative administered in childhood, even if it does not correspond to the personal values and realities of each one. It is for this reason alone, that the general population needs to listen to others who think they are more intelligent, because the listener has not been given the possibility of the free expression of their own narrative and their own creativity. The possibility of authenticity was taken away from them, creating a personal existential void and a truly antagonistic need to create their own social narratives, not belonging to the social narrative of inclusion. The children of the past are the adults of the present, and the children of the present are the adults of the future. If we still perpetuate the same narrative and creativity records through literal symbology, we are creating future antagonists to the existing and real social narratives. We are only perpetuating more apathy and antagonism to what is established, to the false and moralistic normative narratives of social reality.
The solution is for each of us, as parents and educators, to develop in ourselves the capacities of freedom of creative expression, so that the adults of the future have greater freedom to put into practice their own type of creative intelligence for the solution of social problems, in the most horizontal way possible with the real inclusiveness of the real current social narrative, which corresponds to the social narratives of each individual’s shared and personal realities. That responds in a concrete way to the individualization and authenticity of the individual as a free being, in a society that claims to be as both inclusive and global.