One of the characteristics that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our capacity for creativity.
Like all qualities, positive or negative, practice makes perfect and yet we live in a world that increasingly values utility more than creativity. When I say “utility” I refer to very short term utility that serves the immediate material needs of state and industry, for as anyone who has studied history knows there is perhaps no greater contribution to the quality of life on Earth than those events/activities/situations which result from human creativity. Among the most potent of these is Art in its multitude of forms. The history books of every country in the world are basically made up of references and descriptions of wars, scientific discoveries (put to good and bad uses) and art. I leave you to judge which of these areas (alone or combined with another) unequivocally helps us to reach a higher plane of personal consciousness, of dignity and of fulfillment. Our answer to this question says a great deal about our education, and our upbringing, which brings me to the question of education.
In my view it is time we woke up to the fundamental importance of stimulating creative endeavour in schools at an early age and of continuing to do so throughout the formal educational process. This initiative should be targeting the development of creativity in the service of personal expression as well as in the service of group projects. It should be as unrestricted in subject matter as possible and optimize conceptual exploration of process. The objective is not to subvert the more utilitarian goals of contemporary education (a necessary, if not ideal pursuit on a planet in which 8 billion people must co-exist), but to temper them with the culture inherent in less material vectors of investigation that stimulate our capacity to find original solutions rather than simply learning to follow well-worn and increasingly ineffective paths. The collective benefits are obvious. On an individual level the result is a higher quality of personal life and higher self-awareness and self-esteem.
What could possibly be more utilitarian than this?