Skip to main content

How to kill creativity

I promised not to click on bigthink.com anymore. But, ooops! it happened again!
"We need to teach kids creative thinking. And we're teaching them the opposite" - "...the basis of education is not answers, but questions" (this specific quote is by Lawrence Krauss on Big Think but could come from anybody with a brain mushy enough to devour the latest coelhoisms on that site).
Guys. No. Go borrow the 3 to 10 year old kids from your neighbours (your neighbours will love you!). Pack them into your car and drive a few miles. Once they overcome shyness and see that you might look funny but you are a possible source of information, they will bombard you with questions. Rapid fire questions. Relentlessly. Kids are asking questions!
The task is not to teach those critters creative thinking (what should that be? show them a conventional textbook way to be unconventional?) - the task is to give them access to as much knowledge and as diverse answers as possible so that their very own creativity can play and blossom. What turns this curiosity and creativity (or even strangeness) into a real power is: knowledge, information, understanding.
Just resist to try to streamline everything. And don't touch creativity! It will selfdestruct.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Academics should be blogging? No.

"blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now" The London School of Economics and Political Science states in one of their, yes, Blogs . It is wrong. The arguments just seem so right: "faster communication of scientific results", "rapid interaction with colleagues" "responsibility to give back results to the public". All nice, all cuddly and warm, all good. But wrong. It might be true for scientoid babble. But this is not how science works.  Scientists usually follow scientific methods to obtain results. They devise, for example, experiments to measure a quantity while keeping the boundary-conditions in a defined range. They do discuss their aims, problems, techniques, preliminary results with colleagues - they talk about deviations and errors, successes and failures. But they don't do that wikipedia-style by asking anybody for an opinion . Scientific discussion needs a set

My guinea pig wants beer!

Rather involuntary train rides (especially long ones, going to boring places for a boring event) are good for updates on some thoughts lingering in the lower levels of the brain-at-ease. My latest trip (from Berlin to Bonn) unearthed the never-ending squabble about the elusive 'free will'. Neuroscientists make headlines proving with alacrity the absence of free will by experimenting with brain-signals that precede the apparent willful act - by as much as seven seconds! Measuring brain-activity way before the human guinea pig actually presses a button with whatever hand or finger he desires, they predict with breathtaking reproducibility the choice to be made. So what? Is that the end of free will? I am afraid that those neuroscientists would accept only non-predictability as a definite sign of free will. But non-predictability results from two possible scenarios: a) a random event (without a cause) b) an event triggered by something outside of the system (but caused).

No theory - no money!

A neuroscientist I was talking to recently complained that the Higgs-research,even the Neutrino-fluke at CERN is getting humungous funding while neuroscience is struggling for support at a much more modest level. This, despite the undisputed fact that understanding our brain, and ultimately ourselves, is the most exciting challenge around. Henry Markram of EPFL in Switzerland   is one of the guys aiming for big, big funding to simulate the complete brain. After founding the brain institute and developing methods to analyze and then reconstruct elements of the brain in a supercomputer he now applies for 1.5 Billion Euro in EU-funding for the 'flagship-projects' of Blue Brain -and many believe his project is simply too big to fail. Some call the project daring, others audacious. It is one of the so very few really expensive life-science endeavours. Why aren't there more like that around? Why do we seem to accept the bills for monstrous physics experiments more easily? Is