Simon Peter Debbarma

Student of History, Desire Machine Collective

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Why is art (or artistically creative fields) often not taken seriously?

My question is self-explanatory.

I live in India where the shortest path to success in life is getting a degree and a good job. Its basically the traditional way. Very few actually pursue something artistic. And very few parents actually encourage it.

I found that most parents don't want their children to take risks and enter the creative fields. Most want their kids to be engineers and doctors. Here in India, most kids either end up wanting to be an engineer or a doctor and many parents want just that. Maybe its the financial stress but there's no explanation for it.

The creativeness in kids is killed although some lucky ones have it until the end of their lives. This is also shared by Ken Robinson''s talk. Creativity is art and its sad to see art dying in the younger generations.

As you can see this is very prevalent in my country and other Asian countries. You can also figure out why we can be kind of over-achievers if we try hard. John Maeda's father as said in this TED talk says that his father told a certain shop owner that he was "good in math" while his teacher had said that John was good in "math and art". His father had left out art. I've been in similar situations too and its kind of sad to see that your talent is not uphold-ed or recognized by the ones you hoped would appreciate it. Maybe I was not good enough, but it didn't mean that I couldn't improve. Many go through this and I think coming up with a solution should be on our agenda.

What can you do to change this? Are you willing to change your society?
How can we keep children interested and their love for art burning through their school life?
Is this something only my generation will have to face? Do you think this will change in later generations?Will we be supportive of our children in what they are good at, and at not what you want them to be?

  • Jul 14 2013: As an artist, I'd like to butt in here.
    My dad was always against me wanting to be an artist. His reason: I wouldn't make any money!
    He started his comments when I was 12 yrs. old. When I turned 18, I finally told him, that everything built by humans was first thought up by someone who had an artistic mind and that included the bloody chair he was sitting in. Yes! I ran for cover after that remark but I proved many points.
    It's true, you have to have talent & be darn good at it to "make money", but to me (and many other artists) it's not about the money,it's about self expression.
    The cave drawings, of early humans, are beautiful examples. We try to interpret why they were drawn, and maybe are assumptions are right, but the again, maybe not. We weren't there to ask why that artist(s) drew them. We just enjoy & wonder.
    Art spawns creativity and can lead to so many wonderful things.
    Example: A surgeon does doodling on a pad of paper to ease stress between operations and unconsciously draws a new medical device. An engineer does the same thing, as do others in various fields including math.
    In a lot of schools, art has been dumped and that has been a huge mistake. Lack of funding they say!
    Only a very few students of art will become successful but the rest learned a valued lesson: How to create!
    And will take that lesson far beyond a simple class room into their chosen field.
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      Jul 14 2013: This pretty much nailed everything.

      Btw, nice convincing argument you made. If you didn't make it convincing, it sounds like you would have been disowned by your parents lol.

      "Lack of funding they say!"

      Lack of funding used for more useless textbooks hehe
      • Jul 14 2013: By the way! I am now 68 years old and that 18 year old kid still is making a living at art.
        Not disowned by my parents just my dad. My mom was my biggest supporter.
        Text books go out of date but art doesn't.
        Now I'll get off my soap box.
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          Jul 14 2013: Being an artist takes courage. You have to deviate from society a lot.

          Out of almost any other people in society, I think Artists are the most true to themselves and they aren't afraid to show it.

          "Text books go out of date but art doesn't."

          U artists and your quotes... lol
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      Jul 14 2013: My heart warmed when I read that you took a stand for what you wanted.

      And yes, I myself have so much to express and only art provides me a way to express myself in various ways.

      _____________________________________

      I don't understand when they say that art is no more in schools due to lack of funding. Like, when does schools need huge funds to lets the children sit and imagine and put it to paper. The most basic needed is paper,a set of pencils, maybe colors. And in most cases, it is all brought to school by the student itself.

      Can anyone explain me why they need huge funds? Unless they are in college pursuing something like sculpting or architecture, I don't see needs of huge "funds". A student art gallery can be created in schools anywhere. Even in the hallways.

      This is so sad to hear that many people have lost their passion for something.
      • Jul 14 2013: The sports in schools suck up most of the funds and folks have to have their sports don't they?
        Ya don't need color for art to have an impact! I do a lot of pencil work (not colored pencils) and when I show a piece of my black & white work, it causes folks to really stop and look at the art piece. No blast of color draws their eye, just the work its self draws them in.
        Art always has had it's ups & downs in the lime light and now is no exception, but it's still here & folks are still becoming artists, against all sorts of odds.
        The passion has never left, just taken a side step for now.
  • Jul 27 2013: Well i live in kerala,a state in india in the heart of this problem i must say.Here people who pursue art are stigmatised so much by the orthodox society that they tend to conceal their talents and creativity in art as if it was something to be ashamed of.Well,it definetly is nothing to be ashamed of , i love art and language buts lets face it ,no art or language has changed the way humans live ,no art has ever revolutionised life as a whole,so artists are not considered a prerequisite for a "developed" nation of the modern era.
    But when we live in such a competetive world let's reason, art is a person's inherent skill,it is the true expression of his inner being.He was not taught art but was rather born with it, now since he was gifted with this free of cost,he must put in some effort in life.Now the effort he puts in is the risk he faces by going up against a hostile world which looks down upon him.
    Nothing good comes free and the price one pays for becoming an artist is by risking his life.If so, why bother if no one ever patted an artist on the back and encouraged him.
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      Jul 28 2013: I'm glad that as an Indian you see my dilemma but u ask, why i should bother? Well because its worth bothering about. If you question in similar manner to each and everything I doubt u will find an answer for everything.

      Does it not make you happy when you see others happy? Being happy is not only something temporary, Each and every person has and needs the right to be happy his/her own life. Its how we build a community, its how we make things happen, its how we in return live happy.

      If someone is talented to do stuff and then does not get encouraged or appreciated then eventually becomes an unhappy person.he might get over it but it leaves a dent. Every person must use his talent to give back something to the world or just to satisfy himself. Thats how a person stays happy, doing what he likes even if its not accepted by everyone, even if he does it part-time. I'm guessing you are a christian and in the Bible, it tells us to use our talents.

      So now ask me again why I should bother about this?
      • Aug 5 2013: I think u got me a little wrong.The question was nothing but a rhetoric.My point was simple,all what i meant to say was that since art can never be meausured on the same scale as that of science in terms of improving our understanding of our world or improving human life as a whole,the artist has no moral right to claim a recognition or appreciation that is recieved by a scientist.Now since art is more or less a form of entertainment and the arist an ingenious creation of God, he has to fight his way up to the top.I said that this struggle is a part of his life and who he is and if we were to take it away he would never turn out to be as great as he could.....Remember the story of the man who helped a butterfly break free from its cocoon and the butterfly died in the end,same thing,names changed
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    Jul 17 2013: I always wanted to be an artist and never appreciated by anyone in my family. I turned out to be an engineer and then a bureaucrat. No one ever tried to learn about my passion or to discover my talent for art.
    Three years ago, i found myself extremely attracted towards painting and now i was the Boss of myself. I decided to carry out research in painting. For 3 years i spent time in learning painting by my self. Now i am an acclaimed artist with a patent in painting technique.
    I believe now that anyone can learn painting by him/herself, if passion is there. I was ridiculed by my family, friends for my crazy endeavor and its pretty normal in Pakistan. But i never gave up, i patiently listened to critics and build on their funny jokes about my childish work. And after 2 years my research started giving me results and now i have been ranked top 25 in a competition where 2000 art works contested.
    Now i am committed to teach my painting technique to those people who are divorced from art. And i dont discourage any art related talk or work. Further, i tell my 3 years research story in one hour and my students learn the whole technique just in one hour and produce quality results. This is a great thesis, you dont need to worry about learning art process. You can learn it by yourself if you are committed to learn.
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    Jul 16 2013: Because 'things' matter more than people, to be brutally honest.

    What can be bought and sold has overwhelming precedence over what can be felt and perceived. What a calamitous mistake that is already proving to be, because commodities needed artistic input to bring them into fruition in the first place. Not only that, the wherewithal to market them also needed creative input.

    A patriarchal, left-brained society is what we have now. The left brain can only deal with what is already known, or what can be evidenced. It foolishly thinks that the next century will be exactly the same as the last. Western education curricula and political manifestos are proof of that.

    If we are to look to a better future, the very last person I would ask to do that would be an economist. The second to last would be a politician.

    The more this society does damage to itself and to the environment, the more beholden it will become for creative visionaries and philosophers to think of ways to get us out. They are the people I would listen to first of all.
  • Aug 13 2013: I think it's a short-sighted definition of creativity: that which we call 'engineering' is surely as creative as that which we call 'artistic'; Leonardo De Vinci might have been amused by the distinction we make.

    That said, I suspect that we need to provide more and better access to tools and ideas and people who can talk about and explore them safely and flexibily. Maybe we need to take a hard look at the idea that art and creativity are internal things that happen where tools, ideas and resources interact with us, and us with them. Sometimes we manage to share our viewpoints, and sometimes they're similar. And sometimes they're not.

    And sometimes rewards come in ways that one needs or wants.
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    Jul 14 2013: In art it is believed that anything goes. I dont know if you are familiar with the Dada or Avant garde movement and other things that make it seem as if anything could pass as art.
    That sort of approach to art makes it very difficult for the creative arts to be taken seriously because it is thought that well-explained mediocrity can be called art, and anybody and everybody can be an artist.
    In the medical and engineering fields there is no room for that arrogance of definning things based on personal opinion.

    In the end, living here on earth is all about impacting humanity, and not about an individual pleasing himself or herself. Even successful artists are ones that connect with the audience; and certain fields are more relevant than others because they are all about humanity in an holistic way.
  • Jul 13 2013: This is a really important question. Like you I enjoyed Ken Robinson's talk and am disappointed that most of the world has chosen the pragmatic route, the standard safe route meaning getting a good safe job not one you actually enjoy. In many parts of the world like Asia or the middle east or Africa parents have made sure their children persue such successful jobs so that for example they say to their children: "you can study medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, accounting, business" and some other limited possibilities but nothing else. One very important reason is for the child's own security as well as the parents when they get old. Without a pension scheme old people must be looked after by the children. This means those ideas or passions that the children themselves have are ignored or trodden down whether this is an artistic pursuit or something else without an obvious monetary benefit. One example was my chinese flatmate who loved marine biology but was not allowed to study it by his parents who thought it wirthless in terms of earning potential. So, gradually the arets have been slowly eradicated by underfunding and a lack of appreciation excvept in cases where they were obviously successful such as in movies and the theatre, mostly musicals, or occasionally in jobs which require some sort of artistic aptitude, e.g. architecture. The worst aspect of this alteration in emphasis has been that artists are only considered as being successful if their art sells for a lot of monet. This means the attached monetary value is what really matters. This undermines the meaning and value of art and so humanity is made a little more impoverished.
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      Jul 13 2013: Its most probably the want of a secure life and easy old life what they are worried about.

      And I'm glad to read your points on the subject. Its the lack of appreciation alright. I guess the hard to understand art is actually repelling.

      Do you think that art should become simpler?
      Is it only this current older generation that will do this kinda behavior on their children, or do you think future parents will do it too?
      Will the choice of life of an individual human ever come fully into the hands of oneself?
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    Aug 6 2013: Creative people are only taken seriously once they are successful... famous or rich or both. At school, creativity is only given credit if it adds to academic skill. Teachers are all academically minded, taught to control a class rather than inspire creativity. Ken Robinson tells it how it is and should be listened to.
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      Aug 13 2013: Ken Robinson is a charismatic speaker and he makes many valid points but he offers very little advice that is practical in his talk.

      It is the prevalent assessment systems that ruin education. They traditionally are unable to assess the arts and so the arts are sidelined because they are too inconvenient for the bureaucrats to get a handle on in their own speak.

      When it comes to the attitude that fame or riches denote success, then nobody is successful until they are rich or famous. What you are really talking about is the commercial side of 'creativity', in which case, it's not about creativity at all; it's about marketing of the (artistic) product.

      Schools and teachers are forced to work as people managers rather than teachers (in the true sense of the word) simply because of the way education systems operate.

      A lot of what Obi Wan KenRobinson touches on can be fostered by parents and students themselves. Because current education systems need to be able to measure "added value" creativity will never be seen as a substantial or robust part of mainstream education.
  • Aug 5 2013: Creativity is not art. Some art is creative and some art is not very good. You can creativity in almost everything, even engineering, science, math, etc. I agree schools today do not support creativity in anything - just conformity.

    On the other side of the coin, put yourself in the parents - all they want is to have their children safe and secure. That means making money. I had several friends that supported their children while they tried their dreams - golf pro, an artist, opera company director, and a tv writer. The parents were scientists and engineers. So some parents try even though they are worried sick - 8>))
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    Aug 2 2013: I can site two reasons. The first is that art is a right brain function and we now live in a predominantly left-brained culture.
    The second is that art is subjective; it is in the eyes of the beholder. What some people call art these days has value only to the one who sees value in it. There is the typical joke where two children are in an art museum and one says to the other, "let's get out of here before they blame it on us".

    The following is a link to the right-left brain phenomenon;
    http://www.ted.com/talks/iain_mcgilchrist_the_divided_brain.html
  • Aug 1 2013: I once was a young man who aspired to be a writer. In the conceited manner of great American writers like Hemingway, I insisted, as well I should have, that I had excellent tone and vision for my pieces. This notion was burned into my mind when, low and behold, literary professors all the way down to colleagues in other fields of study found my writing provocative and thoroughly entertaining.

    I decided that I damn well may be onto something, so I considered what might be the path to becoming a "professional writer".

    Then I had a shocking realization. That position doesn't really exist within the corporate structure. Sure, you have your Stephen King's etc, but that isn't something you can send in an application for. It happens after years of hard work and being quite talented- then, finally the most difficult portion of this path is sought... You have to get your big break. In this case it is find a publisher who wants to print this art to make a profit for everyone involved.

    This is easier said than done, and while I realize it happens, I also realize that every 17 year old with a guitar thinks he is going to be the next Bruno Mars. And those dreams are great- But I have seen too many people lay in wait as "starving artists" only to turn 30 and still be living in their mothers basements.

    Art is a hobby unless one can make it into a career- and until then, it is wise to get a job to support your creativity (and,. you know, feed yourself). (P.S. I still write all the time and have had several pieces published outside of my 9-5 gig.)
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    Jul 31 2013: It seems to me we are regressing back to the dark ages. Oh yeah, we have the fancy gadgets and the pretty toys, but we lost something too.

    Take a look back. The Renaissance. The Age of Enlightenment. The Transcendentalist Movement.

    And now?

    Poetry is 95% free verse, with traditional form and others disregarded- a complete and depressing shame.
    Art is considered a hobby, particularly for the rich, and few consider it a life calling.
    Pottery and painting classes are paired with getting drunk with the hope of getting laid.
    Attending a university for a creative field is quickly becoming a negative stigma.

    Why? Andrew Wiggin is correcto. "MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!"

    You'd think the age of kings (now big business), greedy gold fingers, and mindless spending would be behind us by now... but it appears to only be getting worse.

    The horrible thing about it is... without money, there isn't a comfortable way to live. Sure, you can run off in the forest and live off the land... but first you need to buy the land. You need the materials for a house, the tools to build it, and so forth.

    And yet, deep down, we all know it's bullshit. We all know where true happiness lies right? We know it is the creative exploration, the delight of other beings, the curious nature of discovery and creation. The togetherness of us. So why do we continue to live for the accumulation of fake worth? Why do we fool ourselves into thinking their success will be the success of our souls?

    Wake up, wake up, wake up!

    It's just a dream.
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      Aug 13 2013: the world has never been an easy place to live. thankfully.

      that is not to say that we should not aim for something higher. neither does it mean we should resign ourselves to a life of drudgery and fakery in order to make ends meet.

      you can live both the creative dream and the reality. making money out of following a creative or pleasurable pursuit is not the measure of success at all. in my experience, the two are often mutually exclusive.

      it's unlikely that anyone could run off to the forest and live free of stress - it would quickly regress to a situation of simple survival which is not as attractive as the concept may appear.

      to answer you final question - we all need shelter, food and water. once we have those in abundance, only then will artistic renaissance follow..
  • Jul 22 2013: Dear Simon, how deeply I appreciate your Question! I am an American but do most of my online creative self-expression in India, at Speaking Tree, the Spiritual Site at The Times of India. And you bring up a cultural question that has baffled me about my fellow seekers and writers for quite some time. So, please expect no answer here, actually, just a sharing of my experience with art flowing out of IT engineers who take the time to write for Speaking Tree. And I mean this to include everyone from mothers to PhD researchers, cardiologists, those expert in their fields, young students still questioning what they want to do with their lives, and everyone with whom I have had the privilege to interact. Please allow me to simply share my experiences. Perhaps you can provide an answer. Sometime a seeker will write a blog post that inspires readers to begin either writing their own poetry right there on the spot or opening up their favorite poet and sharing, translating into English for me their favorite poems, from Tagore to Rumi, from Sant Darshan Singh to Iqbal...and then more jump in with their poetic musings and in no time a spontaneousSpiritual Mushaira (is that right?) erupts, delights, inspires,one friend just began finger painting later in life and her paintings are Beyond Extraordinary! She says it's as if someone picks up her finger and just begins painting with it. And here's my question: when I look up their profiles, most of them ACTUALLY ARE DOCTORS AND/OR ENGINEERS! It always baffles me, such talent and enthusiasm...I expect perhaps Art Professor, Poetry Instructor, but NO! Just as you said, pretty much medical or IT professions. At the crossroads of so many extraordinary civilizations, India is a mecca of artistic wealth. Your question only leaves me with more but the conversation is certainly worth pursuing! Thank you.
  • Jul 20 2013: Art isn't taken seriously by the majority of people because:

    1. Everyone can participate, and each person has to some extent,
    2. Practical applications of Art are understood as being highly limited in that the function of Art in society is generally regarded as often extraneous adornment,
    3. The act of "Art-making" (whether visual, written, or musical) is (often regarded as) "too enjoyable" (to be of practical worth in a material world),
    4. General literacy amongst the population is extremely low (visual illiteracy is rampant in a visually rich world - for example) and as a result, little is understood about how to evaluate quality (beyond the subjectivity of basc "like" and "dislike")
    5. The contributions of Art to society are not regarded in ways similar to either science or religion (our two other "pillars of human wisdom"); where both fields are accepted as authorities the general public relies upon to form their beliefs (people do not turn to the Art world to determine what is or isn't Art, or how to evaluate and understand Art beyond the subjective).
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    Lejan .

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    Jul 19 2013: We have allowed an economic system to control our lives instead our lives controlling our economic system. By this the STEM fields ( science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are only more likely to guarantee a decent income, whereas all other fields are more likely not to. It's that simple ...
  • Jul 19 2013: I agree with the notion that we are losing appreciation for the arts, but there's an implied limitation of creativity in your post with which I disagree. It seems that people naturally link "creativity" to art, specifically fine arts, theater, etc., anything labeled as an art. However, I believe that engineers, doctors, etc., must be creative in order to be successful. Creativity isn't just expression; it's also problem-solving, specifically in being able to solve problems in new, efficient, and beneficial ways.

    An unfortunate by-product of linking creativity *only* to art gets people thinking that they aren't creative. I think this idea that "I'm not creative because I don't paint/act/sing/etc" creates a mental disconnect to art, wherein because people don't think they are creative, they don't think they can understand art or they feel separated from it and therefore don't seek out how to relate to it.

    So, I think in order to change society, two things need to happen:
    1) We need to change our perspective on what defines creativity. I think it would help to teach people how to recognize their own creative capabilities, whether they be with a paintbrush or a calculator.
    2) We need to support art appreciation in schools in order to promote creative thinking patterns and encourage original thought.

    Both of those changes can be implemented through education. And if anyone has ideas on how to have a educational revolution, please let me know because I definitely want to fix our educational system.

    On a side note, the belief that a college degree in a "non-artistic" major (like math or science) leads to a promising career is now null. Because the economy is in shambles, jobs are hard to find, and no one wants to hire recent graduates. I think it's going to take some creative thinkers to fix this economy, though!
    • Jul 19 2013: I agree 100% Karen, that creativity should never only be connected to the arts! Any and all professions can be executed creatively, there are so many levels of creativity that people are naturally equipped with in order to do what they do best! Stimulating creativity on a wide scale, incorporating all forms, is essential.

      I love this quote by Deepak Chopra:
      "Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box."
  • Jul 19 2013: I believe that the current denigration of the "arts" is a symptom of our (sick) materialistic society. In our present preoccupation with surviving materialistically, our arts and "psyche's"/souls are suffering. It's a matter of society's current priorities.
    • Jul 23 2013: Thank you - I was trying to formulate something along these lines. We are innundated by the arts of big music & movie variety. But this is primarily what we are sold. We have no creative input. We are convinced that what we could create is a low-quality & therefore unimportant. We are unpracticed & wpould probably be embarassed to be compared to the best-of-the-best we see on tv, who get multiple 'takes,' and photoshopped.
      And even in art, I see too much focus on "correctness" - "color inside the lines," "dance to the beat."
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    Jul 16 2013: In response to your question, I do agree that it resulted from our flawed education system where academic ability is valued more than any other talents that children might have. It is just simply because if you have good academic results, you can get a good degree and a good job and a promisingly stable life afterwards. And this is what people have been told generations after generations and that is why parents now insist on kids to choose a good career for themselves because it guarantees a better future.

    However, the problem here is that in Asia the vast majority of the population are not intellectual enough to truly understand the value of art. One cannot fall in love with ballet if he has never ever witnessed it. Some are even afraid to be artist because there is a myth that an artist never earns a penny but after he dies, all of his artwork becomes precious. Personally I think the way to change this is to familiarise the public with true art, arts that people and relate themselves to. We should organise free public concerts and shows where many people of the lower status can attend. Just like marketing, we have to give them free trial before we ask them to buy the products. Additionally, give them stories and examples of great artists that emerge from a normal social class family. Give them faith and they will follow.
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    Jul 16 2013: In America it seems to be the norm that if there are budget cuts to be made in a school system it is the arts that are quickest to go, and certain arts more than others, for example dancing will be quicker to go than music, as Ken Robinson pointed out. On a collegiate level, the humanities are continually devalued and I think this is largely do to the difficulty of quantifying the benefits of reciting a sonnet or performing an aria. It is readily apparent to me what the benefits of Greek mythology are, but how do you explain the way these myths formed the basis for our modern religions or provided some of the archetypes, which have become universal and subconscious?

    What can you do to change it? Support the arts through participation and appreciation. Read to your children and involve them in the arts at an early age in other ways.

    How can you keep their love for art burning? Help them to realize that the arts are a way to empower themselves and express themselves. Children, teenagers, and young adults are always on a constant search to find and define themselves. Make it apparent to them that there are more profound ways to do so other than declaring their support of a particular baseball or cricket team.

    Is it something only your generation will have to face? I think society moves in cycles. So it will be something every generation will face as they have faced in one form or another. Think back to the traditional expectations of women in most countries, when it was assumed they would learn domestic skills, and no career, creative or otherwise, was even a possibility.

    Will we be supportive of our children? That one comes down to compromise. Where it is possible, I would reject the assumption that they can only follow this career path or that career path. Maybe not always, but I'm sure there are lots of 'twin track' ways to pursue both, majoring in a creative field and minoring in a more traditional and job-oriented, or vice versa.
  • Jul 16 2013: Being a mother of a daughter who's artistic ability out weighs her academically due to a learning disablity. I encourage her to pursue what she's good in, and loves. The joy in doing what you love is priceless...
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      Jul 16 2013: I always wish for more people like you.
      I wish everyone had this mentality.

      Just so you know,
      I was just talking to this lovely girl that wants to be a singer. As I'm a music producer, I offered her to work with me on my next album but she said that she can't do it because her parents don't want her to be a singer as its not "as profitable". They just want her to study.
      Anyway, I agreed with whatever but I also told her to follow her dreams because its worth it. Hope she realizes it before its too late.
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        Jul 16 2013: Can you not accommodate her by letting her work on the album even while continuing her studies? Must it be all or nothing? Did you feel that you could work only with someone who would give up her studies for the project?

        I have taught so many academically highly capable young people who are also excellent musicians or in drama. I am delighted that the drama director at my son's high school recognizes that young people may have both academic and artistic interests and therefore offers upfront that he can find parts for students who also carry very heavy academic schedules.

        Julia Cameron in the Artist's Way makes the case that it is a myth that artists do better work if they shun every other expenditure of energy in their lives. She makes the case for keeping various projects going, artistic and not.
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          Jul 17 2013: Truly talented people are seldom mono-skilled. It's because talent is all about gift of expression so a single field of creativity is just not enough. Since it is customary to choose one field to excel professionally (no reason though why it should be that way), we don't get to know about other skills or creative expressions.
          Take any successful or renowned personality, chances are you will find s/he is deft at doing certain other things - so good that s/he could be famous doing that.
          So yes, you are absolutely right.
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          Jul 17 2013: Well, I can see the discussion has moved to different spectrums now.

          Anyway, yes, most people balance between art and something else that they are passionate about. And anyone can do this. Its just there are so many that don't realize their capacity nor do they have the chance to try it due to negligence or discouragement.

          Yes, Julia Cameron is a good example, I agree.
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        Jul 17 2013: I think we have gotten to this place in the discussion partly to try to clarify whether a good strategy is to encourage young people to pursue their interests, including arts and those involving more academic study, rather than seeing this as an either/or proposition.
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    Jul 16 2013: It benefited humanity but just not like the other topics.
  • Jul 14 2013: It's the elitification of art. At one time, "the arts" were viewed as crafts, which could be learned and taught. People would study them. A few might get rich, most simply made a living. However, this ended when "the arts" became mythologized and the exclusive social property of a self-apointted, out-of-touch elitist coiterie. Once "the arts" were turned from a craft, like any other, into some kind of mumbo-jumbo "self expression" that required "talent" and "gift" and could only be done by the Chosen Few, then "the arts" lost their value among the non-chosen many.

    As I have learned from having spent many years around full-time artists:
    If anybody likes it, it's too commercial, so it can't really be art.
    If anybody understands it, it's merely illustration, so it can't really be art.

    To make matters worse, the most elitist of the elitists even go so far as to make absurd, ivory-tower claims to the effect that "the arts" has exclusive ownership of creativity, and only those who pursue or study "the arts" understand "how to create". Creativity is innate to human beings, and the type of "creativity" that is taught by the modern establishment of the "the arts" is not the only type of worthwhile creativity, but those truths won't stop the elitists from spewing their propaganda.
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      Jul 14 2013: Art inspires and intrigues, not the other way around.

      Every artwork tells a story.
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      Jul 15 2013: You raise an excellent point, Bryan, that the arts do not own creativity. Many fields involve creative work and many creative people are drawn to those fields.
  • Aug 13 2013: Like a lot of the other comments state, we live in a time where money really drives the world, and unless you are very well connected in the 'artworld- whatever field that maybe in, it is extremely hard to survive. However it is true that the importance of us using our creative side of our brain is a lifesaver and should not be taken lightly, even more so in a heavily money driven world where stress levels are skyrocketing. But using our creative side of our brain does not necessarily mean becoming an 'artist', but understanding how to apply creativity to any subject/profession. Think of all the scientific breakthroughs and the people who envisioned these; this is generally done by thinking out of the box, applying creative thought to what we know and are taught. So the trick is to be proud of whatever you do and apply creativity to this, it should be more encouraged from a young age and parents/teachers should understand just how important utilising creativity is, whether applying creative thought to other subjects or allowing self expression for confidence biulding.
  • Aug 13 2013: "Find what you love, and let it kill you"
    -Charles Bukowski

    If we want children to be gutsy and follow creative dreams, we must MODEL for them by Living it........Preach it by Living It. There is NO other way.
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    Aug 13 2013: Art that makes money is generally not really art but a commodity. Something that only has a monetary value is not art, it is a product.

    Admittedly, the lines are blurred but, generally, choosing art as a living is not going to make you financially rich.

    Personally, I hope to leave an artistic legacy when I'm dead and gone. Regardless of whether it reaches a huge audience or not, I have found myself far more enthusiastic about song-writing than building a career. It's a way of expressing myself that turns me on. Besides, you can't take material wealth with you anyway.

    I think that many people do not even recognise their own creative urges. They often have not developed it because they were told that 'getting a good job' is more important. Depending on what you want out of life, this sort of advice can be excellent or terrible.

    Also, creativity can be found everywhere and being an "artist" does not necessarily make you more creative than any other kind of work.

    If everyone were creative in the way you have described it, society as we know it would collapse almost overnight.

    By writing and performing my songs, I am changing my society. It does not have to be on a global scale for it to be useful. It provides me with fulfillment and that's all that matters. Others will like, love, hate or be indifferent about it. And that is just fine. :)
  • Aug 13 2013: People decide what to learn based on necessity to survive in this world. To survive in this harsh world where money comes first to everything, people tend to put more priority the skills make money. Studying math increase the possibility of getting a high paid job than spending time on arts. Eventually, Art might be something good, but art itself is not necessary to survive.
  • Aug 11 2013: Creative art for the most part, is perceived to cater to entertainment without necessarily improving the quality of life of the individual or society at large. Fields like medicine, sciences, engineering, finance, and law directly impact the society and standard of living ergo they are taken more seriously. It is for this reason; we’d respect a neurosurgeon more than we would a comedian regardless of how hilarious he is.
    This takes nothing from the creative arts. I have a lot of respect for artists. I am a budding writer myself. As to why the creative arts are not taken as seriously as other fields, it boils down to utility.
  • Aug 9 2013: Well, if I am ever lucky enough to have kids I will encourage them to find things they are passionate about because such exploration is how you eventually find the one or two things you are meant to do.

    At the same time I think every child also has be taught common sense. That is, just wanting to be 'creative' is not enough in many instances to support a decent life. Strictly speaking, to be creative is to do something that you have never done before, but that is generally very different than being seen as 'creative enough' by other people that you can get a job.

    You pointed out that 'maybe this is due to financial pressures'--there is no 'maybe' about it, parents can see this reality much better than young people. When I was young you could afford to mess around and get a History or Anthropology degree just because you were interested in it, but now that's not true and parents know it.

    So, I think all children should be encouraged to be creative and follow their passions, but unless they are a prodigy in music or art, etc., they need to also get training that will allow them to create a stable future.

    I do, however, think the emphasis on following a strict set of steps to be a 'success' has to change. The fact is that we have allowed the world to change into a place where money and things are more important than being happy. That was the beauty of growing up in the 60s; no one had much but lots of people were reasonably happy--and isn't that the point of life?

    When I was young, lots of working adults had time to pursue things they were interested in. More professionals in that era valued spending time with their families more than killing themselves at work just to 'get ahead'. Only one income was necessary to successfully raise a family.

    Now, not even two incomes is enough in many instances to have a reasonable family life, in part because costs continue to skyrocket.

    We have to change our values so that happiness is more important than 'consuming'.
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    Aug 5 2013: IN MY VIEW: Your question sounds like a desperate cry of a person who is working in a theory but its still not totally proven. I guess when ur theory is proven 4 sure u will not have to worry about this question.
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    Aug 2 2013: I'm sorry to disagree with you my friend , but mountains of evidence says, your completely wrong. Art in many forms has molded, and directed civilization for thousands of years, when physics, and chemistry, and engineering was in it's infancy. Art affects every aspect of your life, every waking moment, in politics, in advertising, in religious indoctrination, in our perception of the world. As I said before, just because you don't see it happening, doesn't mean it's influence isn't there. As you grow older, and as you learn about human psychology, you will see that art is very powerful indeed. Hopefully we can get some input from some professional artists, and psychologists to explain it's importance, it's power, and it's effects on all of us, so you may change your view. Your view in my opinion is very narrow, and simplistic i think.
    You really should look into the psychology of art, and it's history. You'll find very quickly how wrong your view is. Thanks for the exchange good luck deciding.
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    Aug 2 2013: Pursuing art in the academic arena is one of the most challenging and unrewarding pursuits I have personally experienced. I have spent as much as 20 hours a week on a drawing for a class, any of the decent supplies cost a lot, and the process of getting better can be slow and frustrating. I tried to get my department head to allow me to take more technical courses to help me to have a career post graduation but I was told that I couldn't. The degree that I have will only be useful if I make it useful with outside work. The reality is that an art degree is almost assuredly an investment that will increase artistic skill but will not increase the likelihood of being hired. I absolutely loathe that that is the case. I think viable career choices post graduation would make an art degree more encouraged and accepted in society. I wish that colleges would offer a more interdisciplinary approach that taught some technical skills that could be used artistically. To me the innovation and success of the renaissance and antiquity relates to a more integrated approach to learning. Da Vince is a perfect example of an individual who wasn't forced to pick technology or the arts.

    The book "Proust was a Neursocientist" by Jonah Lehrer was an interesting dive into the value of artistic expression as a precursor to scientific discovery.Empirical discovery is always preceded by an initial intuitive understanding. Science likes to ignore the intuition part sometimes.
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    Aug 1 2013: I did notice that in India creativity is discouraged from a very young age. In the West children go through the phase of questioning everything, yet in India children are obedient and don't get "out of line" with all the "crazy" questions. When you ask in India people about why they do things in a particular way, they don't know how to answer it for a moment, because it's not usual in India to question things.

    I think it would be very hard for an Indian community to change this, because parents control their children almost fully. Also if someone stands out, he/she is considered an outcast. The Westernization is coming though, and together with the bad, it's bringing the good too, such as more creative and independent thinking.
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      Aug 1 2013: Thank you for sharing an international perspective.

      When a few months ago we had a very eye-opening thread about the education of youth across the world, one striking theme that came out was the difference among countries in how much creativity was actually encouraged or indulged. Your observation is consistent with what came forward there about numerous countries in Asia.
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    Jul 31 2013: I would normally try and articulate a proper, and decent response to this particular question, but it will suffice to say this: MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY. The creative fields do not generally bring in enough of it to appear attractive to young people, even those who have the skill to be successful in the respective fields.
  • Jul 31 2013: It's all about balance. If promoting or imposing something too much, it will end up too much competition in that area.
  • Jul 31 2013: ...India is known for its art and culture all across the world even today...and would be till this world exist...and this is not for India only...

    I have study Maslow in my college studies and from there it was clear that hunger and hungry can't think about anything than the food...after a slavery of many centuries one came to open sunlight, it takes time...art and music have been seen and taken as a matter of entertainment, not related to mind and livelihood...and the people who have taken this as profession were not taken as a part of society and respect, expect few exceptions...

    ...the education system (though exist today) was developed to create slaves not the masters...and is one another reason ...

    ...but if the people don't have respected the art and music, schools would not have considered them as important part of their curriculum...

    ...people are earning from it now and getting respect also...and this is not in India only, but in all civilizations and nations as it is...

    With regards

    Manish Kumar Aggarwal
    The Mindfood Chef
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    Jul 30 2013: Ken Robinson lays out the real reason quite well in his TED Talks. Unfortunately, the world is addicted to industrialization. As such, not much else really matters to popular culture.
  • Jul 29 2013: This is why we have a few real artists. Although one who has talent in art wants to be an artists, there are too many obstacles in front of him/her. As you mentioned, he has to overcome parent's expectatio , hope and he himeself really have firm confidence of his ability. People taking risks and chanllenging continuously will be an great artist at the end.
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      Jul 29 2013: True.

      We could have had so much more talented artists in the world if only art was treated as equally as any other 'high standard work' and if everyone was encouraged to be what they are good in.

      Just for the record, I'm not asking everyone to be an artist, I just want equality in thought.

      Thanks for contributing Sophia.
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    Jul 29 2013: Art is taking seriously being from Bay Area that are mine business that need some kind of artistic express to caught the eye of a consumer in order walk into there store. However I do believe that traditional art is not celerbrated like it should be.
  • Jul 28 2013: I think the interest and validity given to discoveries both external and internal of ourselves is of undeterminably equal measure. I agree with Simon that there is less value given to intrinsically created expression that there is to extrinsically contextualised discoveries, that is to say, expression of the self is regarded and less discoverable and by extension a consistent framework we can knowingly connect on. There is always, perhaps a defining characteristic of art, currently no definitive reference we can use, expression is taking the blurring elements of our conscious and un-concious abstract constructs and wishing to pass some degree, through some medium, to another to interpret and to be able to gain reference of that expression through their own internal dialogue with those same aspects.

    Until we understand more of the neurological-psychological-conciousness interplays, plus greater aspects of the sociological influences on these, then perhaps they will always be regarded in a number of sense as less valuable as they are less definable and repeatable.

    I am fascinated in the cause and effect relationship between experience and expression, however the mechanics which manifest the expression may remain a mystery for a while just yet.

    With Genuine Interest,

    Paul
  • Jul 26 2013: I consider art valuable, but if you read my comment you would notice that I claimed that art isn't as effective as physics or the field of science and technological advancement in terms of views of industrialism and revolutionism, since art didn't lead to as many discoveries in benefiting humanity others don't consider it as valuable as the others. You must understand one thing if a physicist though art was more revolutionary ge wouldn't be a physicist.
  • Jul 25 2013: Its all just your exposure to only India. I've been exposed to many musicians so I can see ambition and competitiveness in it. There are billions of people on the earth. I asked myself a question as a musician enthusiast, if the shit hit the fan, who is more valuable, the person of art or the guy who did something a little more humanly beneficial. I think a doctor or an engineer would be more accepted and trusted by a group. Of course that will most likely not happen in this lifetime. I also can see art in being an engineer.

    I also think lots of parents are going to think they know whats best for their kids. A good portion of the time they are right but they can also tend to put what was or is better for them and project it onto their kids when their kids are built for another path. When it comes to work ethic required to be a doctor or engineer, I believe that the equal work ethic isn't as present in art. I see why schools and society wouldn't want to prioritize music because its meant for leisure not direct living. I think art is just a hobby to produce happiness. Like the maslow's pyramid says, physiological before happiness especially in a place that has poverty and overpopulation. I personally think there are enough musicians. Competition is hard in everything. Its all overpopulation.
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    Jul 24 2013: I recently heard that in Portugal, they have cut arts funding to a mere 0.37%. It's a real struggle to live as an artist there, there just is no profit to be made from creativity anymore. Their government views art as an expense rather than an investment: and that's the problem. Without culture we are slaves to the state: I view culture almost as part of a contract between the people an the state: the ordinary person works and pays taxes etc, but if there are no films, TV programmes, art, poems, books, or anything that is born of somebody's creative input, then what do they have to live for? Culture and the arts help us develop interests, personalities even. Who are we without that? Yes, the arts are not regarded seriously now, but Portugal may be one to watch as an example of how much we really need the arts. If only to keep up public spirits.
    • Jul 27 2013: There have also been drastic funding cuts in the arts here in The Netherlands. Thousands of musicians are losing their jobs due to orchestras having to disban, cultural subsidies diminishing and music schools and conservatories merging. Thousands of musicians are entering the job market with incredible expertise, proficiency and talent, and there are literally a hanfdul of jobs available. The ending of this sad story, is that the majority will end up receiving unemployment, which will probably end up costing the government mor money, than if they had just let the subsidies alone in the first place!
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    Jul 22 2013: Because it is not a money tree statistically or ..."needed". By that term "needed" no one needs to see an expression through a picture and not many want to stare and figure out what it means or how it relates to themselves. That is why I believe art is not taken too seriously.
    • Jul 27 2013: I agree, Vincent. As a musician, I am confronted almost daily with this misconception. Art, and in my case music, is for everyone, so why should I pay for it? If the majority of people continue to think this way, artists will no longer be able to do what they do best. A world without the arts is a poor one, indeed.
  • Jul 21 2013: If you want a field to be treated with just as much seriousness as an academic curriculum, then you have to present something more substantial then berating and screaming:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqN67bSxXVQ

    If the creative field has just as many academic rules as any other subject then teach them, but don't pose to us that you're actually teaching something if it is nothing more then ego gratification.
  • Jul 21 2013: The current societal view towards art is perfectly justified.
    For every full time writer or artist that makes a living in their craft, you've got three others making ends meet by waiting tables. It only gets worse if you factor in aspiring actors.

    Parents are right not to encourage their kids to peruse a purely artistic path. There is a reason "starving artist" is a tired trope--its based in reality.

    Granted, there is no issue with people practicing in the arts in their spare time, and once they've made a name for themselves, even quit their day jobs over it. Trying to earn a living in the arts to begin with on the other hand, is just a poorly calculated risk.

    I'm not saying the arts should be suppressed, but the current social stigmas and norms do make people think twice before perusing it as a career path. This is a good thing--it keeps people from ending up broke and out of work.
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      Jul 25 2013: Yes, its true that its a tough road for any artist.

      But I'm not asking people to take up a career as an artist even if they are good at it. I purely want more encouragement and motivation. I want it to be treated as equal as everything else. I want it to be treated as a norm. I want everyone to get a chance/try at art, just like how everyone gets a chance/training in scientific fields. Many are not in the right place in life just because they did not get a chance at life. Just want that to change and I hope to do so in the future.
  • Jul 21 2013: I would argue that art IS taken seriously. Why? Because creativity is a constant in the human psyche. The question is "Where are you looking for art?" Many people look for it in a context of custom and tradition (e.g., painting). However it is a contradiction to do so because creativity by definition operates outside of such rules and norms. With changing technology comes changing technique. Why should we expect painters to thrive (or to be supported) when so many more effective communicative media exist?

    A related thought; Any artist worth his salt will always look at his last work as obsolete.
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    Jul 19 2013: Art doesn't grow crops... (I'm actually thinking about the Maslov pyramid)

    But self-expression is important, after you have a full stomach.

    Other than that: Does art need to be taken seriously? I know I beg the question, but I don't know the answer myself...
    I like quite some works of art, and admire quite some artists. And I do think art can make you think or wonder or awe... As it can be beautiful and fascinating.

    People will stay creative and make art. And it might be interesting to get more of it in the curriculum, as learning skills enhances our ways to express ourselves.
    • Jul 22 2013: ...and self-expression enhances learning skills! It's a win-win situation.

      Some of the best works of art - literature, fine art, music - was created in times of desperation, starvation, crisis. Inspiration isn't dependent on a full stomach.
  • Jul 19 2013: actually everything has two aspects as you see in india the living and survival is really tough this maybe be due to overpopulation and the laws which our government makes though they have laws but none is implemented in a proper way.We all have to live with this because for one person its really hard to change the system
    and if you are artist you must know that there is nothing that u can get without struggle you definately need to work hard and in case you could not get it then it could be a problem for you so better is to have a backup first for you then you can think of taking risks and even in europe or USA there are lot of people who are still struggling its not just in india but its everywhere thought europe government supports jobless people but still ....think upon it
  • Jul 19 2013: Hi Simon,
    choosing a creative path is difficult in any culture, I think. I'm sure there are still many Western European or North American parents who ask their kids to 'get a real job' instead of trying to make a living in the arts.
    It is a common misunderstanding that the arts are redundant. As human beings, we need to express ourselves, or at the very least, be exposed to forms of expression.

    I have been working on an idea to integrate music into education, particularly with children. Getting an idea like this off the ground, however, takes time and effort, and not everyone is willing to see the benefits. Education has a thick outer shell that is hard to crack, no matter where you are in the world!

    As an independent musician, I find it extremely difficult to sell my music as a product for two reasons:
    1) the digital age has diminished the value of a piece of music - it is intangible, easily accessible, and so much is given away for free. How can I ask money for the professional result of years of study, when others are offering the fruits of their hobby at no cost?
    2) many people tend to consider the arts as a free commodity, something that belongs to everyone and shouldn't cost money, like the wind in the trees or a crashing wave. What these people don't realize, is how much investment an artist makes in turning their passion into a livelihood, and without supporting these artists financially, there would simply be no music or dance or art to enjoy.

    Whatever my children decide to pursue, I will support them any way I can, just as my parents have supported me in my desire to be a musician. We need to embrace what we're good at, regardless of what that is.
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    Jul 17 2013: Simon, Your right we often do not follow our dreams ... that has to do with the desire to have a roof over our head and food in the belly. When we, collectively, emerged from the Dark Ages, who was the people who made the "Masters" possible. Heads of state, and governments, the pope, etc ...

    Today the USA government has said that Core and STEM are the ONLY important elements in education. To meet educational mandates many of the Arts are being eliminated from the options provided by the school.

    Artists, poets, writers, filmmakers, etc ... are considered "free thinkers" and are enemies of a repressive government. Media in all forms are always the first to be dominated in a take over and free thinkers identified and controlled.

    Until we understand the need for the Arts and is accepted by the government this will continue. Items by the "masters" will continue to increase in value as there are no replacements being developed and even discouraged.

    A sad thing to admit.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Jul 16 2013: Considering the art community only takes art with no productive value seriously, it is the art communities fault.

    You put some paint on canvas, and it art. You put a world class painting on a chair, desk, or table and its furniture. Function should increase art’s value, not take away from it.
  • Jul 16 2013: It is all depends on how the community look at this things?

    if you want to encourage more and more students to enter the creative fields...first think how to change the community's mind?
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      Jul 17 2013: Well, thats where I'm stuck.

      I propose a different educational system, same as Sir Ken Robinson proposes.
      This will inspire young people to use their creativity, and those that are adept with art can be accepted in a better way by their equal-thinking peers. This will also pave a way for parents to realize their kids potential in an artistic field, if any.
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    Jul 16 2013: Because most people only value what produces money...and if that can't be seen clearly and directly from an artistic skill, then it is considered worthless.
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    Jul 15 2013: Here is a very good link for anyone who wants to explore this issue further.

    https://ww2.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history

    There are over 500 videos on Art History available at Khan Academy. And they cover everything. If you want to evaluate the value of Art: Go there! You can never underestimate the value of what Khan Academy brings to the web. They've chosen to develop multiple lessons on Art History. That got me curious.

    Don't bash the subject until you've spent some time reviewing the content. Here is one video that I chose to watch first: https://ww2.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history/introduction-to-art-history/the-basics/v/how-one-point-linear-perspective-works

    That ONE video really changed my perspective (my one-point-linear-perspective) on the subject.
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    Jul 15 2013: In India so much of the (traditional) art, is of a religious nature, or influenced by religious patronage. Much of modern indian art seems directed at selling products, (commercial art). Only the wealthy can afford to view, and own, non commercial high art in the Indian modern styles. There is huge competition for that market. People often disregard art as frivolous, and unimportant. As in Western tradition, art was for the consumption of the wealthy, and highly educated. They understood the symbolism, and allegory behind the works. That would have meant little to struggling working class people. In short art has the ( stain ) of ( snobbery )clinging to it, justly, or unjustly depending on your point of view. Unless your well off, it is a risky, and stressful existence. I would suggest that the highest level of art training available to you, would help your chances of avoiding starvation considerably. Don't worry about all that silly childish hog wash about having your spirit, and creativity crushed. "That's garbage!" A good art school will give you the knowledge of light, and physics, and philosophy, and the tools to create great art on a grand scale. The requirements of scientific study, and a broad education are your best friends. Making art is in the end engineering thoughts after all. Start first and foremost by making art every single day of your life, your bound to get better, and better. "Peace"
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      Jul 15 2013: Yes Peter everything you said is agreeable.

      I know that good art school are prevalent but its just that I want everyone to get the chance at what they want to be. Art being the least preferable in our society.
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        Jul 15 2013: Simon Peter Debbarma. Let me tell you something. You have a good mind, and a good heart. I know that ,because you think of the aspirations of others, not simply your own skin. That is the path one want's to walk. However; you must first make sure that you personally do not suffer starvation, or become a burden on your family, and society. That requires you, to prepare yourself, as we say in America to "bring home the bacon $$$". Unless your planning to become an ascetic, living on the street accepting alms, you must make "money". When you have secured your own survival ,you will have the opportunity to help many people achieve their dreams. "Two drowning men ,can't save each other." They must each swim to shore on their own, or drown. If you want people to make art, just start making art, right this minute. "Now!" Make art anywhere, and everywhere you see a blank canvas, or open space, simple techniques learned on line in a few hours can teach you to paint murals or make sculptures. Start close to home, start small, and work your way up. Next thing you know some crazy rich people will be paying you thousands of dollars to do murals on their buildings. It happens all the time. Get your artist friends to join in. You never know where it will take you. Now get busy! Go ! Get out ! create, or shrivel up and fade away, it's your choice.
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          Jul 16 2013: I'm actually stuck right here. Its like a dilemma.

          I wanna do so many things. I want to help people achieve their dreams. I'm constantly planning different initiatives and schemes to help people decide their future,showcase their talents, use their creativity. And then,sometimes I sit and wonder when my own dreams will be fulfilled if I do all these things for others now.

          I'm a musician by profession, I produce and DJ dance music. I dream to travel and DJ around the world,and in all the electronic dance festivals over the year. I wanna produce and direct movies.

          So,right now I'm stuck at a crossroad.

          On one hand,I have a life of doing things for others. A self-less life. But my whole music career is at stake. I can't do both because being a social change agent requires full dedication and I don't know if I should do it now or later in my life.

          And on the other hand, is living my dream. Doing the things I've always wanted to do in life. Being me.

          What should I do???
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    Jul 15 2013: Art is a subject, an often gifted subject, but haven't benefit humanity as much as Physics or Mathematics, therefore, making art less of a serious subject
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      Jul 16 2013: Whooooooooooooowwwwwww hold on there pardner. Art, is as serious as a heart attack, no matter what anyone thinks. It is literally the key to vast power, influence, and control in societies since the dawn of civilization itself. Are you kidding ? Are you serious ? Please tell me you don't believe such silliness. Art influences, and controls your life every day. Just because your not aware that it's controlling you, doesn't mean it isn't happening. I'll give you an example. Young people standing next to a very exclusive store not far from my home. Fifty young people waiting like vultures to buy sneakers, or basketball shoes of a particular name, and style, to show off to their friends, or sell for a huge markup profit. Either way it was art that gave those shoes that special value. ADVERTISING my friend. The question is what's more valuable, the Shoes, or the art that sold those shoes? "No" my friend, art is as powerful as an earthquake, or flood when it's done right. Take my word for it, art matters a lot, not only as important as engineering, but the mother of all engineering, and science.
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      Jul 16 2013: Peter you know this kid Andrew is the person with the highest IQ or something. I don't even think he can be kidding about his views on this. I don't know why Andrew thinks so that art is not valuable but he is wrong. Andrew you may have done amazing things in the fields of physics but you should also realize that art is as important as anything. I'm not being pro-art i'm being honest here. Physicists have the general ignorance of anything besides their subject of interest. Listen Andrew if you say that art has not contributed to humanity then you are being ignorant of the world around you. On similar grounds even I could say that science has not contributed anything. ( but thats not true because I'm a student of science too). Anyway Peter is absolutely right about what he said above.

      Actually guess what Andrew! I started this thread because of people like you that are ignorant of things that matter to others although it might not matter to you at all. Whenever I read your statement I break into laughter because of what you said. Please change your views buddy.
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        Jul 16 2013: I consider art valuable, but if you read my comment you would notice that I claimed that art isn't as effective as physics or the field of science and technological advancement in terms of views of industrialism and revolutionism, since art didn't lead to as many discoveries in benefiting humanity others don't consider it as valuable as the others. You must understand one thing if a physicist though art was more revolutionary ge wouldn't be a physicist.
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          Jul 16 2013: I can think of plenty of examples where art led the way, particularly into revolutions, where ideas promulgated among the creative and intellectual types lead to new philosophies or political systems. The basic questions of what it means to be human, what are our inherent rights, once debated in the harmless realms of academia engendered political systems and social theories.

          Einstein himself placed a tremendous importance on the role of imagination and creativity, skills you don't acquire running calculations or collecting data. His biggest breakthroughs, which are the biggest of the big, came from him doing simple thought experiments. He just imagined what it would be like, say, if you were in a train and how fast someone outside of it might look they were traveling relative to oneself.

          Art is often so far out in front of "physics of the field of science and technological advancement" that it may be interpreted in a narrow scope not to be as effective, when it reality it is leading the way and has lead the way so far ahead that it's no longer even seen by some, unfortunately, as part of the advance at all.
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    Jul 15 2013: I love photography but by no means am I a photographer. My father always told me, if I wanted to pursue photography, that when I turned 18 I'd be kicked out to find a place to live and I could do whatever I wanted but that I’d be doing on my own.
    He said that you can have a hobby and a job, just don't make a job your hobby. In my free time, I go around and take pictures of scenery; the city, whatever sparks my interest. Maybe someday I'll make some money off my photos but it's just something that makes me happy that I do to keep my life balanced.
    It does make me a little bit upset when young adults choose to go to "art school." Wasting thousands of dollars to be "taught" what art is. As the author of this post stated, art is personal, ect. ect. Like my father said to me, if you want to pursue art, go for it. Just realize that you are in the real world now and you'll be paying for these expenses. He would never send me to art school.
    I believe that there are young adults that "pursue" art and especially the young adults here in America, end up having thousands of dollars’ worth of debt, with a ton of narcotics pumped into their system, showing very little for it.
    I won't say that I don't support art; I actually love searching for up and coming artists and hold a couple of pieces in my house today. What I don't understand are, the individuals who attend a university to "gain art skills." If you got it you got it, if you don't you don't.
    It's a simple explanation why art is risky, supply and demand. The demand for art is limited and the supply of good and horrible artists is way too high. Everyone wants to make money doing what they love, that is why art is appealing, acting, musicians and athletes. All of these people are a big part of society, the problem is the pipe dream…is exactly that, a small pipe with many people trying to pile in.
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      Jul 15 2013: I too believe that art school is a waste of money since most students end up in debt. Art is self taught. You could be taught basics in college and how to operate and stuff but its hard for a teacher to teach a student an unique style. Everyone should have an unique style and it is best discovered by ones own self. And you did the right thing. Its that attitude in you that I really like. Its wonderful to hear your love of photography.

      Exactly, the pipe dream with many people piling in is quite a problem. Not everyone will be successful in their field of art but then again,its nice to see them strive, enjoying what they do and not giving up. What we need, is 'a larger stage'.
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        Jul 15 2013: Why pay for Art School. There is so much available on the web. Check out my post above.

        https://ww2.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history

        It is always good to bring some balance to these debates.
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          Jul 16 2013: Yes Juan we are aware of the various resources - altogether the Internet!
          Most of my education is done online. I learn various subjects online and most of my school education is completed online and supplemented by online websites. I end up learning something new everyday.

          I have a list of educational websites. I shall try to provide it here someday.

          I just started a FB page recently: www.facebook.com/EverythingYouNeedToKnowIRL
          I post anything I find interesting here on the page. Everyone is welcome. If anyone wants to be an admin and post stuff there you; you are more than welcome. Just give me a message.
  • Jul 15 2013: Give parents a break - they want their children to have a good life with minimum money worries. Many artists can not support themselves with their art and need another occupation. Success in art to me means making an emotional connection with the audience and some artist try to do that without the foundation. These artists may be successful for a while but usually fade away or are never successful.
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    Jul 15 2013: As someone interested in STEM fields, I think creativity should be pushed more in these fields rather than trying to get students into pure creativity fields (art or other similar fields—you can tell I don't research much into these fields). Especially in engineering, I feel there is much room for creativity, since you are creating something and design has a lot to do with creating anything. If someone is somehow born or has the innate characteristics and attitude set just for an artist, I don't expect or think they should try to go into a different field. I just think that if someone is creative, they shouldn't only consider a art or art-like field. I do agree wiht you and Ken Robinson that creativity needs to be encouraged futher in schools, but when the change does come—as I'm sure it will—let's make sure that within STEM courses creativity is pushed just as much as within artistic courses.
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      Jul 15 2013: What if I said everyone is capable of being an artist?

      I think the one common trait among artists is that they all are true to themselves. What does that tell you about art?
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      Jul 15 2013: Excellent point. Creativity is a large component of research in mathematics and physics as well, the more so the more advanced one gets.

      And not all artists and musicians actually show much creativity in their work.
      • Jul 15 2013: Very true, my senior thesis was on the Banach Tarski paradox which proved the volume/mass of the sun is equal to the mass/volume of a pea (minor corollary of the paradox) 8>))
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          Jul 15 2013: High school students and those who end their formal educations with high school have often not had the opportunity to experience the creative dimension of these fields.
      • Jul 15 2013: Unfortunately true but it can be done with the right approach. When I was in High School, i worked on Cantor's proof that the set of integers was equal to the set of rationals. and that the set of integers was the aleph null set of infinite sets.

        My class also tackled the 4 color problem which has since been solved and the perfect number problem which still has not been solved. A high school student was actually published on the .perfect number problem many years ago.

        All these are within the realm of High School Students. and if they are really ambitious they could be introduced to Riemannian Geometry.
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          Jul 15 2013: I know it can be done but often isn't. TED, on the other hand, features large numbers of speakers who do creative things of great significance in STEM fields.

          As you are obviously of mathematical inclination, you have probably noticed that many people go to college expecting to be math majors because of their facility with algorithms in their math through calculus and then cannot move further in pure math in college and beyond, because that requires a type a creativity that is less common and less well-developed. Richard Feynman called it 'creativity in a straitjacket."
      • Jul 15 2013: Think Feynman was referring to science or theoretical physics. theoretical math in my mind is an art form not a science, limited by the 10 basic axioms.

        And I agree, many theoretical math majors switch to applied math which is closer to what they like.
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          Jul 15 2013: I know he was, but the principle is the same. One needs to exercise creativity and ingenuity within boundaries rather than getting a blank canvas and painting any subject in any color combination.
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    Jul 15 2013: Simon, please notice that Feyisayo, who commented for you below, is a professional film-maker and director. Here you have a wonderful chance of picking the brain of someone who made that choice for himself.
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      Jul 15 2013: lol I saw one of his films, was just curious.
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    Jul 14 2013: Economics rules ..... So everyone looks which investment gives better and confirmed return .
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      Jul 14 2013: We're talking about a child's or a person's life here. Not a stock market option.

      We need to understand the child and the child should be able to follow his or her dreams. Isn't a child's happiness in life the biggest reward for a parent. Here, art is not always a good stable source of income but there are soo many that have left(or rather lost) their passion for art and creative works. There are many that loved what they were good at but could not pursue it as a career due to various reasons. And plus, some people like challenges and a challenged job like creative jobs where you need to be constantly creative which in return will give an earning when you perform well. It keeps the mind sharp. I don't see why parents have a hard time understanding it, whereas they are expected to be smart decision makers.
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        Jul 14 2013: That's the fallacy .... Again Economics rules . Education ( actually certification ) system is ruled employability in other words how much return it can ensure . So sad reality it resembles very closely Stock Market Options ....
        The current certification system ( known as education system ) was designed to supply enough and required raw materials for post industrial revolution market need.

        Well you definitely have the right disagree the reality explained here !!
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        Jul 15 2013: I tend to agree with my friend Salim in as much as 'Science' has triumphed over 'Arts' in common life by its standardization and reach within life. Science has standard fruits that we can enjoy equally without any formal training on appreciation of it.
        Arts are exclusive. Its appreciation is for the connoisseur. That's how it has come to be.
        But that is not necessarily true. Art can come from labour, work and struggle as well. It can be for mass too. Unfortunately we have chosen the exclusive and elitist stand of arts.
        For one who knows s/he will excel in arts its alright. For one who knows s/he will excel in science its alright too. But there are a vast number of kids who did not hear the call or heard the call for both. Who decides for them?
        Economics does.
        I have difficulty agreeing to the proposition that it is easier for an average kid to make a career in Arts compared to Science. I think this is true all over the world.
        Moreover, creativity is not the sole territory of arts.
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          Jul 15 2013: Of course, I agree with everything that you have to say on the topic. I myself am a science enthusiast. I studied science for a year in high school, last year. My whole life was filled with science and its various wonders by which I was fascinated beyond measure. But recently, I realized my mistakes in my decisions and I also realized what I wanted to do in life. I had to change my course in life. People did not welcome my choice well. And that bugged me a lot.

          Basically, I just want to change the mentality of people. I want people to use their talents. I want people to appreciate the creative people without being judgemental. I don't to live or stay near low-minded people that don't understand the true functioning of the world.

          Its easier for an average kid to make a career in Arts(i'm talking about the creative fields and not the Arts stream in Indian education system) rather than in Scientific sectors. What I have noticed is that most of the kids that fail to learn science as easily as other students have talents that are dormant. They hardly use those talents. Creativity is dying and no one is doing anything. Well, I hope to change that in the coming years.
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          Jul 15 2013: I think you know that there are many people who are very creative and have awesome talents but are stuck in odd jobs. I want to end that so that they can also have a happy life doing something they enjoy,something they can be proud of, something they can cherish all their life.
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        Jul 15 2013: How certain are you that creativity is dying? Is there any real evidence to support this belief?
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          Jul 15 2013: I can't really prove it to you now. But I'll try to get my hands on some statistics or research paper.

          I know many people that are not using their talents. Students that don't use their creativity loose it with time. I don't think you need proof for that. When they don't use their talents, it goes to waste. That's how people stop being creative after a certain time.

          Think of something you were good in but not anymore. Why did it happen? I bet it was because you stopped it. It can be any activity. Every activity needs constant practice and the person needs motivation.

          I can't stress enough that schools do not focus on creativity. I suppose you know that.

          As a result, students are not being creative anymore.

          I tried my best to prove it verbally. It ifs not enough, I shall try to get scientific proof.
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        Jul 15 2013: Oh, I absolutely know none of us can possibly use all our talents. You do not need to find evidence of that!
  • Jul 14 2013: People aren't born to be good at sth,once you want to be an expert in any field,hard work and perseverance are needed in mastering them.I think it isn't parents don't support children to focus on what they are interested in,but they aren't confident on themselves to support children,as well as children themselves not sure what their futures are,how many people can choose an aim to keep it in their whole lives?
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    Jul 13 2013: This question is easy.

    No one understands it. It's too complex to grasp for most, even me.

    When people look at modern art, expect them to go "What the hell am I looking at."
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      Jul 13 2013: Isn't that what art is supposed to do?

      Art is meant to question your mind. Its expressing things from your brain and soul that can't be put out easily unless by artistic means like poetry, film, music, paintings, sculptures, etc.

      And also,isn't that mystical complexity supposed to draw more people towards art than repel?

      Most probably, its because art is not a sure shot way to earn a living,unless you are talented enough.

      Is not that the reason? Or is it because of what you say?

      Can you back up your statements about it being not taken seriously because its too complex?
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        Jul 13 2013: See, I didn't entirely know that. Ok, well I did actually lol, but most people don't.

        Most people don't understand that THAT IS the point of art. Art is so hard to define because it can mean different things to different people, and people can find Art from anywhere. If you ask me, that's what makes art so special. It's freeform. It can be anything people want it to be because literally, anything, could mean anything, you know what I mean?

        And you know what, what ISN'T art? And I bet you someone in the world will disagree with your answer to this question.

        "And also,isn't that mystical complexity supposed to draw more people towards art than repel?"

        I'm afraid it repels. Most people find it hard to engage in what they don't understand. If you've ever been in a conversation and someone tried to explain quantum physics to you in Russian and Chinese, would you be more drawn to this complexity or would you be repelled?
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          Jul 13 2013: Good comeback James.

          And art differs from person to person, thats what makes art so personal sometimes. There have been times when we are soo attached to a certain we song, its like it was written by myself, for me.

          So asking what isn't art will create equal and opposite responses and criticism as to what I might have to say about it.

          And yeah,if someone was talking about Quantum Physics in another language, I would not appreciate that. Although as a person with linguistic interests, I would be attracted to their languages - the harsh yet subtle Russian and fast but charming Chinese(yes,I'm aware that there is no language such as Chinese).

          But I'm talking here also about the problem with parents and them not accepting art as an option. Is it just the older generation that does this or do you think we might do it as well?
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        Jul 14 2013: "So asking what isn't art will create equal and opposite responses and criticism as to what I might have to say about it."

        Yes!

        "And yeah,if someone was talking about Quantum Physics in another language, I would not appreciate that. Although as a person with linguistic interests, I would be attracted to their languages - the harsh yet subtle Russian and fast but charming Chinese(yes,I'm aware that there is no language such as Chinese). "

        Lol, that's pretty cool that you can still find something to engage on or gain interest in. I guess you're more willing to find something of interest out of most complex.

        "But I'm talking here also about the problem with parents and them not accepting art as an option. Is it just the older generation that does this or do you think we might do it as well?"

        So again, they and most people just don't believe in art because they don't understand it. They believe in Math, and English because they're practical and their values are obvious. But, no one has shown them art's value and impact.

        Has anyone told these parents that...
        Art teaches the mind?
        Art teaches to think differently?
        Art teaches innovation?
        Art teaches skills in tackling ambiguity?
        Art teaches engagement?
        Art teaches interest?

        These are all incredibly needed skills in today's society. Math doesn't teach you how to use the left side of the brain (or is it the right?). Art IMPROVES critical and deep thinking in all other areas. If kids don't get exposed to this, then we are denying them the opportunity of this education, potentially losing diversity in the future generations of society. Denial of opportunity is the most destructive thing you can do to a kid's education.

        But I have yet to see someone from the art community make most of these parents care. Art is useful to them, art community people just need to make a convincing case.

        You and I clearly see the value in art, and I'm sure all Ted people do too. So how can you make them care about art?
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          Jul 14 2013: "...no one has shown them art's value and impact."
          That might just be what the problem. Maybe if everyone somehow understood art and its value, then maybe more children would be encouraged.

          Yes, I agree with you on whatever you have to say.

          I just realized something, Children with real artistic capabilities and creativity somehow survive all the negativity and discouragement by thinking of ways to be who they want to be and not giving up. Maybe thats what keep real artists alive. Their self-confidence.

          How to make others care about art?
          I have not really thought about a solution. Most people are not born with an open mind or are ignorant. Helping them have an open mind will be difficult to do. What might hep is educating them.
          We need to change the education system. Somewhere where all the ideas of our wonderful TED community is combined to form the perfect education system, which should also be cheap or free. A system where students are encouraged to choose their own paths or guided by the non-traditional methods to a career where the said student can earn bucks and most importantly, enjoy their jobs. A system where values are taught alongside studies.

          Ken Robinson was right, first we have to tackle the education problem.
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        Jul 14 2013: "I just realized something, Children with real artistic capabilities and creativity somehow survive all the negativity and discouragement by thinking of ways to be who they want to be and not giving up. Maybe thats what keep real artists alive. Their self-confidence. "

        Wow. Just wow.

        I should really keep a list of these amazing quotes lol. Being self-confident makes you feel like you can do anything (with reason of course though). That's how it makes me feel at least. :)

        "I have not really thought about a solution. Most people are not born with an open mind or are ignorant. Helping them have an open mind will be difficult to do. What might hep is educating them."

        Exactly! In the end, it all comes down to. How can you pitch your idea and make people care? That, is HOW you will educate them. That is what a salesman does. The art community must create a good sales pitch.

        "Ken Robinson was right, first we have to tackle the education problem."
        I'm glad more people are starting to realize this problem, we can thank Ted for their help in facilitating us to have more people realize this issue.
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          Jul 14 2013: How to tackle this problem,you say?

          I'm not sure, although I say I should start a new educational system.

          I'll take off some free time this year and think of a solution.

          Last year, the TED prize was given to TEDCity2.0. I'm going to try create a new practical system along with Ken Robinson and try to tackle this head-on practically. I'll try to get the TED Prize. Hopefully, my plan won't fail me.

          Maybe start with something like a "TED Institute of Creative Studies".A chain of world-class modern education institutes for the brilliant and the creative. An institute where all of TED's teachings and values will be taught in a fun interactive fashion.
          And meanwhile, a cirriculum based on TED Institute will be made which will be somehow applied to every school around the world.

          Sir ken Robinson's dream would come true and maybe,just maybe, I could be a part of it.
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        Jul 14 2013: You know what, I'd like to directly help with that.

        I know exactly what you guys need to do, but I'm afraid I have been helping a lot of people and trying to keep up with my job will be tough.

        Hmm... I wonder...

        Alright, the very least I can do is give you guys a direction of focus.

        "How to tackle this problem,you say?"

        First you need to understand your audience. What's the best way to let your voices be heard by the audience.

        Don't schools have PTA meetings? Who runs that meeting? Try to make the RUNNER of the PTA meeting think your idea is amazing, and he/she will give you 5-10 minutes to let your voice be heard. Just like a Ted Talk.

        So to convince the guy in charge of holding these meetings, which control what goes on at schools, you need a MINDBLOWING story. But he/she won't listen to your story if he/she doesn't have time. Engage in a conversation with that person or something and talk about interests. Make friends with that person. Have some beers, I dunno lol.

        And eventually, the story you present to him/her will come naturally and he/she will DEFINITELY consider it.

        But all you need is a compelling story. I could make one, but that will be from my voice, not yours. How about this, you guys send me videos of whatever you guys come up with, and I'll give feedback. I'll MAKE time for this shit yo!


        Anyways, don't pay that much attention to the content like who's that person who runs the PTA meetings or whatever
        .
        Pay attention to how I approached this.
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          Jul 14 2013: Thanks for the ideas.
          I'll think of something and post tomorrow. I'm a little busy at the moment. See ya later James and thanks/
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        Jul 14 2013: That's awesome!

        But I'm hella busy throughout the week too. It is SO intense here x_X

        But I'll probably come around looking at it on Saturday. I think I'm gonna try to reserve half day each saturday for ted.
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          Jul 14 2013: Sounds awesome.

          Also, are you a student or do you have a job? how old are you?

          I'm 17 and I'm in grade 11 btw.
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        Jul 14 2013: Wow, so young. I'm 22, just graduated from Georgia Tech, and just got a badass job at IBM.

        Taking action is something that warrants respect.

        You got this!

        More people just need better direction, so that's what I think I'll be doing for a while. I know what's up ;)

        The fact that you're still a kid gives you an edge. Adults like to see this kind of quality in kids, you'll get admiration and respect if you pull this off with a bang. Well shit, speaking of bang, you have Social Media at your fingertips.
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          Jul 14 2013: I'm young for you. But I bet at my age even you felt old.

          its feels soo good to know that I'll be getting my driver's license in 2 months when I turn 18.

          Anyway, back to topic, what Ken Robinson said is true. We are in need of an Education Revolution. Maybe like other revolutions back in the day like the Industrial Revolution and the Technological revolution, our Educational Revolution will be the game changer. I'm really excited of the prospects and I want to be its leader, at least in my country.

          I'll create a draft of plans and possible actions. I'lll send it over to you when its done. And maybe we can work together on it.

          And congratulations on graduating from one of the best colleges in USA and getting a fine job at IBM. Kudos to you.
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          Jul 14 2013: I don't know where we are headed. but I hope we can come up with something and be the change that the world needs.

          I'm very excited.
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        Jul 14 2013: "Maybe like other revolutions back in the day like the Industrial Revolution and the Technological revolution, our Educational Revolution will be the game changer. I'm really excited of the prospects and I want to be its leader, at least in my country."

        This. Is mindblowing material you can use for the pitch. An example, maybe you were just warming up, eh?

        It's pretty damn impressive that you realized the importance of Education at 17. I realized it only last summer.

        "I'll create a draft of plans and possible actions. I'll send it over to you when its done. And maybe we can work together on it."

        Our schedules have to be different, just send me Ted PM's and I'll try to find time to respond when I can.

        "I don't know where we are headed. but I hope we can come up with something and be the change that the world needs.

        I'm very excited."

        I think I got a pretty clear vision :)