TED Conversations

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?

Topics: art creativity

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  • 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."

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