Instead, he expressed his thankfulness of being able to escape the trap unwittingly laid for us in our education system and society at large. This isn’t a new trap, but one that’s been around for a while. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry even mentioned it in his novella, The Little Prince, back in 1943:
The grown-ups’ response, this time, was to advise me to lay aside my drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, and devote myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar. That is why, at the age of six, I gave up what might have been a magnificent career as a painter. I had been disheartened by the failure of my Drawing Number One and my Drawing Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
For some reason, from the time we are young, many of us are pushed away from creative endeavors to those dealing more with “matters of consequence”1. This is well meaning, but has a dangerous long-term effect: the loss of creativity. The problem is, creativity takes many forms and manifests itself in many different ways. Every discipline, every job benefits from creativity, if it is allowed to blossom and bloom.
Two important things Chase said were:
- We are all hardwired for creativity–we are all creative.
- We owe it to ourselves and our culture to find creativity and allow creativity to thrive in all disciplines.
Here is his keynote:
He covers several different topics, and there are too many “applause moments” to list in this short post. So, I’m only going to dwell on one of them.
Chase talks about University of New Mexico professor Rex Jung. In one of Rex’s papers, he puts forth the idea that creative activities create more creativity [Chase’s paraphrasing]. In other words, just as shooting pictures reprogrammed Chase’s brain to see the world differently, by doing any creative activity we increase our own creative prowess. We all need to embrace a creative craft.
That craft could be painting, singing, dancing, cooking, crafting, sewing, scrap-booking, decorating, writing, playing a musical instrument or any other number of creative endeavors.
Do we need to be good at it? No, it’s a hobby (though hopefully with practice we’ll get better).
The important thing is we exercise our creativity to help it grow. We are trying to unlock that child-like creativity that was locked away so long ago. It is still there, hidden and possibly afraid. It’s been attacked by the world before, and those memories still hurt. But, if we bring it out, protect it and shield it, it will grow and strengthen. Then, it will not only bring happiness to our lives, but also support us in all of our other doings.
Embrace creative craft!
1 This is an important reference from The Little Prince (Chapter 7 and throughout). Seriously, if you’ve never read this book, you need to do so. Take a trip down to your public library, or buy, read and share it: