Creativity is forgotten, but it doesn’t have to be

Carter Steger, Assistant Editor

Children are praised for their imagination and innocence, not yet having experienced the hardships of “growing up” when we leave that playful innocence and creativity behind in the interest of being an adult.  

The truth is you do not have to leave creativity behind at all, regardless of where you are in life or whatever job you currently hold. Being creative is such a crucial part of what makes us human. Look back thousands of years ago to cave paintings made by our ancestors and the endlessly diverse art styles of different cultures across the globe. It gives us identity as people.  

Today, our society is not built on foundations that allow creativity to flourish. This notion starts young. When a school district must make budget cuts, programs deemed least essential like Fine Arts, music, band, and art are often the first to go. Cutting those robs children of their expression at a young age. This time for children is so crucial to finding out who they really are, what their identity is going to be, and what interests they have.  

The attitude held by many Americans that praises and glorifies businessmen puts down those who prioritize their creative spirit over the need to accumulate exotic wealth. A child who wants to pursue life as an actor or writer is not given the same respect as one who wants to have a business degree. We need to ask ourselves, are these values truly things that should be held in such high regard by society? We should not be pushed to throw away our creative aspirations simply because they do not align with a business-driven society.  

Going against the grain resonates deeply with artist movements of the past such as Dada, Surrealism, and many others. Dada served as a predecessor to Surrealism, first forming as a response to World War I. Intellectuals of the time were unhappy with world leaders jumping into conflict. Dadaists embraced the notion that if our leaders and society’s brightest thinkers led to war that we should reject them. The very notion of war to the Dadaists was absurd. Instead, Dadaists cultivated a culture of art that was itself absurd. It broke societal norms at the time in protest of society’s expectations. Expectations of nationalism, warfare, and what they marked as unintelligent leadership. 

The Surrealism movement could be called Dada’s older more mature brother. Rather than being an absurd response to political and world events Surrealism focuses on bringing together our dreams and realities. Credited artist and thinker Andre Berton oversaw the transformation of Dada into what is now known as Surrealism. He gave it a definition and expectations writing a lengthy Surrealist Manifesto. Surrealism encourages us to break away from what we know as “real life” and embrace the meshing of our unconscious mind and reality. This has led to many beautiful art and literature creations.  

They teach us to fully embrace our creativity even when society does not drive us to do so. Cities filled with the dull gray of concrete would not be as exciting if it were not for artists in the world. Whether it is designing the ads you see or murals on the sides of buildings, creativity and art are alive in today’s world. Just as the renowned Surrealist author and painter Leonora Carrington said, “Painting is a need, not a choice.”  

As a society, we must nurture the innocence that flowed so freely as a child and let it thrive. Not enough can be said about how liberating embracing the creative spirit is. “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one,” said actress Stella Adler. Life will always have challenges, and some will come at the most inconvenient times, but do not overlook the benefits of expression.  

Christianne Strang, a professor of neuroscience at the university of Alabama at Birmingham, said “Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world.” Even people in the medical fields believe we should embrace our creativity if it means going against the expectations of society. It allows us to really relate to the people and environment that we exist in every single day, and it can help us relieve ourselves of stress in a world that never sleeps.  

Being creative does not require grand paintings, legendary novels, or spotlight performances. Instead, it is just a reminder to not abandon that childlike innocence that allowed us to scribble freely or draw on the walls of our parents’ house.