There’s this TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools are destroying creativity. I agree with him strongly. Our educational institutions are thoroughly career-oriented because most people are under the impression that getting a job and earning a lot of money are the two main purposes of life. Sure, they’re important, but by no means are they the most important goals you have to achieve in life. We’re being forced to use just the left side of our brain when it comes to education, and our creativity, passion and imagination are being suppressed. Anywhere you go, you’ll find the arts down at the bottom of the subject hierarchy, far below languages, maths, the sciences and the humanities. Why? Because dance won’t get you anywhere. Because algebra is more important that singing. Because drama is just a pastime and cannot be considered as a real subject. Because painting does not make you the CEO of a large company.
This is a subject I feel very strongly about but a recent meeting with a doctor, who was a total stranger to me, made me feel compelled to write the following:
OPEN LETTER TO A DOCTOR I MET A FEW MONTHS AGO-
Dear Mr. My-Father’s-Incredibly-Smart-Colleague,
You asked me what I’m planning for my future, and I told you I wanted to have a future of full-time writing.
You, a total stranger, then proceeded to give me a long lecture about how writing is just a hobby and it won’t get me anywhere. You had the nerve to compare me with a relative of yours who used to want to be a flight attendant and ended up studying microbiology or genetic engineering or something, which I respect but, I am not her.
You told me I should just specialise in a field which would get me a decent job, and then write whenever I’m free, just for fun. Your argument? Writing would not make me successful or rich or powerful.
Dude, I don’t care about any of those. I want to write. Do you have a problem with that?
I don’t know how many books you’ve read in your entire life, but judging from your ignorance, I think you need to read some more. You’re a doctor. You should know that you would be nothing today without those books you had your nose buried in for years in high school and university.
FUN FACT: Those books were written by writers. They didn’t just appear out of nowhere, you know.
And if a career and money are so important to you, what do you think of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling and John Green and Veronica Roth and Rick Riordan and all those amazing writers out there you probably haven’t even bothered paying attention to? In case you haven’t noticed, they’re more successful than you are, and it didn’t go to their heads.
Not everyone can be a doctor or an engineer or a scientist, you know. I agree that these people can change the world, but so can writers and artists and actors, among many other career options (since that’s all you seem to be interested in) in the world of arts.
For once, I must quote the popular hashtag, #YOLO: you only live once. Why spend a lifetime doing something you hate just to earn money, instead of doing something productive which you actually enjoy. Life is just too short to be wasted on worrying about success and power.
You’re not “telling me what’s best for me”. You’re telling me that my talent is not useful or good enough, and that I should try something which I’m not even good at. If I was a weaker person, you would’ve destroyed the dream I had cherished since I was a 4-year old. If this generation was weaker, you would’ve destroyed a whole line of creative people who wanted to break out of mainstream ideas.
Our current educational system is following the same pattern introduced during the Industrial Revolution. Back then, all they needed were scientists and doctors and engineers and inventors. We still do, but that was the 18th century. This is the 21st century. Please, start living in the present, or at least let the new generation live in the present. Don’t try kill our creativity off.
An aspiring author
This letter expresses my opinions only. I DO NOT mean that the like of doctors and scientists are not talented or creative; I am just trying to show how talents that are generally thought to be less important can be highly productive. You are welcome to share your opinions below. No hate, please.