Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Revenge of the Artists

Traditionally, education’s sole purpose is to prepare you for a life in a factory. Factories don’t need creative thinkers, they need labourers who can operate heavy machinery and follow instructions. So it is not in the public education’s interest to teach their students how to break new ground.

Here’s the issue.

Every human being is born as a highly unique individual. Each one of us has different strengths, talents and gifts—which are all manifestations of intelligence. Rather than help cultivate what makes us unique, our education systematically destroys it. If your talents do not help you pass the standardised school tests, the educational system does not consider them worth having. What is worth having, is a developed analytical and academic mind. This isn’t to say that schools, and the teachers that run them, go as far as to forbid you from pursuing non academic activities, but you aren’t sufficiently rewarded for them either.

Because the academic mind is the focus, those who naturally lean towards more creative (and more complex to measure) endeavours are left feeling dumb and miserable. And those that have gone through the system, come out of it believing that the arts aren’t as valuable as the sciences.

But art is equally important as science.

When you practice science, you’re trying to get somewhere. You’re seeking a solution to a problem. Most scientists are, therefore, acting on a sense of purpose and urgency. It’s usually considered a very serious affair that mustn’t be taken lightly.

Artistic endeavours are not pursued out of necessity. For instance, you don’t work a guitar—you play a guitar. Although a guitarist may work to finish a song, the fun is in playing with the strings. Similarly, the dancer doesn’t graciously move around the room to reach an appointment. Art, then, isn’t concerned with reaching a specific destination. Art is fundamentally playful.

Our education gives us the impression that we shouldn’t be playing. It teaches us, rather, that we should be working toward something. Toward success. And possibly helping others to achieve the same. However, once we have created our own paradise, we’ve reached our destination. There’s nowhere left to go. Nothing to do. Except play.

While the sciences teach us to achieve, the arts teach us to play.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach