prepared to be radical

My sons went to a number of schools. In England and in South Africa, in Pretoria and Cape Town, private and government, traditional and art-centred. They all had one thing in common: they were designed in various ways to stifle creativity and lateral thinking.

I remember attending parent-teacher meetings where time and again I was told "he asks too many questions" and each time it left me despairing for the future. Why is it that we take young, enquiring minds and stuff them into uniform boxes?

Why can't teachers understand that it is the individuals who dared to ask "why" and "what if" and "why not" that brought us out of the caves, and will bring us into a brighter future if we let them.

Maybe that's why, even in adulthood, creativity is looked at as something strange. Creative, lateral thinkers seem to take the role of medieval court jesters. Society likes to have a few of them around, but they must stay in their rigidly prescribed place.

There are few things that irritate me as much as people who say "oh, but you're arty" as if they need to categorise me to make an excuse for my behaviour.

I was asked recently if I would wear a suit for a meeting, and while my response was - I think - polite, I was ready to scream. I don't own a suit, I don't want to be a corporate clone, I think people who follow fashion regardless of whether it suits them are just sad. (Just think of all those too fat tummies looking like that aerosol expanded foam that builders use, between hip high jeans and skimpy tops).

When I was growing up, my mother's favourite answers to my "why not" questions was "because it's just not done".

By who? And who made the rules anyway?

It is projects like the sliding house in this video that restore my faith in humanity. Watch it, and I hope you'll be inspired to believe that the way things are is not necessarily the only way things can be.

I hope it sparks some creative, lateral thinking. I hope that something happens in your day to blast you out of your box. And if it does, please tell me about it. I need some hope.

PS... here's a link to Julie who was also inspired by the video


julochka said…
i wrote a very short post about this today as well..i just can't stop thinking about it. and we used the same quote for our title "prepared to be radical." ha! i linked to you so i hope people will come and read your thoughts on it! i'm still in the gut reaction phase and haven't really been able to articulate all that i think is so awesome about it!
Leonie e. Brown said…
I like that! How true, it's all I heard my whole life as well. And the corporates are the worst. They want your mind and ideas but not the way u express yourself in your thinking and speaking. U have to corporate speak and not just say...Lets cut the crap and get to the nitty gritty! what is the is 20 different solutions fpr u!
beatnik said…
Gret post Lynne. I've just explored your blog after you entered the competition I'm running on mine :) I totally 'get' this post. My son's school is totally freaking me out and I quit corporate last year and opened my shop. It aint all sunshine and roses but at least I am allowed to have a personality, don't need to laugh quietly and can shimmy to some David Bowie in the middle of the day to shake up the creativity a bit...Who made the rules? The clones made the rules and that's why they want us to look and act like them!

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