Everybody has different experiences in school. Whereas some feel that school sucked their life out, others believe those were the best days of their life. Now the discrepancies between these two experiences and everything that lies in between can be explained away by a number of socio-economic factors. But one thing that is common to all these experiences and is seldom realized is that school hinders and suppresses the creative genius of children. When they are enrolled in school, a child is much more intelligent than they are by the time they graduate. Many people might find it hard to believe that schools can dumb us down, but it is true. Several studies have all come to this conclusion, and foremost amongst them is the following one by NASA.
The NASA Creative Genius Test
In collaboration with Dr. Beth Jarman and Dr. George Land, NASA developed a test that involved tools that would help them measure the amount of creativity in individuals. It’s because NASA wanted to know the intelligence level of their rocket scientists and engineers. The experiment was quite successful, even though it was a unique one. Based on the experiment’s results, the logical next question was- now that we have a measure of someone’s creative potential, where does this potential come from? Is it inherited, or is it developed later in life? To that end, the scientists concerned decided to extend this experiment to young kids to find out what could be the factors involved. The participants of this study were all little kids of 4 or 5 years of age. A total of 1600 kids were made to take the creative genius test. Out of those, 98% cleared the minimum requirements, declaring a NASA rocket scientist as a ‘genius.’ To study this phenomenon further, the same batch of kids was again tested 5 years later. At 10, only 30% of them could clear the bar for being declared a genius. Surprised by this sharp decline, they waited another 5 years to repeat the test and this time around, the percentage dropped even further to stand at a nominal 12%. If you think that is low, you might not be ready for what an average adult scores on the test—a measly 2%.
Our modern education system is not all that different from the old schooling system, which was established to train factory workers in the early industrialization period. The system teaches you to do mindless labor without asking questions which is suitable for those who have put such a system in place: the wealthy capitalists who drive the maximum profits by doing the minimum.
So What Now?
Our brain works in two ways: both processes use up other parts of the brain. The first one is divergent thinking. It is our imagination with which we think of entirely new things, something we might never have seen before. The second one is convergent thinking, which is used to make final statements or decisions. It is what happens after you have analyzed, criticized and judged something.
In school, divergent thinking is continuously being pitted against convergent thinking. You are asked to think creatively, but your creativity is soon shunned by criticism. This internal fight within our brain profoundly restricts its capabilities. So to retain and rediscover your creative genius, stop thinking under fear of failure. Take the divergent thinking cap first and let it soar before you bring down any ideas because they seem too unbelievable.
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