Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Education Kills Creativity

Now here's a great lecture on the art of killing the worms. I call it education, book-learning, following the rules and doing and believing and parroting what you're told.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: The more you learn, the less you know.

So very true. I see it at work. I see it at home. I see it everywhere I go. The innovators are the rule-breakers, the ones who don't shackle themselves with the process and insist everyone else wear these chains with em.

They're the Brazilians in soccer, constantly inventing new moves on the field.

They're Einstein at his clerk desk ponderizing physics without the anchor-weight of a professor telling him he was wrong wrong WRONG!

They're Hemingway and Vonnegut with total disregard to accepted literary practices.

These people are educated, smart, and in their own right they are learned and stand on top of what others have learned.

But they don't repeat in rote droves what they learned as gospel and unquestionable truth. They understand ~why~ the rules are in place, and why breaking them might improve the process.

They question the rules. They question the process. They challenge and prod the limits of what is acceptable practice.

Many fail -- and don't be afraid of failure -- but the ones who don't fail, the ones who manage to get off the ground, God how they soar!

- Eric


Joshua McCune said...

The more you learn, the less you know - so much painful truth in this.

I'd like to think of myself as a rule breaker, but nowhere near the maverick level to soar. Hopefully enough to fly (or at least enough not to get tickets for treating those stop signs like yields :)

Unknown said...

*climbs up on soapbox with you* Hear, hear!! :)

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Thanks for the vid, I have it running in the background. And thanks for the post.

Most of my training related to writing (other than the usual classes in grades 1-13ish) comes from reading. I have no formal 'writing' ed. I never thought of that as a drawback except when writing query letters.

Thanks, Eric! Olivia

dolorah said...

One can only get so much education, then you have to go out and use it creatively. Least, thats how I see it. I liked his quip about if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with something original.

Very profound; in my book.


dolorah said...

PS: Congrats Eric on the healthy boy!


Jai Joshi said...

Rules are there so we can figure out how best to break them.


Matthew MacNish said...

Great point Eric, now if we can only get that first book published so that we can then get away with it!

Anonymous said...

I love this post, Eric. I am a rule breaker and I think it's okay--as long as we know what the rules are and why we are breaking them.

Everything I do is a bit out of the box. But I'd rather lead than follow.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Great sentiment, Eric. Its true that too much by-the-book (no pun intended) thinking can ruin creativity.

I try to learn from writers whose work I enjoy. An avid reader, I feel I learn the most from seeing something that works rather than heeding some format.

EJ Fechenda said...

Hi! Just dropping by to let you know there's an award for you over on my blog. :)

Unknown said...

So true. But as a teacher I can only hope that some people realise this and try to encourage creativity and enthusiasm for rule breaking!

Okie said...

Such a fabulous blog. Sadly, the faster the world moves and the more technology comes into the mainstream, it seems like creativity, individuality and a lot of the personal and societal initiative and drive just falls away.

Eric W. Trant said...

Thanks, all. I appreciate the input.

I don't believe ~everyone~ has to be a maverick -- you can't go against the flow if that's what everyone else is doing -- but I do believe you should find that thing about writing that is uniquely yours and nobody else's.

That thing is different for every writer, and it will absolutely break some rules.

- Eric

Tara said...

I'm a rule breaker. But, there's a fine line in how you go about it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails in a big way.

Eric W. Trant said...

Oh but Tara, FAILURE is part of it!

Fail and fail big, then fail better.

Me, I'm a failure at most things I try. Still I try, still I fail, but sometimes I succeed in a big way.

- Eric

LAF said...

I think if you learn "rules" and then slavishly follow them then education can kill creativity.

But if you learn them, then learn (and feel) when they're not useful and then fill that space with something else--then I think creativity can blossom alongside education.

After all, creative spelling is often a little confusing ;)

Phoenix said...


My favorite book on acting is David Mamet's "True and False" which is honestly, just a fantastic book in general. I can't count how many times he says "Stay out of school."

School teaches you how to please a professor for a grade and how to play nicely with others.

Life teaches you that all the rules can, and should, be broken, screw pleasing others, and there is no such thing as grades, only results.

Amen, brother.

Julie Musil said...

You're so right. Writing has so many dang rules, I can't even keep track of them. I don't even know if I'm following them or breaking them, I'm just doing my own thing. Thanks for stopping by my blog!