On 20/03/2009, at 6:37 PM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

> Hi Kim,
> On 19 Mar 2009, at 05:19, Kim Jones wrote:
>> But who can say that creativity cannot be taught when no institution
>> sets out to do so?
> I have been teacher in a "modern school" based on creative thinking,  
> but it happens it was a mode of brainwashing.
> I love creativity, but teaching it makes it less creative. Hells is  
> paved with good intention.

Dear Bruno

(Here I am putting on the hat of the sensei)

I hope you are wrong on this. Usually I hope you are right on  
everything, because you usually have the "ring of truth" about you.  
Here, unfortunately I feel in my adenoids you have the "ring of  
fear" (like dear Johnny Mikes) - but I could be wrong. Why would  
teaching the joy, the love, the fascination of something make that  
thing less than what it is?

Teaching creativity leads straight to hell if you are Hitler, or  
Mengele or Madoff or Bush or Aristotle or ....... (sorry - not in  
Alpha order)

If the VALUES of the creativity teacher are fine, then the outcome  
will merely depend on the VALUES of the STUDENTS. That probably  
depends on their parents, their socio-economic background, their  
religion, their life-story their drug-use, their whatever.

Some people may be better at creativity (lateral thinking) just as  
some people may be better at mathematics but this does not mean that  
there is a process that cannot be learned and used. As I said, Edward  
de Bono ALONE AMONGST ALL HUMANS worked out for himself (by '68) what  
creativity IS.

Some people have 'the gift' of creativity to be sure - but creativity  
itself is NOT a gift. Gift from whom? From what? Come on  - get real!!!!

Lateral Thinking (=creativity) and vertical thinking are COMPLIMENTARY  
- not antagonistic.

It can be shown that creativity can make people generate more ideas,  
and by definition gifts cannot be taught. In my book, NOTHING is 'a  
gift' because I can never be sure what or who is doing the giving  
(thank you for this enlightenment Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, Harris,  
de Monfroy, Vic Stenger et al). My only 'gifts' came from the genes of  
my parents - things I did not have to 'learn' - like musical ability  
(Fuck, how I wish I had quantum physicists for parents!!!!!!)

There is nothing mysterious or metaphysical about creativity!  
Creativity is a way of HANDLING INFORMATION. Please stop  
metaphysicalising creativity! If only Superman or Jesus can be  
creative then we are all screwed!!!! When you do this, you become AN  

Many people are scared of creativity because they think (feel) that it  
threatens the validity (=supremacy) of (academic) VERTICAL thinking.  
(Vertical thinking = where you must be 'right' at every step of the  
way and therefore 'consistent'). This is not so at all. The two  
processes are complimentary - not antagonistic. Remember, Socrates  
sold the car with only the front left wheel. I am selling the OTHER  
THREE WHEELS!!!!! Creativity (=lateral thinking) is useful for  
GENERATING ideas and approaches, vertical thinking (= logical,  
academic, lawyer-style, "I am right, you are wrong"-style thinking is  
useful for DEVELOPING ideas. Lateral Thinking enhances the valuse of  
Vertical Thinking by offering it MORE TO SELECT FROM. Vertical  
thinking multiplies the effectiveness of Lateral Thinking by making  
good use of the ideas generated.

Most of the time, one will be using vertical thinking, but when one  
needs to use lateral thinking (as in the present moment in history,  
where we are desperate for a 'new idea') - no amount of excellence in  
vertical thinking will do instead. To persist i n vertical thinking  
when one should (if one is a consistent machine) be using lateral  
thinking is HIGHLY DANGEROUS. In truth, one needs skill at both types  
of thinking.

Creativity is like the reverse gear in a car. One would be a crazy  
fool to attempt to drive everywhere in reverse gear. On the other  
hand, one cleary nbeeds to ahve it and to be educated to know when   
it's use is necessary - for example, how to get out of a cul-de-sac.

warmest regards,


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