Corner of Teak and Milbury. The girl behind the cash register at McDonald’s is 17 years old and working a summer job to save up money for college. She works the night shift and in her spare time she works out math equations. Specifically, trigonometry. She is what society would consider a genius level mathematician, quietly working away on her passion in secret.
Given another year, she would earn a full ride to Harvard based on a theory she presents in her final year of high school, which would in turn allow her to go on to become one of the world’s leading physicists. At the age of 35 she would create a break-through in quantum physics, leading to the first grav-lift car that would become commercially available to the public, leading to the eventual eradication of highways and the use of asphalt and other chemicals that are toxic to the environment and an eventual Nobel prize.
Instead, she gets knocked up by some meth-head gang-banger and squirts out a baby before she is 18. She gets tatted up, starts smoking meth, and ends up having two more children with three other men before she is 25. Rather than a life of pursuing her passion to achieve the highest levels of destiny, she becomes relegated to a life of drug addiction and is in and out of jail over the years before finally dying of an overdose at the age of 35.
Is it her fault for not achieving her destiny and pursuing her genius to its maximum potential, or is it the fault of society for not providing an environment in which she could thrive in her chosen element?
I love Benjamin Franklin’s quote about “He who is good at making excuses is rarely good for anything else”. The vast majority of people will blame their lack of success on everything and everyone but themselves. It’s the economy. The foreigners. The illegal immigration. The war in Iraq. Taxes. The cost of living. It’s never their own fault for working a shitty job and making a shit wage and living a life of servitude. It’s someone else’s fault.
But at what point do we take a look at the burden Western society has put upon people with their mandatory credit addiction, mandatory slave wages, mandatory GMO modified food and mandatory third-world living conditions and lay the blame at the feet of the system? Or do we lay the blame solely on the individual for not taking the opportunities presented to them by life and fate?
If you look at the girl in the above scenario, I’m talking hypotheticals. But the reality isn’t that far from the truth. We all know someone who is a creative genius in their own right who is stuck in a dead-end job working for no money trying to make ends meet just to put food on the table and rather than pursuing their dreams they are working a job they hate for a wage that doesn’t even provide them with enough money to live…all so they can “get by”.
Fuck that. I want to live in a world where creative genius is sacred. Where society puts an emphasis on creativity and allowing people to pursue their true calling. Where mathematicians can go on to create things that benefit humanity as a whole rather than wind up knocked up and cracked out because society forced them into a certain path rather than provided them the opportunity to thrive.
Governments don’t want creative thinkers. They want workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and keep the system functioning, but not intelligent enough to think for themselves. Smart people are dangerous. They are the ones who tell their fellow man to rise up, cast off the chains and take their destiny into their own hands. Fuck control. Fuck nationalism and your pledge of allegiance. Fuck 8 hour work shifts and 2 weeks of paid vacation and mandatory military service.
Free-thinking people are the bane of governments and organized society. If everyone is allowed to think for themselves, revolutions start. People rise up. Rather than be wage slaves, they cast off their chains and move abroad. They learn other languages, appreciate other cultures, live in other countries, and spend their money everywhere but on the home turf.
Smart people are the ones who change the world. They challenge authority, they speak for themselves, they constantly strive to achieve something greater, something for the benefit of all rather than the benefit of a few, and they are continually looking for ways to improve. Not just upon themselves, but the human race as a whole.
Smart people don’t believe in war. They believe in peace, love and understanding. Equality for all. Man, woman, black, brown, white, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, Lutheran, Catholic…it doesn’t matter. Smart people want to live in a world where creativity is put above everything else, where we can use our collective consciousness to pursue the betterment of all mankind and find a way to live harmoniously together without an addiction to war and oil and raping of the planet around us.
Living In Utopia
From my own personal viewpoint, I think one of the greatest aspects of unplugging from the system, learning other languages, moving abroad and living in other cultures and studying my passions and following my dreams has been simply this: I have been allowed to achieve my own greatness. Absolute freedom, both creatively and financially. I have no debt and I can do what I want, when I want.
But not just that. I can pursue my passions in an environment where creativity is allowed to thrive. Where I’m not burdened by debt, by a 40 hour a week job, by wage slavery and credit and GMO modified foods that force me into sickness and obesity.
As Ken Robinson stated in his 2006 TED presentation, everyone has within them the gem of creativity. A tiny bud of genius, waiting to flower. All it needs is a little bit of watering, some cultivation, and it will grow from there into a future that none of us can comprehend…but only if it is allowed the chance to flourish creatively.
When you look at a genius child, most people will think to themselves, “Oh my…he/she is exceptionally gifted”. But are they really that gifted? I don’t think so. Rather, I know for a fact that each and every one of us, each and every single person on the planet, has that same spark of genius inside of them. We are, after all, the universe experience itself. Stardust, made physical. And within each of us lies infinite possibilities if only we are given the opportunity to pursue those passions which eventually turn into greatness.
Creativity is as important as literacy, and should be given the same level of focus in schools and in society. If a person is a gifted and talented artist, put them in a position where they can pursue their gift. Don’t force them into a position of servitude where they are working at McDonald’s while pursuing a worthless degree in business administration because “that’s the only way you will get a job”.
Creativity is something to be cherished, something to be nurtured, and we need to create that nurturing environment for the betterment of humanity. Musicians should be allowed to thrive in an environment where they write music. Painters an environment to paint. Dancers an environment to dance.
96% of college degrees have been proven to be completely worthless (just ask law students in Boston working for less than minimum wage, or the millions who have had their lives ruined by student debt), so why are we still using them as the benchmark for “the way of doing things?
As Robinson points out, we are educating children out of creativity. We are teaching them to fear being creative, to fear being different, and by the time most people reach adulthood they are branded forever as wage slaves, destined to a life of mediocrity and an early grave without ever achieving anything of value in their life…simply because they are too afraid to do anything other than be a servant.
The Bottom Line
Genius is sacred. Creativity is sacred. It should be nurtured, cultivated, allowed to flourish and grow into something great that will benefit all of humanity, rather than only a select few. But in order to get to that point we have to create an environment where genius is allowed to thrive. Currently, this does not exist except for those of us who have made the conscious decision to break free of the chains of “civilized” society and pursue global careers as digital nomads.
Is it our responsibility to help create an environment to foster creativity? I, for one, think that it is. I think that we owe it to ourselves as a species to teach people to unplug from The Matrix, to stop letting government-funded teachers tell them how and what to think, to stop pledging allegiance to a flag, to stop believing in “god and country”, to stop believing in imaginary boundaries drawn on maps by a select group of people who want to control everyone else.
I believe it is our responsibility to create a better world for future generations. A world where creativity is cherished, where wage slavery is abolished and war is a thing of the past, where humanity can focus as a whole on the betterment of all as opposed to only the betterment of a few and single group of countries (i.e. The West). A world where that 17 year old girl is allowed to grow up and become the mathematician she was born to be, rather than the meth addict that society forced her to become due to broken promises and corruption.
What are your thoughts on creativity and society? Do you believe it is the responsibility of the individual to cultivate creativity, or the responsibility of society to provide an environment where creativity can thrive?