Posted: 07 Aug 2008 11:14 AM CDT
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Some of you may recognise that as the famous Apple ‘Think Different’ text, others may not, but I guess whether you’ve read it before or have read it for the first time there, we can pretty much all agree that it’s an inspiring piece of text. The thing that surprised me was that when reading through it I realised that all you need to do is change one tiny piece of the text to change the whole context of it.
make tools for educate these kinds of people”
In my mind, that’s now one hell of a motto for a better education system.
Let’s face it; the current education system just doesn’t know how to handle these kinds of people. “The round pegs in the square holes,” as Apple refers to them. The system doesn’t understand creativity. It robs all students of their creative consciousness and replaces it with structure, structure, and more structure, only to prepare them for a 9-to-5 job, Monday to Friday, every week of every year for the rest of their lives. Art, Music, Drama… you name it, the current system has a course for it. But that course doesn’t do any form of justice to the many greats that have over hundreds of years created amazing works and done incredible things, demonstrating how beautiful these arts can be. Students aren’t told to let passion drive them forward, or let their inspiration flow and their imagination stop at nothing. They are told to follow the rules, and do whatever it takes to get a ‘pass.’ Where would we be if Bach was told his Brandenburg concertos ‘didn’t quite meet the required standard’? What would have happened if Van Gogh was told his paintings just ‘didn’t make sense’?
It doesn’t stop at the arts. The suppression of creativity is seen in all fields of learning within the current system, giving no room for our real geniuses to shine. And why? Because the system has an obsession with testing, and at the end of the day you can’t test real genius, because you just can’t grade it. Who really has the right to say that a piece of music is an A or B or whatever else? Why should someone sitting in a fancy government office be able to sit there and write the rules that decide whether this piece of writing would make the grade or not? Why can’t the people deciding our futures for us be content with having some classes that have no exams? Classes that are solely there to help stimulate the different skills we all possess, without having to put us under the constant pressure of being bombarded with test after test and grade after grade. Do they see this as ‘non-educational’?
Think of the wealth of talent that is being and has been squandered due to this system. How many people would have become the next great composer if they had been given just that little bit more leeway? How many people would have had the courage to write their own novel, because they wouldn’t have been told they ‘weren’t good enough’? How many people failed to ever recognise their own potential because they were too busy striving for the best grades possible? Only so they could get a ‘good’ job in an office, with a ‘good’ salary.
Don’t get me wrong, we need the people in offices to do the things that keep our public services running and our economy going, but we also need the people who create, invent, and change things. We need the people who “sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written,” because Apple is right; they push the human race forward, and have done for as long as the human race has been around. But they can’t continue to do so if we don’t help them realise they are capable of doing so. They can’t invent the cure for cancer, or compose a great symphony, or write a magnificent piece of literature if our education system tells them exactly how everything should be, and what they should learn, and what they are aiming to do with their lives. Give them the opportunity. Let them decide.
We make the mistake of thinking that the people that do well in school are the ‘smart’ ones, but that isn’t always the case. These people may just be good at retaining information and reciting it back under pressure, or may just be good at problem solving. Our schools teach these kinds of people well, because they know how to deal with them. All you need to do with these people is throw facts and figures at them and tell them they need to know them to pass, and get become qualified to get a good job... which is not even proper learning. There is no regard there for our creative ones, or even the ‘smart’ ones who can probably do so much more given the opportunity. There is no other option, no fork in the road, not even a way to have the best of both worlds. Just one path for everyone to follow, with the same goal in mind—to fit in, and become another round peg in a round hole.
Let me make myself clear right now that this is not a dig at teachers, who do a superb job. What it is, however, is a cry out to the people in suits who decide what we learn and how we learn it to change their philosophy. To realise that some people can achieve more, and that the people who will eventually find the cure for cancer, or create the next breakthrough piece of technology, or discover new planets and galaxies are in our schools. These children/students or whatever you want to call them are waiting on these people to realise and do something to help them on their way to greatness. To give them the opportunity to shine, and achieve things that both us and them can’t even imagine yet.
It really is time for our education system to start ‘Thinking Differently.’
The Bass Player