When Queen Elizabeth asked her economists why none of them saw the crash of 2008 coming, they were taken aback and didn’t answer for a few days. Then they said that they had had a “failure of imagination.”
You would think, then, that economics majors would be required to take some art classes so they could develop their imagination and avoid crashing the economy of the whole freaking world in the future.
But no, we still take kids crayons away at an early age so they can get on with more important things. This is wrong. Humans have been making jewelry, decorating their bodies and drawing on cave walls from time out of mind. Imagination is part of being human and Einstein said it is more important than knowledge.
We just wrapped up the class I teach called “Fine Arts for Adults Who Want Their Crayons Back.” As usual, it was a blast. I started out a year ago Teaching Art-starting with the basics of drawing, perspective and such. It was a drag. So I chucked all that and told them to pick a subject and we would just paint-along-with.
They were scared at first to just jump in, but the results have always been great-and it’s a lot more fun. (Fun is also important.) We learn things by doing them, don’t we? I took history courses in college and aced them both and didn’t know diddly about history! History is fascinating. After studying on my own, I was amazed that they had ever managed to make history class so boring.
From Earth Science, which I also aced (!) I remember “igneous,” “quartz” and “tectonic plates.” Why not just run college for three weeks and teach three vocabulary words from each subject if that’s all anyone is going to remember?
Or how about apprenticeships, so instead of borrowing tons of money for college and going into debt, a young person could DO the dang thing and even get paid something while doing it?
Would that mess up the college-industrial complex? So what? Things change. There is a sign still faintly visible on the wall of an old building downtown that says “Harness Shop.” Times change and we need to be willing to chuck what doesn’t work for something that does.
And don’t forget to have some fun today. J