Friday, June 24, 2011

A Creative Life

A friend recently went to China and when I asked him what it was like, he said it made the US look like Detroit. Like our whole country was stuck in old-fashioned ways of doing things and that China was the new frontier. He had a hard time describing what it was that made him feel this, but it came down to the enthusiasm, energy and confidence that the Chinese as a people embody. They really see themselves as the path to the future already. Practically speaking, he saw this manifest in the development of green industries, centralized planning to adapt to future needs in a way we can never match, and a palpable national exuberance (not to mention wide-spread visible wealth). Compare that with the US and it seems like our future subservience is already written. But though his kid watches Nickolodeon’s show “Ni Hao Kai-lan” and because of that now wants to learn Mandarin, he and his wife don’t think the rigid Chinese style of teaching at a nearby Chinese dual-language school will be in line with the values they want to instill in their kids. They value creativity and empathy far more than the traditional Chinese educational models. I think about this as my unemployment now stretches past the 1 year mark and I keep reading about how the country needs programmers and engineers more than anything. It makes me wonder yet again if I should haven’t stuck with computers. After all I began programming in 1978 and would have had a huge jump on most folks. But instead, I went the arts route. Maybe not the best choice in some ways.

What about you?
Do you value creativity over a more practical approach to life? And how’s that worked out for you?

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