From an early age we are encouraged to believe in fantasy figures such as Spiderman, Thomas the Tank Engine, the BFG and Father Christmas. We dress up and pretend to be everything from doctors to superheroes. We have imaginary friends. Imaginary guns. Imaginary powers.
And then, at the age of five, we go to real school. And that’s where most people have their creativity crushed out of them.
“Stop daydreaming.” “Grow up.” “Stop making things up.” “Don’t fib.” “You and your imagination.” “Not another one of your stories.” “What pretend friend?” “Stop playing.” “It’s not in the curriculum.”
The scary coda to this story is that by the age of twelve, our creative output has declined to about 2% of our potential, and it generally stays there for the rest of our lives.
The price of acceptance is conformity. To live with other people, you must follow their rules and values.
Somehow, a few of us make it through all the crap and pressure and end up as artists, film-makers, writers, musicians, designers…
We are the lucky ones. All being well, we can keep playing into our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, like: Defoe, Hitchcock, Monet, Shakespeare, Toscanini, and Turner…