NASA, who houses the world’s leading space program and some of the brightest people on the planet, asked Dr George Land and Beth Jarman to develop a test that would measure the creativity of their engineers and scientists. They eventually developed a test, rooted in the process of divergent thinking, an ability to look at a problem and suggest various solutions.
The test proved to be a success and encouraged the scientists to dig deeper and try to understand the source of creativity, whether it is a genetic trait or a result of life experience.
Given that the test itself was very simple, it could be applied to any age group. So, Land and Jarman found 1,600 children between the age of 4 and 5 to measure their progress.
They found that whooping 98 percent of the 1,600 children that took the test scored at genius level. Encouraged by these findings, they decided to turn the test into a longitudinal study and re-test the same group of children in five years time. The results were again surprising, but for different reasons.
Namely, the children, now in grade school, dropped down to only 30 percent. The study was done again five years after, the children by now in high school, and they declined to only 12 percent.
Puzzled by this study, Land decided to do the same study on adults with an average age of 30. After countless studies, he found that less than 2 percent of the adults scored at genius level. The results have been replicated numerous times, in case some of you questions them or thinks they might be nothing but isolated incidences.
WE ARE BEING SYSTEMATICALLY DUMBED DOWN
This study suggests that we are born creative geniuses, but our creative potential declines the moment we enter the educational system. The reason behind this isn’t too hard to understand though. The educational system, school as we call it, has been historically created to serve the ruling class. Whether it be Germanic Prussia, ancient Greece, or the modern American system, education has served as means of mass indoctrination.
HOW CAN I REHABILITATE MY CREATIVITY?
George Land argues that the studies he has done and the brain scans he has looked at made him realize that looking to understand more and judging less is of utmost importance! We must learn to criticize less and be curios more. He also adds that anxiety and fear as counter productive.
Some of the best ways to deal with these debilitations is to engage in physical exercise, meditation or yoga, all of which relieve stress and anxiety. They also trigger the process known as neurogenesis, a formation of new brain cells. Diet is important factor as well, so don’t neglect nutrition.
Another important thing is to challenge your belief system. It is important to understand that regardless of how much we know about the world, we are still ignorant in one way or another. So, be modest and curious, keep on learning, and never stop exploring and discovering new things.