Society’s love-hate relationship with creativity

Society extolls the virtues creativity and creative people. We like the idea creativity, at least in the abstract. Creativity is thought to be a net-good for society. Creative people–artists and entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs–are admired and respected.

But the behavior of society suggests otherwise:

1. creative people are repeatedly told they will fail
2. kids who do not conform in school are not uncommonly drugged and disciplined into obedience
3. parents, teachers try to force conformity
4. creative people are told or assumed to be mentally ill, unstable, or crazy
5. academics who defy convention may find it hard to get funding, positions, or papers published
6. political non-conformists get banned or de-platformed on social networks
7. creativity is dismissed or denigrated (it’s a lot easier and less risky to criticize than to create)

It’s not so much that we like creativity or creative people, but rather we like successful, mainstream creative people. Success leads to bandwagon effects and peer approval, so this way the uncertainty or risk of supporting the wrong creative people or endeavors is eliminated.

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