Creativity and Me: Rules; the Straight Jacket of Creativity

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Goh Mingliang Alexander
Group 16 CORE 003 Term 1 AY 2009-2010

Creativity and Me: Rules; The straightjacket of creativity

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. What does it mean when you obey a rule? Are you simply complying because you are told to? Throughout history, rules have hindered creative minds to express themselves freely; often, these minds have been subjected to some sort of totalitarian regime or legal doctrine. I believe in order to be truly creative, one must prod and question the very rules he is bound by in order to break free from the norms of society.

Although not a huge fan of rules, I understand they exist for a good reason; rules are imposed to ensure that society functions. The alternative where there are no rules would result in pure anarchy which is unacceptable for logical reasons. The converse would likewise be unthinkable. In the dystopian society illustrated in the 1982 graphic novel V for Vendetta, extreme censorship was used by the totalitarian government as an excuse to “protect” the people from negative influences. In the process, creative staples such as music, dance, literature and art were outlawed for the greater good. Thankfully, we are somewhere in the middle ground as no other generation in history is more liberal or enjoy as much freedom of expression as we do. However, history shows us how some of the creative liberties we take for granted can easily be taken away by introducing dangerous rules in society.

Between 1966 and 1976, the Cultural Revolution in China launched by Mao ZeDong caused nation-wide pandemonium and economic ruin for China. The purging of the Four Olds (四旧) caused many Chinese literature classics, paintings and antiques to be destroyed by the Red Guard. Intellectuals who thought differently were seen threats to the revolution and subsequently ridiculed, harassed, jailed, tortured or even killed. By imposing his rule, Mao attempted to stamp out anyone who had differing...
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