Defining and assessing creative skills

Defining credits in our traditional educational system lays much on the tradition of science. It correlates strongly with the amount and level of knowledge a person can master and apply in a given subject. In a fast moving world, where knowledge becomes old faster than ever, we have to re-examine how we define knowledge, or perhaps a person who is knowledgeable and has skills.

Defining and hence assessing art is as impossible as defining creativity. There are no fixed, measurable parameters, and success is frequently evaluated through the opinions of the viewer or end-user. Knowledge of how to play an instrument has little to do with having the skills to play it, and even technical skill alone only gets you so far. Listeners seek for the personal interpretation and motion the performance might evoke.

For knowledge to be of value, it needs to be useful for something. That something can be merely the enjoyment or joy the spectator received from a painting or piece of music.

But it can be a number of other things that relate to questions that themselves might not have definite answers. Assessing the value of new data is as much, or perhaps more, of a job than merely producing it. And brings us back to the questions of what is meaningful and what we should strive for. We cannot even begin to answer these questions without acknowledging that a human being is more than the sum of his/her parts of the body.

Mysteries of life remain along with our curiosity. Art by nature bears with it the question of “why”, rather than “what” and “how”. As machines and automation take over clear-cut tasks that we can precisely define. We come back to the more obscure parts of life, and existential questions of humanity.


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