Just killed a man.
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger,
Now he’s dead
This is “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the pinnacle work of the legendary Queen, one of the hottest British rock bands in the 1980s. One can even say that this song is the highest peak in the history of rock music—a peak that no band has surpassed even today.
The song starts a capella, soft and natural. It is followed by a haunting lyrical piano that flows gracefully to a classic musical score. And finally, the song crescendos to a heart-pounding rock section before returning to a soulful piano at the end.
It’s a masterpiece that has swept the world.
My favorite version of the song is the original rendition sung by Queen. The time when Freddie Mercury (the band’s lead singer) still had long hair and liner painted around his eyes. The era of literary youths bursting to show the world their works
Since reaching its height in popularity, it’s natural for countless artists of later generations to imitate this masterpiece of a song. But nothing comes out as good as the original. Faye Wong’s version is not explosive enough. Leehom’s not elegant enough, and Putin Trump’s modern take is not memorable enough
The song’s writer, Mercury, is undoubtedly a superstar in the rock music industry, and his refusal to explain the meaning of the lyrics is also one reason why the song is interpreted differently by everyone in turn. The roller coaster ride that is Mercury’s own life also added a transcendental quality to his lyrical masterpiece. And the 2019 Oscar film winner “Bohemian Rhapsody” which unveils the Rock n’ Roll god’s history and tragic life further elevated his song into a legend.
Mercury’s life and the different versions of Bohemian Rhapsody have been discussed and re-discussed for a long time. But here now, I want to talk about the theory behind the creation and reflection on education that these discussions bring.
I have to admit that any great cause in this world is related to creation. In addition to industries such as literature and art that are directly linked to creation, emerging industries such as technology also provide a dream stage for countless people who dare to innovate. Even traditional industries such as manufacturing, retail, and logistics have also been transformed by the impact of this network.
Think about it. Twenty years ago, smartphones did not exist, and e-commerce had only been emerging. Forget about ride-hailing, takeaway, and live streaming apps! But now, just two years can show drastic changes in our way of life because of people who dared to dream and create.
They began to imagine what would happen if the mobile phone could be turned into a small computer. Thoughts about how good it would be if everyone can buy what they want without going out entered their minds.
And dreamers like this existed way back in the past. Even a hundred years ago, a pair of brothers dreamed about how wonderful it would be to build a machine that lets people fly in the sky like birds.
Now, imagine life if these dreamers did not dare to create.
In the future, those who lead in the trends must also have the talent and nerve to imagine and create. That is why reflection on creativity has extraordinary significance in today’s time.
However, no one is born creative. Creativity is a skill that you need to acquire through repeated training. Some of the most creative people in the world, such as J.K. Rowling author of the Harry Potter series, started creating later in life. Case in point when Rowling wrote the first drafts of Harry Potter in her thirties.
Another example is Steve Jobs and Apple. At age 45, he was a pioneer in the revolution of mobile phones in the market. Even Mercury had to experience Queen disbanding twice.
These people’s creations had to be refined through thinking over time and channeling through their words and deeds before finally reaching the peak that ordinary people hardly reach.
The neuroscientist Dr. Martha Burns, who conducted a study of children’s brain development (read: The New Brain Science of Learning by Dr. Martha S. Burns), discovered that in the learning process, the nerve lines of the brain will become thicker and thicker, and more lines connecting nodes will be produced, which will make learning by analogy, and the effect of association jumping[f]. This is what we often say, the more you use your mind, the more flexible you become.
And this process of connecting many neural nodes is the process of association and creation. This is the reason why JK Rowling saw the little green-eyed wizard on the train. This is the reason why Jobs extended from the aesthetic education of the school to the unique design of Apple products. It is also the reason why Mercury can play in lyrical, rock n’ roll, and opera. This is the reason that shocked the world.
So, here comes the point. Since creativity is so important and is an ability that can be learned, how do we ensure that our children can get enough of this ability in their education? There are different opinions about this question, and there is no textbook answer yet.
I personally feel that the cultivation of creativity requires only one point: love.
If J.K Rowling didn’t have a passion for fantasy, there would be no Harry Potter. If Jobs had no dedication to design, there would be no Apple. If Mercury didn’t have a deep love for music, there would be no Bohemian Rhapsody.
In Dr. Martha’s research, she found that the effectiveness of learning depends on several chemicals secreted by neurons, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and so on. These chemicals make us interested in new things, enjoy thinking, and prompt us to constantly stimulate more neuronal connections, thus, one day, stimulate amazing creativity. In short, this is the source of our passion.
This is an obvious conclusion in neurology, but unfortunately, the generation of love requires high demands on the surrounding environment. It needs a good learning atmosphere from the surrounding peers. It needs excellent teachers who can discover students’ interests. It needs a warm and open family environment, and it needs an open-minded social culture.
I think in the current society, the children who are fortunate enough to enjoy the above are the lucky ones out of a million. Tina Seelig, a creative expert at Stanford University, said the same (see TED talk: A crash course in creativity: Tina Seelig at TEDxStanford).
It is true that the environment in which we grew up is far from perfect, and no one has a practical plan to change this. However, amidst these many imperfections, what we can do is recognize and encourage children’s creativity every day.
It doesn’t matter if that only helps one or two children. If they create another Harry Potter, another Apple, another Bohemian Rhapsody, wouldn’t it be great and worth it?