Learning To Think, Be Creative And Write At the University?

Creativity Writing Class at Stanford focusing on Science Fiction considered.

As a non-religious person, I’ve written some Science Fiction that blends religious beliefs of my characters and the society at large into the fray of the plot and genre. I find this a nice way to teach the reader to think in ‘what ifs’ and question their belief system. A strong devout religious person will surely come to their same conclusion, perhaps someone on the fence might be reached and to a non-believer, well heck I am just writing to the choir so to speak.

Now then, there was an interesting video posted to YouTube titled; “Getting Creative” in which the professor explains a class that she teaches. In the YouTube video the description explains; “Opportunities for students to be creative outside of arts classes are few. In Professor Hester Gelber’s class, students engage with religious studies by creating their own short stories. They read science fiction and fantasy novels to explore our modern take on religion.”

This is an interesting concept, for instance consider L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and creator of Scientology (a religion now with millions of followers, including one very famous actor – Tom Cruise). Obviously, his writings were inspired by religion, how it worked, why it worked and the flaws he saw in it as well as contradictions to modern science, especially if one attempts to size these older religions up by their verbatim, literal interpretation.

I wonder with the professors PC (politically correct) displacement, if a student who is less-than-PC or SC (socially correct) could expect to get a decent grade? I am somewhat troubled by her openness to project her views even in this video. After all, true creativity would be a divergence from the current society, otherwise it is mimicking the current paradigm and taking the current trends and focusing them forward.

Many of the past Sci Fi writers were completely critical of their time, or the perception of the era they lived. Can this professor be non-bias in grading? I wonder, also if she assists the student in reasoning through things then inherently, whether meaningful or not, has the student imagining the professor’s future or views. I think true creativity and pushing the envelope of society, needs to shake it to its core, so then, the trend lines today need to be shown for their mistakes in many regards. Do you see my points?

Is it really creativity to rehash the same arguments about religion over-and-over again? Not really, is my answer. Will these students come up with any new genres while learning to be creative using this methodology? Maybe, but likely not – what do you think?

Natasha M. McKnight

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