The Concept of Water

Seeing the theme for this years Blogactionday made me think of a story in the book I was reading.

The book, On Creativity, is about the importance of creativity.

How we all have this inner desire to discover and create something new that is whole, harmonious and beautiful. It is not something rare, it does not require special talent.

But it does require originality. And total devotion.

To illustrate what such a mindset can accomplish, it gives the example of a woman who had to teach a young child that was blind and deaf. There was no way of approaching her in any way, let alone teaching her anything.

So she knew she had to give this child total attention and ‘feel’ her mind. She had to constant observe and adapt. She had to approach her in a total original way, because any preconception was useless here.

The key step was to teach the child to form a concept. The concept of water.

This was done by causing her to come in contact with water in a variety of different forms and contexts, each time scratching the word ‘water’ on the palm of her hand. For a long time, the child did not grasp what it was all about. But suddenly she realized that all these different experiences referred to one substance in its many aspects, which was symbolized by the word ‘water’ scratched on her palm. This initiated a fantastic revolution in the whole of her mind, the depth and scope of which we find hard to appreciate without having experienced directly what it means to live without conceptual abstractions.

I think this was a great example of a creative mind. But is also was a great way for us to see the difference with how we teach our children.

Which is the total opposite.

We bring our children up with just conceptual abstractions. As many as possible that they have to memorize. They have to learn concepts without realizing the underlying reality. Learn concepts without understanding the meaning. Learn what others think is important.

And slowly along the way, they lose the ability to think creative, to be original.

It is like a box that is filled with bottles of water, thinking it is full, without realizing that pouring the water out would leave plenty of room for more. And that way it can mix.

The concept of water


  1. ohh, just wanted to tell you, I liked this article. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

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