If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. — Albert Einstein
Why did he say that? As a master of creative thought, Einstein often spoke of how he valued imagination above discursive thinking. He was interested in reality, in describing the forces of nature better than had ever been done before. So he turned to fairy tales.
For many people this seems odd to say the least, illogical, even a non-sequeteur. And that is precisely why they are not as interesting, as creative or as flat-out intelligent as Einstein. Back in 2003, I was working on bringing a performance piece to Norway for the tenth anniversary of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics. I was taken around the Norwegian Parliament and ended in the office of the MP from Lillehammer. As I entered the room, right in front of me on the table was a singing bowl – one of those bowls made from fused quartz that creates such a powerful ringing tone. I really had to laugh out loud. “Just like the US Senate.”
The more we insist on being ‘realistic’, the stupider we get. When looking for reality, the best way to find it is through a tag-team effort of objective phenomenological observation and art. I’m not trying to be cute here. This is my program for education. The deepest connection with reality and widest breadth of creative response is what we’re needing right about now as a human race. Leaving out the fairy tales, the singing bowls and the break-dancing is disastrous. Einstein agrees.