Vacation Journal Entry: Creativity

So as I’m writing this journal entry, I am in Tibet. For context, Tibet is a peaceful buddhist country who is extremely rich in culture. Or at least it was, until China forcefully annexed it in 1959. “Forcefully annexed” being the politically correct way of saying that they invaded a defenseless country and murdered countless people.

With that, Tibet became a part of China, and therefore adhered to Chinese law. For those who don’t know, China is a huge fan of censorship and restriction of freedom (see- Mao Tse Tung’s cultural revolution of 1964). [I promise I’m going to talk about creativity, just hold on for a second]. This led to some pretty shocking aspects of this trip, especially for someone living in a relatively stable country. The first big shock was the fact that the internet was blocked. No Google, no YouTube, WhatsApp, nothing. This is just one of the many techniques the Chinese government employs to manipulate and restrict information from the general populace. Now, there only one TV news source in Tibet; a scheduled program that runs every day on every single channel from 7:00-7:30. Now, it doesn’t take much to understand how absolutely dangerous that is. If we in the west already struggle with fake news and such, imagine your only source of information being basically government propaganda…

Finally, the last, and most impactful aspect of this trip is the literal Big Brother levels of government presence EVERYWHERE. A ludicrous amount of policemen everywhere, and it’s illegal to take their photo. We are limited to what we can talk about in public, again, due to censorship. The influence is so strong that the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader who is one of the most peaceful people alive; was painted as a terrorist level threat in China. So much that the tour guide in Nepal (where we were before Tibet) seized my Dalai Lama book before the government officials saw it, since, according to him, that is grounds for denying me entry into the country.

Now, there’s a lot more I could (and want) to talk about, but I really want to tie back to the theme of this entry: Creativity.
With the government limiting people’s lives, I was wondering: how much capacity for creative thinking is possible for people born into an oppressive society like this? With people being molten into this easily manageable mold, you would think that Creativity, the biggest factor in discovery and change, would be kept to an absolute minimum. How many brilliant people in China’s 1 billion+ population never had a chance to even use their abilities to be the change they want to me in the world? How much talent has been wasted by not allowing Chinese citizens to think and go through self discovery? If you have this enormous herd of people who are raised to be perfectly obedient, perfectly tame and perfectly similar to each other, then how much extraordinary have you suppressed in the process? For me, it just goes to show how there’s so many factors in one’s life who shape how- and in what way they are creative, that all around the world, future leaders and incredible people never get to show the world their true colors, and instead just fade into this monochrome, bland and absolutely boring sea of grey.

Afterthought: maybe that was a little bit loaded for a vacation journal entry, but this is really what has been going on in my brain and I felt I needed to share. Thanks for reading!

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