Ray Bradbury On Why College Is Dangerous For Creativity

Ray Bradbury is an American novelist who published over 600 short stories and 30 books. His best known publication is Fahrenheit 451.

The story takes place in the future where books that were found containing difference of opinions were burned and subdued from others. His works can be found in many popular magazines and he won many writing awards over his lifetime. He influenced many aspiring writers including myself, teaching us that writing should not involve any thought but a lot of feeling and living. This is true to many artistic workers.

In an interview with James Day, he was asked if he ever went to college. Bradbury replied:

“Never went to college. Don’t believe in college for writers. It’s very dangerous. I think too many professors are too opinionated and too snobbish and too intellectual. The intellect is a great danger to creativity. Terrible danger because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things instead of staying with your own basic truth. Who you are, what you are. what you want to be and I have a sign over my typewriter for 25 years now which reads, ‘Don’t think.’ You must never think at the typewriter, you must feel and your internal intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway.”

He encouraged creative individuals to tell their own simple truth. To be active and very emotional with their work. No matter if you’re a writer, painter, dancer, sculpture, photographer, musician or anything of the creative nature, you need to be emotionally involve with your labor to bring out the best of you. Bradbury believed that creativity is full of surprises and that is very important to remember. Like relationships, you will learn a lot about yourself in the process and what works for you and what doesn’t.

10 million copies sold around The United States of America

In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury mention that one of his character, Guy Montag, reminded him of himself and that is the beauty of creativity, you can bring out a little about yourself into it and this releases many suppressed emotions that you have hidden from the world. In Jungian psychology,  the “shadow” is our “unconscious ego,” negative traits that is floating within all of us. Feel them and pull them out of you when you’re deep into your creation. After the completion of one of my short stories, I started to cry. I came to the realization that it was emotions that I buried away for many years and without thinking, I dragged it out of myself unexpectedly.

Do not mold yourself into what the intellect thinks. Even as adults, we all have imaginations and fantasies deep within us. Start by staying with your own truth. This will lead you to know who you are, what you are and what you want to be.


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