I’ve long thought about teaching a course in creativity in which the only readings are obituaries. That’s because creativity can make life worth living, but it can’t keep you alive. Not forever.

For example, here are two obituaries that appeared adjacently in this Tuesday’s New York Times.

  • The first is for P.K. Sethi who co-invented the Jaipur foot, a prosthetic limb that costs about $30. Left unpatented, the Jaipur foot provides the ability to walk — even dance (as Sudha Chandra does in Bollywood’s Nache Mayuri) — to people in 25 countries,  many of whom lost their feet in the explosion of land mines. What a fabulously creative gift to the world.

If you read "P.K. Sethi, 80; Invented Low-Tech Limb," you’ll see an interesting creative journey. He didn’t plan to be an orthopedic surgeon. He was asked to do it in a hurry by a hospital administrator. That strange twist led to this invention. Are you open to strange twists?

  • The second is for "Shmuel Berenbaum, 87, Talmudic Scholar." Rabbi Berenbaum saved his educational tradition — "a world that was otherwise lost" — by fleeing the Second World War in Europe — to Shanghai. Daring!

Creative? He taught the first five books of the Bible for 50 years "and never repeated himself."

I bet they never met, but they are buried together in The New York Times with our admiration. May their teaching, inventions and very lives be an everlasting blessing for those of us who survive them.

What can we learn from these two creative souls?