This sentiment is almost exactly what Douglas Hofstadter and, indirectly, Tom Lehrer express in the book Le Ton Beau de Marot.

"In other words, Lehrer said, he had simply found himself dreaming up odd images that never would have occurred to him had he not been bound to make one line rhyme with another."

And you should see Things That Rhyme With Orange as an example of such creativity.

And Hofstadter talks of poetry translation, surely a task with some of the most demanding constraints, requiring preserving meaning certainly, and one would hope, the rythym, rhyme, and feeling of the original work. The main thesis here seems to be "Try Harder", (a good motto to remember when creating E2 nodes, and one I should certainly try to remember), and several truly amazing examples are given. The idea that constraints (or boundaries) can have a positive influence on creativity is demonstrated in spades in this book.

A thought which I've had before and weep to see so beautifully expressed by ferrouslepidoptera. I have to admit though, the inspiration for this was nodeshells. The inventiveness of the Nodeshell Rescue Team in filling in such titles as Until today, it really pissed me off that I'd become this totally centered Zen Master and nobody had noticed with an amusing piece of short prose is amazing. For a more classical reference, imagine writing in iambic pentameter for page on page, yet Shakespeare made some of the most beautiful lines in English under such constraint. Animation is another field where constraint-driven creativity often succeeds. In the TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the character Ikari Gendou is often shown with his elbows on a table, hands concealing his mouth. The pose is a major part of his character, and the cinematic effect of his secretive smiles hidden by his hands is stunning. Yet another reason for the pose is the bottom line - by blocking off his mouth when he spoke, the animators were able to avoid sketching out every mouth movement.

In a way though, every piece of art suffers from constraint in that it can not portray life in its every detail, no matter how realistic. Perhaps the stylized nature of art is what gives it power. But as anyone who's ever looked at a complex painting and started to design an entire world around the details inside knows, there is indeed creativity hidden in the boundaries.

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