Restricting for creativity
Posted by aogWednesday, 19 May 2004 at 17:29 TrackBack Ping URL

How can the restrictions of a community help some one be more of an individual? There are two main points.

The first is specialization of effort. If you have to be all things then you’re not really anything. In a community it’s easier to focus on a more individualized task or simply to have the free time to do something individual but non-productive.

But the more subtle one is the reason (IMHO) that most modern poetry is lousy. Modernists claim that restrictive forms (such as rhyming, meter, sonnets) impede creativity. Yet the evidence of poetry is quite the opposite. On a mundane level, one need only look at limericks and haiku to see what some rather strong restrictions can do to bring out real creativity. In the same one, one can use the rhythms and structures of community life to actually help with shaping one’s own path.

Libertarians (of which I am one) tend to focus more on toxic levels of communitarianism. But the dose makes the poison and I don’t think enough is said in those circles about how communities can in fact contribute to realizing the libertarian ideals.