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Out of the box?

In his book "Imagine," Jonah Lehrer argues that too much freedom granted by too little structure may actually impair our imaginations, allowing them to run wild and lose focus.

Through the demands of adhering to strict rules governing the arrangement of words, the poet has to search harder, compose with more deliberation, and prod his imaginative abilities to find the perfect word to fit the limiting space.

In other words, less freedom inspires greater creativity.

Whether in artistry or in business, when we’re forced to work within the confines of structure, we can end up producing dazzling explosions of innovative genius.Freedom can only survive within a cultural structure limited by the conventions of the social contract, respect for the rules, and civil discourse.

The absurdity of political anarchy is that if we dismantled the restrictions imposed by authority we would end up trading the law of the land for the law of the jungle, where only the strongest are truly free. Social anarchy similarly tears down the structures that promote a healthy culture of civility and psychological well-being.

Success requires a perpetual balancing act between respecting the letter of the law and intuiting the spirit of the law, between evaluating the gray areas between what’s legal and illegal while critiquing the morality of the law itself.

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