Because lines are important to Humans. We intuitively look for the edges and seek out patterns. One organisation found that even a vertical line protruding from a wall by a few inches helped its teams to focus on the task better.
Even if we’re given a blank sheet of paper to fill, the paper has edges – do we go landscape or portrait, do we write on it or sculpt it? Even if we talk about thinking “outside the box”, the box is the reference point.
I’m going to be speaking at an event next month: for how long, who’ll be there, is there a basic shape?
We can still be free to do that thing we do, even with limitations and constraints, because we’re thinking about how to work freely around those lines we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for ourselves. If you want to make your art without any deference to the lines, you’re free to do this, but probably no one will want it.
The key is the way we think about these. We had nothing to do with the time or geography of our birth, or the technology and ways of thinking which come with these, but these are we accept and live and work with and seek to be creative with. Lines are just the starting point. It’s up to you and the thing you do to be creative hereon in. It’s the way you see things and think about things that determine where your greatest freedoms are to be found. And when you do this, you’ll possibly find yourself pointing out how the real constraints and limitations aren’t the ones everyone else sees.
The last freedom which can be taken from us, according to Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, is the freedom ‘to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’
When we understand this, limitations and constraints become the very things by which we flourish. We are able to take what the past has given to us, and we do something astonishingly different with it.