Creative constraints

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or … does it?

If you’re like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why?

Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

With each invention, the engineers demonstrated an essential habit of scientific thinking – that solutions must recognize the limitations of current technology in order to advance it.

Understanding constraints guides scientific progress, and what’s true in science is also true in many other fields.

Constraints aren’t the boundaries of creativity, but the foundation of it.

— The power of creative constraints

— Lesson by Brandon Rodriguez

— animation by CUB Animation

— TED-Ed

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We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

— Carl Jung

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2018.02.17 Saturday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

機遇再生論 1.5

例如,

甲在過身之後,一千億年內會重生。

是句「科學句」(經驗句),因為你知道在什麼情境下,可以否證到它 —— 如果你在甲過身後,等了一千億年,甲還未重生的話,那句就為之錯。

但是,

甲在過身之後,只要等足夠長的時間,必會重生。

則沒有任何科學意義,只是一句「重言句」;因為,沒有人可以講得出,它在什麼情況下,為之錯。

如果你等了一千億年,甲還未重生的話,這個「機遇再生論」,仍然不算錯;因為,那只代表了,那一千億年,還未「足夠長」。

把「重言句」假扮成「經驗句」,就為之「空廢命題」。

(請參閱本網誌,有關「重言句」、「經驗句」和「印證原則」的文章。)

但是,那不代表我們,應該立刻放棄,機遇再生論。反而,我們可以試行「同情地理解」。

「同情地理解」的意思是,有些理論,雖然在第一層次的分析之後,有明顯的漏洞,但是,我們可以試試,代入作者發表該理論時的,心理狀態和時空情境;研究作者發表該理論的,緣起和動機;從而看看,該理論不行的原因,會不會只是因為,作者的語文或思考不夠清晰,表達不佳而已?

其實,該理論的「真身」,可能充滿著新知洞見。那樣的話,我們就有機會把「機遇再生論」,翻譯成有意義,不空廢的版本。

所以,「同情地理解」亦可稱為「意念淘金術」。

機遇再生論,可以同情地理解為,有以下的意思:

(而這個意思,亦在「機遇再生論」的原文中,用作其理據。)

假設,你現在手中,有一副樸克牌,存在於某一個排列 A 。洗牌一次之後,排列仍然是 A 的機會極微。

一副完整的撲克牌,共有 N = 54! = 2.3 \times 10^{71} 個,可能的排列。亦即是話,洗牌後仍然是排列 A 的機會率,只有 \frac{1}{N}

由於分母 N 太大(相當於 2 之後,還有 71 個位),洗牌後,理應變成另外一個排列 B 。

P(A) = \frac{1}{N}

P(not A) = 1 - \frac{1}{N}

— Me@2017-12-18 02:51:11 PM
 
 
 
2017.12.18 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

同情地理解

「同情地理解」的意思是,從對方的情境中,去理解對方的言論。

當別人的言論錯漏百出時,未必需要立刻否定;你可以易地而處,嘗試估計對方為何要那樣說,企圖要表達的真正意思是什麼。

但是,自己發表言論時,則不應假設,別人會同情地理解;因為,如果自己的言論,時常要別人同情地理解,才能有機會理解到的話,那會反映你的語言邏輯能力,十分有問題。

— Me@2015-10-07 08:41:51 AM

2015.10.08 Thursday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

神作

這段改編自 2010 年 4 月 10 日的對話。

我在網上看到一句說話:

Design is a side effect.

傑作是一種副作用。

(安:什麼意思?)

我不太清楚,作者的原本意思是什麼。我估計,作者想講的,是「form follows function」(形式隨功能)。

大學時候,書院通識科目中,第一科叫做「通識教育導論」。該科的其中一課,由一位建築學教授主講。他在該課中,提到建築學之中,其中一個設計哲學,叫做「form follows function」。你記不記得?

(安:不記得。)

太過份了,你竟然不記得。你不留心聽課,導致少了很多「思考工具」。那現在怎麼辦呢?

不要緊,我可以解釋。

「形式隨功能」這個建築哲學的意思是,一座建築物的設計,並不應純粹是天馬行空,亦不應只顧追求美觀。

或者說,一座建築物之所以視為「設計美觀」,其中一個原因是,那個設計十分有用。美觀,不單只包括視覺之美,還應包括功用之美。兩者缺一不可。

而最高層次的建築,除了可以描述成,「包括了這兩種美」之外,還可以解釋成:

『功用甲』因為必須有『外形乙』才能運行,引發了『外形乙』這個設計;而『外形乙』偏偏亦是,眾多設計中,視覺上最美的。

沒有「功用甲」這動機緣起,就沒有「外形乙」這個設計;視覺上,那建築反而沒有那麼美觀。

例如,Google 公司(谷歌)的搜尋器網站,只有她的商標和一行搜尋欄,十分簡單、直接,沒有任何額外的東西,去滋擾用者。所以,Google 搜尋器網站的設計,堪稱「神作」。

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

那「近乎零設計」的緣起,原來是 Google 公司成立之初,創辦人沒有資金,去聘請一位專業的設計師,去製作一個「豐富」和「專業」的網站。所以,Sergey Brin 就「製作」了一個可用,但「近乎零設計」的搜尋器網站。

— Me@2014.02.17

2014.02.18 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

一步一生 1.1

這段改編自 2010 年 4 月 3 日的對話。

很少工作,會好像我現在的工作一樣,有那麼大的影響力。

(安:何出此言呢?)

有時,我一句說話可以節省別人幾個月,甚至幾年的時間。例如,有學生說想看某一本書。但是,我年青時看過那本書,知道它不好。所以,我建議他不要看。如果他肯聽我這個意見,他就立刻節省了多個星期的時間。

又例如,另一個學生在大學選科時,想修某一科。但是,我年青時聽過一些可靠的朋友講過,那一科不好,教授非常不負責任。所以,我建議他選過另一個主修。如果他肯聽我這個意見,他就立刻節省了幾年的時間。

(安:不只幾年吧?大學主修的科目不同,整個人生路向也會完全改寫。)

— Me@2013.04.23

2013.04.24 Wednesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

The Dark Knight Makes Sense

Magic | Science, 2  

Nolan’s Batman movies’ are created by making sense out of the nonsense, turning fictional elements into their corresponding reality-based versions. 

As long as you keep removing unreasonable elements, replacing them with reasonable ones, you can get a good story.

只要你把不合理的情節刪除,換上合理的版本,故事自然圓滿,人生方能完善。

— Me@2013.01.03

2013.01.04 Friday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Genius 2

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All children are born geniuses;

9999 out of every 10000 are swiftly,

inadvertently degeniusized by grownups.

– Buckminster Fuller

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The way to be a genius is to REALIZE that you are already one

as long as you can keep your child-self

against all the evils in the world.

– Me@2010.01.01

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2010.05.28 Friday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

The Divine Michelangelo, 2

這段改編自 2010 年 6 月 8 日的對話。

If you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius.

如果你知道我付出過多少努力,你就不會再覺得我是天才了。

— Michelangelo Buonarroti

成龍電影的好處是,通常在電影完結後,都會播出該部電影的「NG 鏡頭」,令觀眾知道,電影中的每一個有型動作,都是來自拍攝時,數十次的嘗試。

現實世界中,你所見到的「天才」,其實都是那樣:做事不行時,就繼續試,試到行為止。然後,將那些不行的情節「刪除」,不讓世人知道。那樣,世人就會有個錯覺,以為那些「天才」的成就,真的是來自「一步登天」。

例如,達文西(Leonardo da Vinci)畫一隻手時,要先畫四十幅草稿:一幅畫外形、一幅畫骨骼 和 一幅畫血管 等等。之後,他才會正式畫那一隻手。[1]

又例如,「文藝復興藝術三傑」中的另外一傑,是米高安哲羅(Michelangelo)。他是一位畫家、雕刻家 和 建築師。他在晚年時,刻意把一生之中的所有草稿燒毀。另外,再把任何 未完成 或者 未臻完善 的作品,都一一刪除。他只容許自己最好的一面,留給歷史。那樣,他就為自己,塑造了一個「神人」的形象。

知道這一點後,你們就不要再被人欺騙。如果有一位同學在考試得滿分,而他又宣稱,他不是太用功的話,他大概是在說謊。

— Me@2012.11.04

[1] His continued investigations in this field occupied many pages of notes, each dealing systematically with a particular aspect of anatomy. It appears that the notes were intended for publication, a task entrusted on his death to his pupil Melzi. 

— Wikipedia on Science and inventions of Leonardo da Vinci

2012.11.04 Sunday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Negative reaction

IsaacL 286 days ago | link

Maybe it doesn’t apply so much for visual design, but I often find that a negative reaction to a new concept or piece of software is better than a “meh” reaction. One example: I made a browser game a few years back, one of the early players posted a huge rant about how frustrating the game was, I fixed the design issues they raised, they grew to love the game.

So I tend to think that a negative reaction is often a sign you have something good, but flawed. You don’t want people saying “yeah, that’s kinda cool”, you want them saying “OMG THIS THING SUCKS I’M TRYING TO GET IT TO DO X BUT I CANT BECAUSE IT DOESNT HAVE FEATURE Y” – at least in the second case you know you have something they want, and you know how to fix it.

— Hacker News

2012.08.13 Monday ACHK

Collector 2

時間管理 4.2

After being as exhaustive as you can, you can be selective. As a beginner, you have to be exhaustive anyway: don’t think that other beginners can have any shortcuts. Remember, no one, even genius, can violate the principle of hardwork.

— Me@2008.10.28

2012.03.14 Wednesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK

Generalizing a problem

One of the many articles on the Tricki that was planned but has never been written was about making it easier to solve a problem by generalizing it (which initially seems paradoxical because if you generalize something then you are trying to prove a stronger statement). I know that I’ve run into this phenomenon many times, and sometimes it has been extremely striking just how much simpler the generalized problem is.

edited Sep 26 2010 at 8:34
gowers

Great question. Maybe the phenomenon is less surprising if one thinks that there are ∞ ways to generalize a question, but just a few of them make some progress possible. I think it is reasonable to say that successful generalizations must embed, consciously or not, a very deep understanding of the problem at hand. They operate through the same mechanism at work in good abstraction, by helping you forget insignificant details and focus on the heart of the matter.

answered Sep 26 2010 at 10:27
Piero D’Ancona

— Generalizing a problem to make it easier

— MathOverflow

A general case has less information (details) than a special case. 

— Me@2012.03.10

2012.03.13 Tuesday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK