Creativity and Happiness

The Downside of Being Happy
by Ana Swanson

The idea that sadness somehow kindles creativity is a popular and long-lasting one. Its roots go back to antiquity; even Aristotle noted that those who excelled in the arts, politics and philosophy had a tendency toward “melancholia.” The artistic canon appears to be full of people whose dark mental states kindled their brilliance but also brought their lives to an early end — such as Vincent van Gogh, Anne Sexton, Mark Rothko, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

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