Love, Lust, Grand Romantic Gestures And A Creative Muse

John and Yoko.  Picasso and Sylvette David. Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.  Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer, Adam Young, Harry Styles, Connor Kennedy and no doubt many others including Calvin Harris to come… Many famous people have had a creative muse to help them on their way.  It’s even the same with little old me and a lot of posts on this here blog.

I think we’ve all been there.  I remember when I was travelling a lot and myself and one of the other guys I worked with promised ourselves we’d go to the gym in the morning.  We arrived early, did a weights session and then each jumped on the treadmill.  As we were just about finishing off our runs, a beautiful woman walked in to start her workout.  My colleague and I looked at each other and put another few kilometers at an increased speed on our dashboards and carried on!

It’s easy to see that biological fitness is displayed when the mating motive is triggered, but the same can also be said about creativity.

A guy called Vladas Griskevicius did a study called “Peacocks, Picasso, and parental investment: The effects of romantic motives on creativity” which showed that creativity was increased by the presence of a romantic creative muse.  One of the tests carried out by Griskevicius and his team was to ask the test group to write three stories – one in view of a picture of a street, one about what was happening in a cartoon and one in view of the most desirable romantic partner from a series of photos taken from Match.com.

With a picture of their muse on screen, the test group were asked to write a piece about the best first date with that person.  The results found that men were much more creative when they were faced with a picture of an attractive woman, but that women were pretty much unaffected.

It’s also worth noting with this study that the incentive of money didn’t help and nor did the fact that the men weren’t going to actually date the woman in the picture.  There was also no correlation with mood or arousal.  It was also noted that although men get more creative, they might actually get more stupid in a real life scenario due to the pressure of having to do something about the result!

Another study by Jens Forster titled “Why love has wings and sex has not: How reminders of love and sex influence creative and analytic thinking” found that test subjects primed with thoughts of love had the highest levels of creative insights (those primed with lust had the lowest), whereas those primed with thoughts of lust had the highest levels of analytical thinking (those primed with love had the lowest).

I thought these results were interesting, although trying to type what I want to say only really offers a semantic difference.

When one simply wants to get their end away with the object of their affections, the task becomes nearly a job.  It is something that is done as part of a process and is somewhat transactional, therefore you’re thinking about what needs to be done in the here and now to make it happen.  It becomes analytical, even if the analysis of the situation might then require creative solutions!

If, however, you want to tell the object of your affections exactly how much they mean to you (“a lot” in this instance!), you might go for the grand romantic gesture.  If I revert back to my usual muse, who is the only person I’ve properly done this on…

She was away on holiday before one Easter, and I wouldn’t get to see her before that Easter happened.  I was also cat sitting so had access to her flat.  I went and bought a load of little things and hid them round her flat in a kind of Easter Egg Hunt For The Lactose Intolerant.  In my mind, that required creativity and it was designed to make her happy rather than to get her to take her pants off.

That’s why it’s all the more interesting to go back to Griskevicius.  While men increased their creativity in every single condition, only women increased their creative output in one specific condition – after imagining wanting to attract a clearly trustworthy and committed long-term mate.  Women did not show a creative increase when primed to think about attracting a shorter-term mate or a potential long-term mate who had yet to prove his worth as good relationship material.

There may be biological reasons for this with women having far greater “risk” attached to a short term tryst than men, whereas a long term emotional attachment and relationship requires creativity from both sides.  That creativity shows your muse that one thing that you don’t get in short term engagements – commitment.

Everything about you is how I’d wanna be
Your freedom comes naturally
Everything about you resonates happiness
Now I won’t settle for less

Give me
All the peace and joy in your mind

Everything about you pains my envying
Your soul can’t hate anything
Everything about you is so easy to love
They’re watching you from above

Give me
All the peace and joy in your mind
I want the peace and joy in your mind
Give me the peace and joy in your mind

Everything about you resonates happiness
Now I won’t settle for less

Give me
All the peace and joy in your mind
I want the peace and joy in your mind
Give me the peace and joy in your mind

Bliss by Muse

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