Naughtiness and Creativity

Humour – like romance, like drama, like excitement – needs boundaries. It needs rules, lines, differences, be they social (as in Fawlty Towers), cultural (Borat), gender-based (Tootsie) or moral. As in sex.

This, arguably, is a primary purpose of organised religion. In giving us rules to break it lets us sustain into adulthood a child’s delight in naughtiness. Childish, sure, and deeply, almost definitively human, the urge to transgress is also a constant, renewable source of creative energy.

And the more forbidden the sex – the more illicit, immoral or commercial – the greater the potential excitement, creativity and fun.

The above entertaining quote comes from this opinion piece on legalization of the sex industry in The Sydney Morning Herald by Elizabeth Farrelly. In this case, however, I’m more interested in it for its statements regarding creativity, energy, and humor. Today, write about the subject of boundaries, mores, morals, and their relationship to creativity. How do you think a culture’s mores relate to the creative output of that culture’s people?


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