Creative Economy and Ejaculation

by Ghani Kunto

Honoré de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright, once revealed to friends that while having sex, he preferred not to ejaculate out of fear that it would sap his creative energy.  A confidant reported, “Sperm to him meant emission of purest cerebral substance, and therefore a filtering, a loss through the member, of a potential act of artistic creation.”  Balzac himself once said after climaxing during intercourse: “This morning I have lost a novel!”

Wow, talk about losing your creative juices.

Balzac wasn’t the only author concerned with preserving creativity.  Charles Dickens, for example, insisted on sleeping with his head facing the North Pole, maintaining that alignment with the earth’s magnetic fields fostered creativity.


Some of us place such a premium on creativity that we would buy Edward de Bono books in hopes that we could increase our creativity.  But how many of us really religiously follow the brain exercise programs that his books (and other books on creativity) recommended?

To be creative takes work.

An organization or a government (like Singapore did a few years back) could decree that it should be “more creative,” but does it know what it takes to become creative?  Are the people involved motivated enough to do what it takes to become more creative?

Google tries to foster creativity by providing a fun workplace.  I’m not sure if they instinctually decided on a playful office, or if they’re following research results (research shows that people are generally more creative when their minds are at ease), but I bet if my workspace was like that, I’d be more creative.


Over the past years, the Indonesian government has talked (and talked, and talked) about fostering a creative economy in Indonesia.  The rhetoric basically boils down to giving more support to the arts and creative industry.

I think the administration is missing a chance for a bigger shift in society.

Why not talk about creative economy in a more inclusive manner? Why not support every industry to be more creative, instead of supporting just a few industries?  There are many ways the administration can do this (and the smart people at parliament should be able to brainstorm more ideas that I could ever do alone).

Here’s an idea: create a movement to reduce stress levels of road users.  This may not necessarily mean reducing traffic jam (though that’d be nice), but more to do with making turning traffic from something to endure to something to enjoy.

How would less traffic stress induce creativity?

Consider how negative emotions have a narrowing effect on our thoughts.  Our bodies tense up and our field of vision narrows.  It’s great in helping us focus when responding to fight/flight stimulus, but it’s terrible at fostering creativity.

Positive emotions have the opposite effect.  They broaden and build our repertoire of thoughts and actions.  Joy makes us want to play.  We’re more willing to fool around and explore new activities.  This is how we help kids learn.  So, why don’t we use the same techniques to help this nation learn to be more creative?

You want to foster creativity?  You have to be willing to put in the work.

You want a creative economy?  You have to be willing to make this country a fun, joyous place to live.