Does happiness chase away the creative ability? This intriguing New York Times article suggests that depression and its attendant emotions might play an evolutionary role that has led to its being preserved in the human species across time, perhaps for the creative advantages that it confers.
Imagine, no Lascaux cave art, if it weren't for a miserable young hunter who missed his great prey on the plains. Instead, he decided to draw his quarry on the walls, trying to recapture the figure and spirit of the animal that had eluded him in reality.
I exaggerate of course, but there's no proof to the contrary, either. As to the article's premise that heightened pain can result in a heightened attention to detail, I can attest to that from just merely the experience of physical pain (as in a migraine), tiny things jump out with greater clarity, cutting through the pain and embedding themselves in the brain- the angle of the sun, the smell of cooking oil twenty yards away, the imperceptible sway of a branch, the suddenly deafening rendition of the same phrase for the nth time by the robin outside in the yew tree...
Just imagine how it must be for someone who is under the considerable mental anguish that accompanies a depressive state, and it becomes easier to postulate why this horrendous condition might have persisted over the millenia that it took for homo sapiens to evolve to their current state.