A Creative Change of Heart

Posted 14 Feb 2009 at 16:36 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love", has an interesting talk on TED concerning anxiety and frustration among creative people who find themselves struggling to capture and implement ideas coming at them, seemingly from elsewhere. She proposes discarding the modern concept of claiming complete responsibility for creative sparks, and re-instituting the ancient idea of sharing the glory with an outside source in order to lessen the burden of implementation, guilt of failure, and fear of languishing after an unbeatable success. The result can be a more enjoyable creative process where individual human pride is diminished, and fame and praise are shared.

interesting lecture, posted 15 Feb 2009 at 04:59 UTC by steve » (Master)

I have quite a few artist friends who claim to draw their creativity from outside sources, real or imagined; though the most common term I hear for this is a muse rather than "magic fairies" as Gilbert proposes. Got a laugh out the idea of magic fairies using "fairy juice" as the mode of creativity transmission - I always thought they used fairy dust! :)

The idea of transferring the blame for failures, sharing successes, and drawing creativity from a muse never really died out, at least among some groups of creative people. Maybe writers are just behind the curve when it comes to transference! Intriguing idea that abandoning the muse is responsible for so many mentally unstable writers.

So, my question is - given that robotics is a very creative endeavour, how many robot builders have tried drawing creativity from muses, whether imagined ones like Gilbert's fairies and elves, or real ones like lovers?

I can't say that I've ever consciously cultivated a muse but I can say that when programming, I sometimes experience that epiphany when you get a really, really good idea and, as she describes with poet Ruth Stone, it's very easy to imagine the forming of such an idea as a metaphorical force from outside of your head. And I've also experienced the frustration of having the perfect idea and not having a keyboard in hand to record it.

Gilbert and Ayala both speaking in Dallas this month, posted 15 Feb 2009 at 17:26 UTC by steve » (Master)

By an odd coincidence two people we've mentioned in recent stories are speaking in the Dallas area in Feb.

On Feb 20, Francisco Ayala, the evolutionary biologist and former Dominican priest, will be speaking at SMU on evolution and religion. The lecture is at 5 p.m. in the Ballroom of SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center. As far as I know there is no cost. I'm definitely going to attend this one. (by the way, this Francisco Ayala is the father of the Francisco Ayala of the DPRG - in case anyone was wondering)

On Feb 24 Elizabeth Gilbert is speaking at the Charles W. Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX. Looks like it'll cost you $37 a pop to hear Gilbert and it's unclear what the subject will be. You can find a little more info in the I Live in Dallas blog.

missed the boat, the dock, and the entire marina, posted 18 Feb 2009 at 19:37 UTC by Rog-a-matic » (Master)

I think you might have missed her point. She is not saying that creative people should attempt to draw from a muse, but is offering it as a method of attenuating the stress and sense of burden that can occur when a spark does appear. Of course this sharing of the burden must also be accompanied by sharing of the glory if one is to be consistent. That's the part that some creative people would not be willing to share.

missing the fairy boat, posted 19 Feb 2009 at 21:13 UTC by steve » (Master)

Yeah, I got the sharing blame/glory part. I just found the nature of the muse itself the more interesting part of her talk. She seems partial to idea fairies but there are plenty of other alternative entities available for sharing and that started what I can only describe as a Swirling Brain moment for me. :)

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