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
She proposes discarding the modern concept of claiming complete
for creative sparks, and re-instituting the ancient idea of sharing the
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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. :)