We have rarely been under such pressure to find new ways of thinking about the intractable problems we face, from the individual ones of earning a living, to the global ones of collective survival. If ever we need the help of the Muses, it’s now.
The Greeks believed there are nine Muses, eight for the arts plus one for astronomy. None for science, or commerce, or politics. The Muses do creation, not politics. As far as we know, they are still doing their stuff, and our artists often depend on them. They do however appear to be fickle. They don’t have an agent, or a direct line. They don’t do house calls. They do respond to hard work.
It’s tempting to wait for the Muse to appear, with a neat powerpoint presentation and a solution to the problem we face, but it doesn’t work that way. If you sit patiently, deep in meditiation, she still won’t appear. You’ll wait a very long wait. You may end up understanding yourself and your place in the world better, but you won’t get an answer.
Your Muse needs you to do the work first. To do whatever you do, however humble. To do it as well as you know how and she won’t mind if you fail a few times, as long as it’s good failure, not just giving up and going home.
She’ll turn up just as you’re about to give up, when you’ve wrung every last idea out of your hurting head and aching heart.
She’s in great demand. The price she demands is effort. If we want to meet her we need to start where we are and do the work.