Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Noble Effect of Heaven-Sent Madness

Eva Hesse

I have been reading Steven Pressfield's the WAR of ART. It is a wonderful book which deals with recognizing, confronting and overcoming Resistance. Resistance being the spectacular list of excuses we make for not living the life we want to live, or make the art we want to make etc. I highly recommend this book.

The book is meaty but easy to read and is broken into three "books". In Book Two he presents the idea of the Muses and the role they play in creativity. The following passage rang very loud and clear to me in relation to some of the things I have been mulling over and hearing from you.


"Here's Socrates, in Plato's Phaedrus, on the "noble effect of heaven-sent madness":

The third type of possession and madness is possession by the Muses. When this seizes upon a gentle and virgin soul it rouses it to inspired expression in lyric and other sorts of poetry, and glorifies countless deeds of the heroes of old for the instruction of posterity. But if a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.


Happy Thanksgiving to you all and may the Muses fill your studio. (Just be aware that you have to invite them.)

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  1. I read that book a few years ago and really, really liked it. Being open to letting resistance go is one of my creative obstacles. I do it when I travel---I'm open to adventure, to love, to being in the moment and seeing the divine.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Terry.

  2. Thank you PM! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well and thank you for your comment. Resistance is a strong force and learning to move past it is a big step to our most creative work and I think this book is a jewel.