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Hotchalk Global

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A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Musing on Muses

In 1999, Sharon Stone and Albert Brooks starred in a comedy called The Muse.  In it, Stone portrayed a “muse”, one of the daughters of Zeus who ‘s role it was to bring inspiration to the arts, sciences and poetry.  Throughout the film, Stone provided comedic inspiration to film directors, writers, producers, and eventually to Brook ‘s wife, an aspiring cookie baker.  The movie was light and charming and inspired me to do some research on the actual Greek muses, real life muses throughout history and how we view muses today.

According to Greek mythology, the muses were a group of nine very intelligent, very beautiful divinities created by Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of memory.  They were brought to life to help the world “dis-remember” evil and soothe sorrows. They followed Apollo, and were soon associated with writing, the arts, humanities and science.  The term “muse” is actually the root word for a word we hear and use everyday- music.  Modern history often refers to a muse as a woman who inspires the highest art that a man can bring forth.  Artists throughout history are said to have been inspired by scores of muses, often attributing their greatest works to the women who ignited divine inspiration in their soul.

Salvador Dali, Spain ‘s famous surrealist painter, lived with and then married his muse Gala.  Dali did countless sketches of her and a number of paintings. In more recent history, John Lennon attributed most of his post Beatles output to a woman whom he devoted his life to- Yoko Ono.  

There are hundreds of examples in literature and the arts of artists and their muses.  In our techno-oriented culture today, do muses still play a role?  And if so how? Can ‘t we all use a bit of “dis-remembering” evil and having our sorrows soothed?  Isn ‘t arts education like being a muse- inspiring students to strive for their greatest potential?  As artists, who are our muses?  And in turn, who are we muses to?

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