I’m old enough to have come of age intellectually when Hardt and Negri were making a splash with their Empire. Sitting close to the heart of that book was a call for new virtue rooted in poverty. I remember more than a few folks I knew at the time feeling like this was some sort of romantic claptrap and, having been poor, I was inclined to agree with them.
I keep turning over the relationship between force and culture over in my head. It’s an old concern for me, and Gordon’s recent post about the potential failures of multiculturalism as a conceptual apparatus for dealing with the lived reality of cultural diversity has helped catalyze a few insights out of the churn.
So then—what happens if you make a distinction between what you tell your friends and what you tell your Muse? The problem is to break down that distinction: When you approach the Muse to talk as frankly as you would talk with yourself or with your friends.
That’s from Ginsberg, again. Ginsberg is an artist and when artists talk about the spirit who surrounds and stimulates them, they talk about their muse. But the muse isn’t just an artistic concern; it’s a spiritual one. What Ginsberg calls his muse, I suspect the Yeatses would call his daemon (but do remember that not all inspiration is personal). That is a spirit that is personal to you, that is literally a part of your spiritual person.