Bones of Invention
A growing number of orthopedic surgeons are putting their clinical
experience to good use designing innovative products and
Michael Barbella • Managing Editor
O for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of
invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act, And monarchs to
behold the swelling scene! — William Shakespeare, Act 1, “Henry V”
Muses long have been the impetus of creative genius. Virtually since the dawn of civilization, man has attributed his intellectual and artistic pursuits to the
influence of a muse, though the deity has lost much of its
immortality over the course of history.
Ancient Greeks routinely sourced their bursts of creativity to
the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified)—caretakers of the world’s knowledge and innovation. Primordial literature portrays the Muses as intelligent, beautiful
divinities with a bit of a vengeful streak. In one myth, for instance, the ennead judged a contest between Apollo and
Marsyas, and punished the loser—Marsyas, naturally, for even
thinking he could beat a god—by flaying him alive in a cave
near the river city of Celaenae. (Apollo, according to legend,
then flaunted his victory by nailing Marsyas’skin to a pine tree).
Photo courtesy of the Laser Spine Institute.
In another parable, the Muses stripped European songbird
Thamyris of his talent after he challenged them to a singing
contest and (as expected) lost.
While the overall concept of muses has remained largely intact over millennia, the creatures gradually have evolved into
more ephemeral beings with many of the faults and foibles Calliope and her sisters reviled. Literary scholars, for example, still
question the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s“The Dark
Lady.”Some believe he based the mysterious, lusty character in
those sonnets on an actual woman while others contend the
mistress with raven-black eyes and“black wire” hair is merely
the product of an extremely creative mind.
Raven-haired beauty Gala Dali (born Elena Ivanovna Di-akonova) served as both muse and model to surrealist artist Salvador Dali and various other artists and musicians, including
American singer Jeff Fenholt, who is famous for his portrayal as the
title character in the Broadway musical“Jesus Christ Superstar.”Dali
repeatedly credited Gala with saving his life, as he oftentimes
feared dying young and succumbing to overwhelming insanity.