Jan 30 2019

Technical Muse

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 2:35

If you do not know what a muse is, here are a few definitions:

1. Greek Mythology: Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
2. muse
a. A guiding spirit.
b. A source of inspiration: the lover who was the painter’s muse.
3. muse Archaic:A poet.
(source:https://www.thefreedictionary.com/muse)

The most wide spread meaning, aside the band of course, is a source of inspiration. And it is usually used when talking about artists. The Romanian national poet had quite a few muses, and being a heterosexual white men, clearly they were women. His romantic poems are hymns to their beauty and how they made him feel. Ask the members of Fleetwood Mac who their songs are about, or ask The Beatles members or John Mayer. Their best creations are about a person that they either loved or admired so much that the overall feeling was one of worship. The subject has been even approached in Californication series in season six. The best creations of artists are born when a muse is involved. It is not always have to be a woman, it can be a heart-shattering event or a drop of rain if the artist is in the right state of mind(or high enough :D). But, in my later years I noticed that muses are not present(and necessary) only in the art world.

Fortunately I don’t need a muse for my work, but I do need discipline, time and the right state of mind. But I’ve had an epiphany recently, while talking to a good friend of mine.

You know how in IT there’s a technique called Rubber Duck Debugging, which involves talking to another person or a rubber duck if there’s no one available trying to explain the problem you are having in multiple ways, to gain new perspectives with the final goal of finding a solution? Well, that rubber duck, or the person can only help you so much, it cannot really inspire you, or maybe they cannot ask the right questions, or provide the incentive you need for you to properly focus on solving the problem. But you know who can do all that? A muse.

Well, for this friend of mine, I’ve always been a technical muse. The irony is that even if we both work in IT, he is working in a slightly different area, but I still can ask the right technical questions, provide the appropriate advice and inspiration that help him find solutions and keep him engaged in his work. He is the one that made me realize I am good at this. And because of my strong technical background, I can actually provide some real technical assistance too. He started joking that he will hire me as a muse and pay for my services, but I am still like… what the actual fuck?

That is until another person asked me for help with a project. Initially I was, like: No, I don’t have the time, Don’t pay me, let’s see if I have any idea of what you are trying to do here, etc. But slowly, I was able to provide the technical help and advice necessary to make the project happen. And because he was in a difficult situation at work, a lot of managers and architects involved, each with their opinion and reasons for putting their mark on his solution, with little valid technical arguments I might say, I also advised him what to say in order to make things happen his way. And apparently it worked.

So here I am, apparently I am a technical muse. I know how this sounds. And I know this sounds just as ridiculous as Technical –  Evangelist, Monk, Champion or Guru. I never liked those terms, because IT is a logical domain. And regarding those terms – it’s not a religion, it’s not a belief.

For me it’s something I enjoy a lot doing.I ‘m passionate about it, I am engaged, I am driven. But I would never try to “convert” someone to this domain or to the programming language I work in. Mozart made music for people to listen and enjoy, not to transform everybody into the genius that he was. He could probably teach someone his songs, but their interpretation and creations would be their own, and marked by their own inspiration and talent. I’m a bad ass at what I do. And it’s not just Java. It’s Software Engineering. I can share insights, I can direct a person in the right direction, but their path is their own. And I’m very good at this too.

So yeah, I’m a technical muse. Apparently. But I won’t use this term in the technical world until I get more than two people to recommend me as such. ;) So anybody out there needs a technical muse? :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

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