Musing and Muses

Charles Payne
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 12:01 AM

Seven Ways of Wasting Time to be Guarded Against

1. Indefinite musing
2. Anticipating needlessly
3. Needless speculation
4. Indulgence in reluctance to begin a duty
5. In doubtful cases, not deciding at once
6. Musing needlessly on what has been said or done, or what may be
7. Spending time in reveries which should be spent in prayer

Mary Lyon - Founder, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary

Mary Lyon was one of the most influential education pioneers in American history, having started Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (which officially became Mount Holyoke College in 1889). Mount Holyoke's high educational standards led to it being called one of the "Seven Sisters" women's schools of higher learning, on par with male Ivy League counterparts. There was a focus on English grammar, math, US history, and geography. It was unheard of at the time for women to take seven courses of science and math in order to graduate. Students were required to bring:

A Bible
An Atlas
A Dictionary
Two Spoons

Mary Lyon was determined to empower women through education and hard work. What a sharp contrast to this period where a new report from Heritage points to more than 70% of government spending going toward dependency programs. What a sharp contrast to the idea of lowering educational standards and focusing on community colleges. What a sharp contrast to the narrative that we are not a nation of rugged individuals but a collective that must somehow allow the government to guide our lives, even usurp our religious beliefs. The thing is this is the perfect time for a government looking to rule all aspects of our lives to set up their campaign.

Our economy held at the right time, but we are but a shadow of our former greatness.

In so many ways it feels like the country has put it on pause, just kind of waiting to be inspired, to be motivated to try harder. It feels like we're marking time and have been since after the tech bubble crashed.  But this affliction actually goes back further than that in society at large and in corporate America. We put it in neutral. We kick problems, like cans, down the road and don't buy time as much as indulge in reluctance. We speculate and assume the worse, and take action to bandage wounds we have yet to suffer. We are afraid and doubtful as much as we are indifferent and confused.

Source of Inspiration

"Thus the whole day long till the setting of the sun the gods feasted, nor did their heart lack anything of the equal feast, nor of the beauteous lyre, that Apollo held, nor yet of the Muses, who sang, replying one to the other with sweet voices." - "Iliad" Homer

In Greek mythology the Muses were goddesses that were the source of inspiration. They remembered all that had come to pass while imparting knowledge through very special skill sets. An American hallmark is the want to be inspired and to love a great story that can be emulated but we aren't doing that anymore. Our favorite recording artist loses a ton of weight and we order a fancy weight loss system only to give up after barely trying. We hear sweet voices that bring tears but don't nudge us to take action. On the contrary, we are being told those that would have inspired us in another era should now receive our scorn and disdain.

There are no sweet voices out there and no day-long feasts. It's been a long grind, and we have a long way to go but our hearts lack inspiration. The beautiful thing is I think greatness is in our genes - we have to find a way to tap into that wellspring and get back to where we can be inspired, we can hear the music, we can play the music and we can dance at our accomplishments. It begins with being reminded that we are great. It then needs a set of marching orders that mostly command Americans to reach deep inside their own souls and guts. And then it needs to be massaged with messages of love, reminders of tragedies overcome and history of giants on whose shoulders we stand as we reach higher as individuals.

Throughout history many have been labeled (by themselves or others) as the tenth muse but I think we already have one in the form of Mary Lyon.

Lyon's students were required to walk and participate in calisthenics daily, became missionaries and taught around the world spreading American influence and values (her only book was titled "A Missionary Offering") while even more graduates taught out of one-room schoolhouses of the western frontier. Upon her death several books on her life were written, including "The Power of Christian Benevolence" by Edward Hitchcock in 1851. It seems clear to me this is what the nation is missing - a rally cry and mandate that gets us off trillions of dollars in dependency and on the road to inspired freedom.

Instead of finger pointing and blame, or watered down tests, the tools are simple and have a great track record. Let's reach for that Bible, Atlas, Dictionary and Two Spoons. And let's reach down deep and retrieve that greatness.

Yesterday's Session

It's beginning to feel anti-climatic. There is going to be a deal to hit banks for $26.0 billion, ostensibly for robo-signings, but really just another sin-tax for being business people. I know there are horror stories out there, but 99% of people foreclosed on were in the system and it was going to happen.

Be that as it may, that news is out and so, too, is a Greek debt deal. I don't have the details yet but the news sent our equities higher, but not as much as advertised. Moreover, initial jobless claims are out and lower than expected but even that news hasn't sparked the market the way it would have a couple weeks ago. There's a chance the market needs a break.