On Thursday, I was stuck. I had started several stories, and they weren’t going anywhere.
After pulling my hair in frustration for quite a while I went for a walk. Where I live there’s an old, spectacular Arab castle just up the hill, with a forest-like park on the hillside underneath. As I walked up in the light from the streetlamps I heard two little owls calling each other. I stopped. Stood there listening, between big trees and ancient ruins. There it was.
I walked home down the narrow roads, another way than where I had come up. The atmosphere was beautiful. Old houses behind the walls. Some abandoned. Tranquillity.
I came home, started writing. The ambient of the story was set, and I wrote a little text about an owl in a window. It was missing meaning, it was missing a worthy end. I was still stuck. I started searching the web for myths and meanings behind owls. In the fantastic collection of information called Wikipedia I read about Athena, or Minerva as she’s called in Roman mythology. Her owl symbolised wisdom. On the end of the article there was a quote of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk. History is understood only when it’s passed.
So the idea of making him understand something too late emerged. But what did he understand? Listening to Portishead with my girlfriend I decided it was about a woman, but my mind was still blocked. The question was why she had left him. None of my ideas seemed satisfying.
I know Hegel only from what others have said about him, and some philosophers I respect deeply hold him high. I grabbed my Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and started freshening up my memory. To make it short, Hegel has some very interesting thoughts on freedom.
I had my story.