The End of ‘Genius’ - NYTimes.com: The pair is the primary creative unit — not just because pairs produce such a staggering amount of work but also because they help us to grasp the concept of dialectical exchange. At its heart, the creative process itself is about a push and pull between two entities, two cultures or traditions, or two people, or even a single person and the voice inside her head. Indeed, thinking itself is a kind of download of dialogue between ourselves and others. And when we listen to creative people describe breakthrough moments that occur when they are alone, they often mention the sensation of having a conversation in their own minds.
This phenomenon is so uncanny that the writer Elizabeth Gilbert has proposed that we return to the myth of the muses to help characterize it. That doesn’t mean there literally are “fairies who follow people around rubbing fairy juice on their projects and stuff,” Ms. Gilbert has said. But the core experience described by the muse-creator interaction — that of one entity helping to inspire another — is almost always true.