Saturday, September 4, 2010
Leonardo da Vinci's power to question
(Leonardo da Vinci's drawing (vision?) of a flying machine)
In the book How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb, a parallel of our time with the Renaissance can be a starting point to view what might be called "the power of the maestro."
The Renaissance was a time in history that occurred after the Black Plague swept through Europe and eliminated almost one half of the population. As the wealthy began to invest in independent scholarship, answers were sought outside of prayer and dogma. Intellectual energy surged at this time and human power and potentiality was reborn. This included a number of discoveries and inventions such as the mechanical clock, the magnetic compass and the printing press. It was precisely this passion for discovery that helped to meet the challenges of the time.
With no concept of time in the 1400s, versus being controlled by the clock in the 2000s, this parallel remains: to be an independent thinker requires one to recognize one's power to question. It is this power that leads one, as it did da Vinci, to develop theories or as da Vinci suggests, "to work miracles..." da Vinci.
Thus the miracle of understanding something such as the power of water lies in the questioning of that power.
Consequently, through this questioning comes knowledge, "I know how to cut off water from the trenches...in conducting water from one place to another."
Therefore is it a guess or a theory, if Leonardo da Vinci knew that independent thinking would result in the building of the Hoover Dam, would he consider it a miracle of human genius? I believe so.
His drawings, as we shall see in further blogs, proves his vision for things unheard of and never before considered were, in fact, miracles in the making.