Discussing “How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci” by Michael Gelb with my son as part of our Reading sessions opened new insights.
Why did the Renaissance take place when it did?
For 1000 years prior, European accomplishments in the realms of science and exploration were negligible. Throughout the Middle Ages, the vast majority of human intellectual energy and effort was diverted to questions of doctrinal minutae and “holy” war. Instead of exploring new lands, innovations, and ideas, the best minds engaged in debates on how many angels could fit on the head of a pin.
My sons smiled at this and we went on to a reason which came from the realm of biology and public health.
The seminal event occurred in 14th centry when the Black Plague swept through Europe. Almost one half of the population was destroyed in a rapid and hideous fashion. Priests, bishops, nobles and knights died in the same proportion as peasants, serfs, harlots and tradesmen. Devotion, piety, and loyalty to the church provided no protection, shaking the faith of people from all walks of life. In what was at first an almost imperceptibly subtle shift of consciousness , answers were sought outside of prayer and dogma.
What would a modern Leonardo tell in his application.
We have been following the dictionary project for some years. After reading a passage we go through some words and discuss them.
Going through the application of Leonardo written to Ludovio Sforza in 1482 , we went through the military engineering capabilities which he wrote about
– I can make cannon, mortars, and light ordinance , of very beautiful and useful shapes
– I can supply catapults, mangonels, traps and other engines of wonderful efficacy
What would a Modern 21st century Leonardo present as his capabilities.
That brought us to the modern war machines and use of drones.
Drone (Oxford dictionary)- An unmanned aircraft.
Innovations in science
Gene- A unit inside a cell which controls a particular quality in a living thing that has been passed on from is parents.
Probably a modern Leonardo would have applied telling of his capabilities to make better drones or innovate stem cell therapy.
As we finished Part One of the book -How to think like Leonardo, we decided to use humor and art in our everyday lives as a tool to gain insight. This was inspired by the part one of Viktor Frankl’s book “Man Search for meaning” in which he writes how even in the dire circumstances of concentration camps the inmates used the methods of drama and humor to lighten up their atmosphere.
The book on Leonardo helps open many interesting discussions as we continue our readings.
Other posts of interest
The reading lists have opened many interesting journeys for us
Reading lists in Mumbai…Searching for books
“Go to the bookstores at Girgaum Chowpatty and find these titles” one experienced bookshop owner and lover of books at Kalbadevi opposite Metro cinema suggested to me as I tried to see where I could find the remaining five books.
Walks and Readings in Malta…Remembering Crossgates…George Orwell-
“ I have never been back to Crossgates. In a way it is only within the lst decade that I have really thought over my school days, vividly through their memory has haunted me. Nowadays, I believe, it would make very little impression on me to see the place again, if it still exists