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December 8, 2006

Driven to Learn and understand

I just finished reading the book, "Leonardo, the first scientist," by Michael White. It's a great book! I loved the writing and the clear logical appraisal of Leonardo's work and life. For sure, Leonardo had the motivation and energy to learn. Sometimes though our own attitudes and beliefs get in the way of true learning. Leonardo knew this. According to this book Leonardo held many of the beliefs of Aristotle and the ancients when he began his artistic and scientific life in Florence. Many of the ideas held as fact by the philosophers he abandoned when the truth was revealed by experience and experimentation. For example, Michael White writes about Leonardo's studies of the eye and optics. It was once believed that the way sight works is by our eyes sending out beams of light to objects and bouncing back. Through some simple experiments Leonardo proved that it cannot happen in this way. Otherwise we would not be able to see near and far things in the same amount of time instantly when we open our eyes.
It seems Leonardo understood just how vast the chasm and how incomplete human knowledge really is. This was one of his motivators for discovery. Even today, after all of the scientific wonders discovered and the vast amounts of shared knowledge, we still haven't scratched the surface of what's available to discover. If we have a desire to know.

Posted by carl1236 at December 8, 2006 10:40 PM | Learning