Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Science of Leonardo

Fritjof Capra, an amazing systems thinker and writer has taken a slightly different route in his latest – The Science of Leonardo, Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance. It’s not so much about sustainability or theories of life, per se, but it brings a very interesting perspective to a lesser-known aspect of a well-known figure.

That perspective is that of a systemic scientist, and as he looks into the fascinating science of Leonardo, he demonstrates that the great artists view was clearly that of a systems thinker. He worked across a wide variety of fields and ‘disciplines’ – painting, sculpture, engineering, biology, music, anatomy, fluid dynamics, and more. Of course, he came before Descartes, and the Cartesian split – of the mind, the “thinking thing” from matter, the “extended thing.”

This idea that our cognition separates us from the physical world as opposed to binding us into it has been an underlying assumption of our civilization’s development for the past 400 years. That worldview is now breaking down, and looking back to the work of a great genius, hundreds of years ahead of his time in many ways, to see some of the similarities makes for an insightful read in these exciting times.

Stay going.