Ming the Mechanic:
Leonardo, the Experiencer

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Leonardo, the Experiencer2003-04-24 13:56
17 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Tomalak mentions Leonardo da Vinci, Disciple of Experience, a brief article by Mark Hurst on Good Experience, about how da Vinci was a man of direct experience, dedicated to perceiving and experiencing things directly, as opposed to just talking about them academically.
The sketches, of course, were beautiful. But what really struck me was the sheer breadth of this one man's talents. da Vinci wrote treatises on physics, anatomy, astronomy, warfare, art, and other topics. Without a formal education, da Vinci never mastered Latin, the language in which academic treatises were written at that time. Some scholars dismissed his work.

da Vinci replied that he was a "disciple of experience":
"[They may say] I'm a man without learning, [but] I will cite something far more worthy, quoting experience..."
In another essay, da Vinci writes that
...the subjects I am dealing with are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words, and experience is the muse of all who write well. And so, as my muse, I will cite her in every case.
500 years ago, da Vinci understood the power of experience. Academic pedigree is fine, but a direct grasp of experience is essential. Analyzing and learning from direct experience is innately more powerful than hiding behind obscure academic methods. da Vinci "got it." Maybe he was the first.

500 years later, there are still those academics whose frameworks, methods, and terminology talk *about* experience but don't help much in bringing people to an understanding of the experience itself. Remember the Italian scholars who were so concerned with da Vinci's knowledge of Latin (the "method" of the day) that they completely missed (or dismissed) his genius - and didn't help others to see it.
Ah, yes, there's no better teacher than direct experience with your own senses. But it isn't always what is most fashionable.


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17 comments

25 Apr 2003 @ 13:05 by sharie : The Modern Leonardo
Recognizing and studying *genius* is one of my favorite past-times.

Dr. Walter Russell (1871-1963) was called the "modern Leonardo". In his biography, "The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe", I learned about the world of his magnificent mind. I went on to study at his University of Science & Philosophy, learned about his personal life, and grew to have a great respect for him. At age nine, he was taken out of school and sent to work to support his family. He worked as a bellhop for a resort near Boston I believe. In his spare time, he loved being out in the woods, and then would return to paint what he saw. He became an internationally-recognized painter, a nationally- recognized sculptor (some of our national memorials are his work), a composer, musician, a championship ice skater, an architect, an author, and received an honorary Doctorate in Science for completing the chart of chemical elements. He created the chart intuitively, explaining that the natural elements resonate like our musical elements, which enable to fill in the holes left in the elemental chart in 1929. His chart is laid out in a spiral and in a wave... not in a strangely-positioned block patterns (obviously unnatural) like those that hang in Chemistry class rooms.

Walter Russell's early autobiography is titled, "The Book of Early Whisperings". You can read about his childhood questions, and the answers the universe gave to him.

Strange that most people have never heard of his genius.

http://philosophy.org/  



14 Nov 2003 @ 08:39 by Lucy @172.186.108.137 : Da Vinci's genius
Interesting article....One things for sure imagination and creativity can not be taught, these are instincts and gifts.....Leonardo da Vinci's catalogue of work leaves me with no doubt that he was a genius.

"The poet ranks far below the painter in the representation of visible things, and far below the musician in that of invisible things." - Leonardo da Vinci  



14 Nov 2003 @ 08:43 by Lucy @172.186.108.137 : The superfluous
".....500 years later, there are still those academics whose frameworks, methods, and terminology talk *about* experience but don't help much in bringing people to an understanding of the experience itself......"

Academics need to strip away the superfluous and the inessentials so that the truth can be revealed. Leonardo was a master of this.

"You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand." - Leonardo da Vinci  



18 Dec 2004 @ 23:32 by adam @24.18.132.186 : Those Who Say and Those Who Do
There are those who do and those who teach. Academics don't even scratch the surface of experience. Geniuses throughout history have emphasized this, including Da Vinci.  


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Other stories in
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