Da Vincian Principles

Letter #28

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Lately I’ve been reading this book titled “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci”, about (Leonardo da Vinci) — renaissance man, artist, architect, inventor, mathematician, physicist, painter, engineer, draughtsman, scientist, and sculptor (though I’m sure I’ve missed something.) And I must say, I couldn’t have picked up this book I am reading at a better possible time. Right now, I am somewhat at a crossroads in my career. Well, really, I’ve kind of always been at a crossroads in my career for there have been and still remain a variegation of pathways and options for me to take in order to reach what one would consider any level of success in a field. My primary concerns have lied in which way to go, where to put two feet forward, where to take a step back, what to give my all to and what to completely ignore, who to ask for help, and who to assist, and the list goes on. However, reading about Leonardo da Vinci has rejuvenated a spirit in me that I am ashamed to say I have forgotten, and not only have I forgotten it, but even when I knew it, I was misusing it, limiting its capabilities, and starving it of what it could not only provide me, but provide those around me whom I serve and work alongside of. That thing which I had forgotten, simply, was curiosity. 

Curiosità, in Italian — An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. 

In the list of The Seven Da Vincian Principles, curiosità comes first “because the desire to know, to learn, and to grow is the powerhouse of knowledge, wisdom, and discovery.” If we do not have enthusiasm to learn, we hinder the level of success we attain just by not working harder or having that extra drive to know more. When we’re younger its easy to be enthusiastic, there is no competition, no real world issues or at least very few holding you back from pursuing your interests (and not for monetary gain), you have more capacity in your soul and being to care a lot about just one or a few things naturally, but that all changes as we grow. We whine more, we make more excuses, we blame the elements and aging for our lack of growth and stability, without realizing that our brains and bodies, if we challenge them can do a whole lot more than we think.

Now, I am hear just to say, that learning about da Vinci, has only rekindled that flame, for the fact that this man not only didn’t stop pursuing the things he was interested in, but he went as far to become one of the best and most groundbreaking individuals to ever study and pursue said disciplines, therefore making him an unmatched and unmistakable renaissance man. Sure he made sacrifices, sure he struggled a lot and worked hard, but it showed for something immense, and allowed him the recognition, inventions, and incredible ideas that lead me to be here writing about him today. 

While I praise his achievements, I must say, one of the main things I took from his life story and mindset, went beyond careers, art, and what-have you. They hit more so in regards to real life. Real life as in life and death, spirituality and god-consciousness, chaos and order, and the incredible deceit in which I have constructed my mode of living in order to create a cushioned existence where I failed to prepare myself for drastic situations that I may face (and not entirely anticipate). Thats why the second of the Seven Da Vincian Principles, Dimostrazione, also hit me very hard.

Dimostrazione — A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

Lately I’ve been going through some things. I’ve been up up, but I’ve also been shaken up. I’ve seen extremes of happiness, contentment, fear, and even bouts of rage, that I have never really witnessed in my person before. And I’ve found that since I was young, times like these have been those which I have found the most benefit in, as they never fail to remind that life is more than writing words on a page every Sunday for a audience to read, or a Instagram post on a platform that can literally dissipate from the cloud in a matter of seconds. Life is an event that can uproot your life in the blink of eye. It is an unspoken agreement between lovers, the innate imagination of a creative genius, a recollection of fragments of existence that accumulate under the label of time. It is fragile. It is grand. And you’ll only ever experience it, if you get up and experience it. All of it. You can’t sit back and say you won’t take part in a mandatory aspect of existence, because one way or another it will find you and it will make you experience it, only you won’t be ready for it when it does. 

Dimostrazione… that is what this is. We must get up and live. No more conjecture, confusion, or fear. Fear is a trait of the hypocrite, and unless you are a coward, at least be one with integrity, (that’s right it doesn’t work, so you must choose one or the other). I speak to myself first and foremost, and in many ways I am writing to inform myself of my thoughts and set in stone the reminders I will need every now and again. That being to step into the arena of life boldly, to learn and soak up everything before me, whether I care for it or despise it, I will learn, read, talk, fight, eat, travel, be, and continue on until the reality of life meets me where Allah has written it. Don’t let life beat you down, and don’t let people weaken your character, because you are in control of both of those powers, who you think you are, and who the people think you are, as they only translate through your actions and beliefs. 

One thing I noticed missing from Leonardo’s list was anything regarding spirituality. He checked off acceptance of uncertainty, the arts and sciences, physical health and all, but what I found unfortunate was that he was missing any type of connection to something beyond this earthly realm. What was ironic, however, and rather sad when I think about it, and all too real in many stories of people transitioning on their deathbed, is that he turned to god in his last moments. He was a free spirit in his lifetime, working with enemies of enemies, and churches whom he didn’t subscribe to, but when he was passing he inquired as to religion and thought it best that he leave the earth with some semblance of a fear of god. This made me think about the state of the atheist, how it is that in the richest, most progressive, most “forward-thinking” countries of the world that are seemingly the most fortunate, we find that they are the least religious and god-fearing. They think everything they’d done was due to their own accord when everything they ever accomplished really was done with the natural materials and circumstances God placed on earth for them to utilize. Then there is the case of the impoverished individual, with little to no provisions, who is ever thankful to God for even the smallest scrap they can muster. It is a bizarre situation. Though it is something to think about is all. 

There is always more to say, though until next time. Insha’Allah.


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- (Latin, literally 'Whom I') Quos ego are the words, in Virgil's Aeneid, uttered by Neptune, the Roman god of the Sea, in threat to the disobedient and rebellious winds. Virgil's phrase is an example of the figure of speech called aposiopesis.

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The Lives of the Artists by Vasari
- The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (Italian: Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori), often simply known as The Lives (Italian: Le Vite), is a series of artist biographies written by 16th-century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most-read work of the older literature of art",[1] "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art",[2] and "the first important book on art history".[3]

That's all from me for this one. Thank you for reading. And please drop a like, comment, or even send a personal reply to these emails if you feel inclined to. I'll be here.