Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci
At a Thanksgiving gathering this year we played a name game where everyone was given a name on a tag placed on their back. Using only questions we all had to ask questions of someone else at the party to discover what name we were each given. This was a fun game. Perhaps aptly so I was given a name tag with Leonardo da Vinci's name written on it.
My interests are not limited to one field, I find almost everything interesting in some way or another. There are unique dynamics to each observable phenomenon in this world. Everything from thought to other people and inanimate objects has an complex subtle and interesting history. Part of the fascinating nature of existence can be traced to the ephemeral and temporary dynamics of the world. Everything is always changing as part of a dynamic flux. Entropy breaking down everything from organized to disorganized.
Living being like Trees with their long lives seem to operate against this trend of breaking down, adding beautiful structures to the world as they self assemble carbon into an elaborate array of different kinds of wood : stretching toward the sun like living statues that buffer the rain and wind while providing habitat to some many different species. Ironically nothing could be father from the truth, the tree like everything else eventually break down. Soil infact is made of decomposing tree and plant and animal matter. Teaming with billions of insects, microbes, invertebrates, and fungi the soil and humus which bears life to everything is a living substance: not just grit and minerals and decaying tree parts. The things which break down the trees are very similar to the the things that live inside our gastro intestinal system: the flora that breaks down our food.
I see the world through a lens that fuses art, science, ethics, logic and emotion. Like most other people I have highly varied and seemingly disconnected interests. More like Leonardo, I see everything as connected not separate. Every action no matter how seemingly insignificant has a sequence of reactions and consequences. Our thoughts become our emotions, our emotions become our choices, our choices become our actions, our actions become our behaviors and our behaviors become our Characters. Other people affect us by influencing our thoughts and emotions with their words, ideas and actions.
There is a lot of negative broken thinking and ideas circulating in the world. We have to be very careful to acknowledge and steer clear of these toxic influences. Equally powerful is the ability of a person to choose positive thinking and positive emotions. Faith, Family and Friendship inspired, sustained and secured by love.
The world Leonardo lived in very different
The highly local organic agriculture of his day has been replaced by an industrial system of global food commerce laden with synthetic components that cause sickness. The clear brilliant night sky of stars that Leonardo enjoyed has been replaced by light pollution from industrialization and poorly designed lighting installations. The clean air that Leonardo enjoyed has been replaced by a smog of strange industrial coal, oil, gas and other emissions.
One could probably write a lengthy disertation about how the world has changed between the 1400's and today; but we can sum that up by saying that humans have been tearing down and polluting the world at an ever increasingly scale that really took off in the 1950's/ growing exponentially worse as we add 5 more people for every 2 that die: like a virus our population has gone totally out of control: the impacts of which are far reaching and deeply negative on every living system in the world. Huge swaths of forest have been replaced by oil palm so that Unilever can produce cheaper soap. The worlds water filtering wetlands have been destroyed with toxic industrial wastes and development. The words fisheries have been depleted, exhausted and degraded by extensive over fishing. Aluminum is thrown in the trash along side plastic bottles, steel and paper: all of which can be feasibly recycled.
Overpopulation in developing countries is the primary causes of hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Genocide and inequities of epic proportionality punish millions of people. The world spends 12x more on war and weapons that it does helping the poorest of people. The inequity between the rich and the poor has been increasing lately. We toil away polluting billions of gallons of fresh water to extract oil from sand in Canada to fuel a growing global gas burning vehicle fleet that is picking up more and more as billions of people in developing countries gain traction with industrialization.
Globalization moving more and more people into cities and going full steam ahead with rape, pillage and plunder the natural world: we ignorantly poison the air, water and land that produces our food: we overproduce grain with unsustainable agriculture fueled by foreign oil and fertilized by synthetic chemicals to feed hormone pumped fast food meet: the soil washing away not a tree in sight to regenerate it or mitigate erosion. Fossil water is a non renewable resource being exploited and rapidly depleted. We have gas companies fracking over fresh water aquifers to extract natural gas with exotic toxic chemicals that leak into the water table from which irrigation and municipal water is withdrawn. I could go on and on; but the world is clearly full of broken ideas and problems that are very unique to this point in history.
He Was and I am
Regardless of our differences and the difference between the times, I increasingly find Leonardo's life to be a source of inspiration. I hope to challenge the status quo the way that he did by looking to the future and inspiring others to do the same. The world might be sick with over population and the abuse, neglect, misappropriation and destruction of natural resources; but human innovation and creativity is unlimited. We can and we must choose to change the course of history using intelligent positive ideas and thoughts. We can cure diseases and balance the relationship between mankind and the natural world that supports our existence if we can learn to teach each other intelligent moderation, humility, kindness and love.