Learning, a life long activity, is the responsibility of the learner. It does not lie in how much we read because that might soon be forgotten. It does not lie in how much we hear. It lies in the ability to interconnect observations and ideas from different disciplines to create an understanding that makes us wiser, illuminated and enlightened. Fortunately, this ability to interconnect resides in all.
was what we would call, in today’s scientific parlance, a systemic thinker.
Understanding a phenomenon, for him, meant connecting it with other phenomena
through a similarity of patterns. When he studied the proportions of the human
body, he compared them to the proportions of buildings in Renaissance
architecture; his investigations of muscles and bones led him to study and draw
gears and levers, thus interlinking animal physiology and engineering; patterns
of turbulence in water led him to observe similar patterns in the flow of air;
and from there he went on to explore the nature of sound, the theory of music,
and the design of musical instruments.
exceptional ability to interconnect observations and ideas from different
disciplines lies at the very heart of Leonardo’s approach to learning and
research, and this is something that is very much needed today, as the problems
of our world become ever more interconnected and can only be understood and
solved if we learn how to think systemically — in terms of relationships,
patterns, and context.
Leonardo’s manuscripts gathered dust in ancient European libraries, Galileo was
celebrated as the “father of modern science.” One cannot help but
wonder how Western scientific thought might have developed had Leonardo’s
notebooks been known and widely studied soon after his death.