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Da Vinci’s Visions

The active mind explores what is unknown and undecided and is prepared to abandon what it was taught as fact in light of new knowledge. The beauty of the human mind is its logic which mirrors the logic of nature, what we now call the physical laws of nature.

Da Vinci investigated everything. Looked for competing theories about the way things worked. Here in his sketch book are thoughts on why there are lakes on mountains. Rejecting the explanation that there are capillaries inside mountains that go deep into the earth and the water is pumped up these, for a novel idea that lakes on mountains are sustained by rainfall. He works out how to deal with floods by detailing water-flow. He is interested in balance and fascinated by the things humans can make that can extend their reach in to and across nature – most famously by designing flying machines which demonstrate an advanced idea of air flow. At a time when no one was exactly sure what ‘air’ was.

The original books are fascinating to look at, the detailed descriptions, the building up of his own ideas on nature, the essays on the problems he was trying to solve and how every break through in thinking interlocked with each new problem. A thinker who without exactly defining it, understood how connected everything is in nature.

Daniel Nanavati

A Mind in Motion: British Library, London 7th June – 6th September 2019

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