Friday, 25 November 2011

Da Vinci

So it seems someone has written a new Da Vinci book. I have a huge academic/ intellectual crush on Leonardo da Vinci, so I will almost certainly be reading it.

However, (and this I believe isn't *in* the book, although I could be wrong) what really stuck with me when discovering the existence of this book was a line from this BoingBoing article about it:

"Leonardo da Vinci knows he doesn't know everything."

I spend most of my life panicking because I don't know enough - I don't know the answer to each and every question and I don't know the best way forward from this point to acheiving everything I want to do. I feel that not knowing reflects badly on my capability to do my job, rather than being an opportunity for learning and improving myself.

I don't think it's coincidence that I feel this way, given that I was never educated in a fashion that encouraged experimentation and failure. Da Vinci, apparently, although given an informal education early in life, and apprenticed as a young adolescent, did not have much by way of a formal education. Is it possible that it was his *lack* of education that gave him the freedom to be the amazing idividual that he was?

If so, isn't that a terribly sad thought?

Interestingly, it was only when I reached the working world and failed terribly several times in a row that I learned how to discover answers for myself, but that was a major hurdle and I strongly feel that this should be a basic aspect of modern education: how to discover the things you need to and how to teach yourself.

Given that schools are designed to be a safe environment for children to learn, maybe we could expand that and make it a safe place for them to experiment and fail. After all, your success in life isn't measured by your ability to pass an exam every two years: so why can't there be other measures of acheivement in school?