Monday, December 30, 2013

The genius of Da Vinci and the Tao (audio)

Wisdom Quarterly; Dr. Fritjof Capra, Mitch Jeserich (Letters and Politics, Dec. 30, 2013)

Fritjof Capra's new book Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius presents an in-depth discussion of the main branches of Da Vinci's scientific work. What was it?

Da Vinci pioneered fluid dynamics [the Tao being the way, the flow, the path of least resistance], geology, botany, anatomy, mechanics, aerodynamics, [ecology, eco-designing, war and weapons engineering, vegetarianism, pacifism, art most famously painting the "Mona Lisa" but, notably, not the social sciences or any political or economic phenomena].

Most of his astonishing discoveries and achievements in these fields are virtually unknown to the general public. Dr. Capra's thesis is that, at the most fundamental level, Da Vinci always sought to understand the nature of life. This has often escaped earlier commentators, because until recently the nature of life was defined by biologists only in terms of cells and molecules, to which Da Vinci had no access.
Popes were more like Roman emperors
THE POPE of Da Vinci's day, in tune with the corrupt Holy Roman Catholic Church he led, was absorbed with mistresses, children, and imperial wars. He was not concerned with Da Vinci's heretical ideas, like his view of the "soul." Da Vinci thought it akin to cognitive psychology's view of cognition [or the Buddha's detailed analysis of citta, the process of consciousness, as an interdependent process]. Galileo, a century later, would face a much different pope and inquisitive Church that allowed no deviation from its dogma.
Mona Lisa and Leo (
The enigmatic Leo Lisa (lewets)
But today, a new systemic understanding of life is emerging at the forefront of science -- an understanding in terms of metabolic processes and their patterns of organization. And those are precisely the phenomena which Da Vinci explored throughout his life. The book has been published in three editions in three languages.
Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. Dr. Capra is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), The Hidden Connections (2002), and The Science of Leonardo (2007). He coauthored Green Politics (1984), Belonging to the Universe (1991), and EcoManagement (1993), and coedited Steering Business Toward Sustainability (1995). His most recent book, Learning from Leonardo, was published in Italy and Brazil in 2012 and will be published in the United States in 2013. He is currently working on a multidisciplinary textbook, The Systems View of Life, coauthored by Pier Luigi Luisi and to be published by Cambridge University Press. See bibliography for book details.

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