To Get Inspired

More than 500 years ago, there was man who visualized how technology could change the world. He then set about to totally disrupt the world and did just that. He conceptualized flying machines, a type of armored fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics.

But this man was not a geek or nerd by today’s terms. He was an artist, a student of philosophy, physiology, and the humanities. He knew that science without an understanding of human nature was simply play with no useful purpose or meaning.

Leonardo da Vinci, painter of The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa was centuries ahead of his time in showing us that technology for technology’s sake will simply occupy time rather than unleash the best of humanity.

Here are some of his most profound musings.

1. “Learning never exhausts the mind.”

2. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

3. “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.”

4. “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

5. “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.”

6. “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

7. “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

8. “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

9. “Experience never errs; it is only your judgments that err by promising themselves effects such as are not caused by your experiments.”

10. “All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”

11. “Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience, it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.”

12. “There are four powers: memory and intellect, desire and covetousness. The two first are mental and the others sensual. The three senses sight, hearing, and smell cannot well be prevented; touch and taste not at all.”

13. “Just as food eaten without appetite is a tedious nourishment, so does study without zeal damage the memory by not assimilating what it absorbs.”

14. “All knowledge which ends in words will die as quickly as it came to life, with the exception of the written word: which is its mechanical part.”

15. “The truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects.”

16. “Life well spent is long.”

17. “Common sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses.”

18. “Knowledge of the past and of the places of the earth is the ornament and food of the mind of man.”

19. “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

20. “Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.”