When the movie Lucy came out with previews including Morgan Freeman’s ominous voice saying how human’s only use 10 percent of their brain, I distinctly remember cackling at the TV with my friends at how scientifically inaccurate that was. But, we are always the ones to discuss our left vs. right brain capacities, especially with the common trope of journalists being bad at math. Leonardo da Vinci probably wouldn’t be a fan of us restricting our abilities like that.
In Gelb’s piece How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, he emphasizes how Leonardo was a fan of the “whole-thinker” concept. People try to separate Leonardo into two people: the scientist and the artist. Doing so limits our scope on how creativity can work. Creativity isn’t limited to working a certain way with fact-based things like math and science and a different way for art-based things like writing, drawing, etc. Nature ties it all together.
Humans have been using nature to inspire and take ideas since we came into existence. We looked at birds wings and modeled airplanes off of them. We stared off the edge of a cliff and created a sublime painting from what we saw. We have used honey to concoct different medicines and remedies, and we have used the flowers that the bees pollinate to influence our poems. Leonardo warns us about not allowing this evident connection of art and science permeate in our brains, saying, “Those who become enamored of the art, without having previously applied to the diligent study of the scientific part of it, may be compared to mariners who put to sea a ship without a rudder or compass” (Gelb, 166).
For someone who finds herself fighting her logic while she creates, this was an interesting read for me. My knowledge and logical/scientific way of approaching things is actually useful in creating new and plausible ideas. Sure, I can’t let those things hold back my brainstorming ability, but I feel like I have a solid base when it comes to ideation.