Leonardo da Vinci Albert Einstein Steve Jobs
Leonardo da Vinci
More: Leonardo da Vinci
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Creative Intelligence and how to build it up and improve it
Like Einstein, da Vinci’s most inspiring trait was his curiosity. The thousands of pages of his notebooks that survive sparkle with questions he listed to pursue. He wanted to know what caused people to yawn, how they walked on ice in Flanders, methods for squaring a circle, what makes the aortic valve close, how light was processed in the eye and what that meant for the perspective in a painting. He instructed himself to learn about the placenta of a calf, the jaw of a crocodile, the muscles of a face, the light of the moon and the edges of shadows. “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker,” he wrote in one of my favorite entries. Da Vinci’s grand and noble ambition was to know everything there was to know about everything that could possibly be known–including our cosmos, and how we fit in.
Much of his curiosity was applied to topics that most of us have outgrown even noticing. Take the blue sky, for example. We see it almost every day, but not since childhood have most of us stopped to wonder why it is that color. Da Vinci did. He wrote page after page in his notebook exploring how the scattering of light by water vapor creates various misty or vibrant shades of blue. Einstein puzzled over that question too: building on Lord Rayleigh’s work, he worked out the mathematical formula for light-spectrum scattering.
Da Vinci never stopped observing. When he visited the moats surrounding Milan’s castle, he looked at the four-wing dragonflies and noticed how the wing pairs alternated in motion. When he walked around town, he tracked how the facial expressions of people talking related to their emotions. When he saw birds, he noted which ones moved their wings faster on the upswing than on the downswing, and which ones did the opposite. When he poured water into a bowl, he watched how the eddies swirled.
Then there’s Steve Jobs. Much like Einstein, who would pull out his violin to play Mozart when he was stymied in pursuit of theories (he said it helped him reconnect with the harmonies of the cosmos), Jobs believed that beauty mattered, that the arts, sciences and humanities should all connect. After dropping out of college, Jobs audited classes on calligraphy and dance before seeking spiritual enlightenment in India–which meant that every product he made, from the Macintosh to the iPhone, had a beauty that was almost spiritual in nature, unlike the products of his competitors.
More: What makes a genius
In Superintelligence2525/Supi2525 I covered selected Genius and Genius Principles.
Will be continued 🙂