Monday, September 13, 2010

Infinite Choices

Leonardo da Vinci is still a household name even though he died in 1519. Why does he remain such a part of the human conversation so long after his death when countless others of the time who were considered brilliant have faded into obscurity?

In my opinion, it was his diversity of thought and talents as well as his logical view of the world that still hold our attention. A man who's art still mesmerizes, who's inventions still captivate and who's scribblings are sought after and coveted.

Before I go any further, if its not obvious already, I'm a huge fan of Leonardo and have been for more than two decades. He, like all of us, must have had his foibles and faults, but those I will not research or investigate nor spend any time on. I choose instead to focus on what all the existing evidence makes clear...Leonardo was a talent, a genius, beyond the scope of most people who have walked this planet.

What first attracted me to da Vinci, strangely enough, wasn't the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper, but the Vitruvian Man. This was not an artistic work commissioned by a scientist or a purely scientific diagram drawn for reference. I realised that I was looking at into a mind, a magnificently beautiful mind, that was both artist and scientist, teacher and student, observer and observed. That is one of those points in life where there is a definite ricochet; a diversion from the path I was on, a diversion that has led me through many an interesting turn.

Too often, I think, we are labeled by what we do for a living, placed neatly on that shelf so that people can more easily discern our use or lack thereof and file us accordingly. I am an artist, not a very good one, but an artist just the same. I am also a musician, a writer, a philosopher, a grandpa, a husband, a very poor chess player and an even worse gardener. None of those things do I do for a living, none would support me, I fear, if I chose one for a career. No, this closet poet makes a living in IT, software development and system building. I'm good at it, I love it, but it doesn't define me.

In this life, in this world of infinite choices, it is important to remember that we don't have to choose only one thing to be interested in, one thing to be good at, ignoring everything else. It is entirely possible for a quantum physicist to write poetry or do chainsaw art on the weekend.

I think it important that we remember we live in a world with infinite choices. We can place our attention where we will and learn anything we have the desire to pursue.