Wisdom of Life

Leonardo da Vinci: On the Wisdom and the Meaning of Life

“I thought I was learning to live; I was only learning to die.”

“He who does not value life does not deserve it.”

“Life without love, is no life at all.”

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. And this law is the expression of eternal justice

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. Knowing is not enough — we must apply. Being willing is not enough — we must do. Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind. So we must stretch ourselves to the very limits of human possibility. Anything less is a sin against both God and man.

Fix your course to a star and you can navigate through any storm.

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It is 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.

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. Realize that everything connects to everything else. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood. One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature. Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little you will be able to love it only a little or not at all.

An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.

It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

Man has much power of discourse which for the most part is vain and false; animals have but little, but it is useful and true, and a small truth is better than a great lie.

That which can be lost cannot be deemed riches. Virtue is our true wealth and the true reward of its possessor; it cannot be lost, it never deserts us until life leaves us. Hold property and external riches with fear; they often leave their possessor scorned and mocked at for having lost them.

While human ingenuity may devise various inventions to the same ends, it will never devise anything more beautiful, nor more simple, nor more to the purpose than nature does, because in her inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.

As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Quotes from Leonardo’s Notebooks

***

~Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known as Leonardo da Vinci, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included science and invention, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, paleontology, and cartography.

Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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