Saturday, October 28, 2006


Making Your Thoughts Visible

The explosion of creativity in the Renaissance was intimately tied to the recording and conveying of a vast body of knowledge in a parallel language: a language of drawings, diagrams, and graphs- as, for instance, in the renowned diagrams and sketches of Galileo.

Leonardo da Vinci also used drawings, diagrams and graphs as a way to capture information, away to formulate problems, and the means of solving problems. In his notebooks, the diagrams and drawings are the focul points, not words. That is, his pictures were not intended simply as "illustrations" of the notes; rather, the notes were intended as comments on the pictures.

Language predisposes our mind to a certain way of thinking. Consider a rose. Using words, one might say a "rose" is a red, pink, or white flower one gives to a beautiful woman, a pleasant hostess, or to a close friend in mourning. Notice how the tagging of a complex flower with a simple verbal description detours human curiosity by predisposing us along certain lines of thought. It's as if the language we use draws a magic circle around us, a circle from which there is no escape save by stepping out of it into another.

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