On Knowledge and a Place

I’m guessing you don’t know this Tuscan town and it’s 13th Century church … but I know you know something important about it.
Vinci Church

Here’s a hint. Does this look familiar?

Vitruvian Man is a great hint.

Vitruvian Man is a great hint.

Leonardo di ser Piero (aka Leonardo da Vinci) was from Vinci, a small town located on top of a rolling hill surrounded by olive trees and grapevines not too far from Florence.

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Visiting Vinci wasn’t on our radar, but not only did my cousins suggest visiting (only about 40 minutes away) – so they took us on a Saturday. Interestingly (in August) my wife and I visited the da Vinci travelling exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. (Fabulous) … and now to get additional reinforcement of his brilliance in his hometown. (Something we never imagined.)

The museum ticket (9 Euros) includes three different locations: two very close within the town and his birthplace (a short drive outside of town). The 22-minute hologram story at his birthplace grabbed and held my attention. Simply fabulous. In short, the man was off-the-charts brilliant … and much more than I ever realized!

Enjoy images of Vinci, which are surrounded by quotes from one of the great intellectuals ever to live.

“The knowledge of all things is possible.”
VinciDoors

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions – yet, the greatest deception men suffer is from their own perceptions. Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws that she never breaks, and she has no effect without causes nor invention without necessity.”
Vinci Corridor

“The acquisition of knowledge is always of use to the intellect, because it may thus drive out useless things and retain the good.”
Vinci Old and Citrus

“Experience is the mother of all Knowledge. Wisdom is the daughter of experience.”
Vinci Street

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
Vinci Home

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.”
VinciStreetUp

“Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.”
VinciHome

“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
VinciDoorStone

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
VinciShutter

“The processes of science are sure,~but there are regions where we cannot follow them. Our body is subject to heaven, and heaven is subject to the spirit. I speak not against the sacred books, for they are supreme truth.”
VinciChurchInside

Leonardo da Vinci … an artist, inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, mathematician, writer, explainer, philosopher engineer, scientists, and one who studied to explain botany, human anatomy, aerodynamics, optics, hydraulics, and more … yet, near the end of his life said, “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”

Embed from Getty Images

On Knowledge and Power

Knowledge: the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association

Knowledge: the range of one’s information or understanding

Knowledge: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning

Knowledge: the sum of the known – the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind

Power: ability to act or produce an effect

Power: legal or official authority, capacity, or right

Power: possession of control, authority, or influence over others

Power: a controlling group

Mangan’s 14 ways to Acquire Knowledge: Practice, Ask, Desire, Get it From Yourself, Walk Around It, Experiment, Teach, Read, Write, Listen, Observe, Put in Order, Define, Reason

Those with power get it through one or more of the following: Delegated authority, social class, resource currency, association, expertise, persuasion, knowledge, celebrity, force, moral persuasion, groups, traditions, relationships (Wikipedia)

An essence of Power Theory: Those in power want to keep it. Those out of power want to get it.

My point is simple. Politicians aren’t stupid, but their actions are about power – not knowledge. Otherwise, they would work toward solutions for the common good, not party dogma and ideology.

Definitions from Merriam-Webster

On a Way of Knowing

I have always defined science as the search for the explanation of what we observe in nature. Nature is science’s playing field – a field with boundaries, willing participants, methodologies, and rules. (A past post) Aiming at questions of what and how, science is a human endeavor leading us to new knowledge – thus science is not static, yet it continues to dive into ventures with an incomplete understanding.

Science is impersonal, yet uses a trained mind with passion and imagination to find patterns, structure, connections, and history within nature through senses and data so we can better understand ourselves, the natural world that is around us, and our place in this world.

Therefore, science requires a conscious mind that observes, inquires, organizes, interprets, understands, and a willingness to follow acceptable scientific methodologies while staying within nature’s boundaries – yet that does not mean that nothing exists outside of nature’s boundaries.

Science is a gift as it brings us new knowledge, yet knowledge that is only for a given point in time because it can change based on newer knowledge. Because of potential development of new knowledge, science must be willing to have what is current known to be proven wrong. Yet new claims must are also subject to verification. (Past Post #2)

Science gives us theories. Theories are a structure of ideas that explain and interpret numerous facts about a concept – thus, well beyond a personal opinion or a detective’s hunch. Scientists base theories on a large amount of evidence that has been extensively tested and observed in nature.

Science brings forth new issues causing us to face moral and ethical questions – whose answers to which science does not provide. Science is neither equipped nor competent to answer ethic and moral questions, let alone the metaphysical, philosophical, or theological questions as “what is the meaning of life”, “why am I here”, and “is there a god?”

Science is a way of knowing, but not the only way as it does not corner the way to truth. Philosophical, theological, psychological/emotional, ethical, political, and historical views provide additional perspectives, yet each discipline is selective and limited. Science is not in competition with the other fields as other disciplines apply science’s methodologies. Nonetheless, new scientific findings can be unsettling to other fields and society as a whole because it may cause instability in current foundations, including those of the past.

One can have a misunderstanding about science, but that does not mean science is wrong.

One can ignore science, but that does not mean science is wrong.

One can disagree with science, but that does not mean science is wrong.

On I Did Not Know

I attended a lecture about Islam that was part of an interfaith dialogue series at a local church. On this night, a professor from a Lutheran seminary delivered the lecture and answered questions that led to small group dialogue among the participants.

In the discussion group served as an opportunity for misconceptions to come forth. For instance, a person in my group stated there are just as many mosques in the US as Christian churches. I relentless challenged him and used it as an example of the importance of learning, thus I had difficulty giving credence to his other point.

Back to the lecture, are some points that the lecture increasing my awareness.

I did not know that the Islam creation story involves Adam and Eve.

I did not know that the Qur’an includes many Biblical characters as Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Jonah, Miriam, Job, Mary, and Jesus (to name a few) … yet one character’s story may be interspersed over other chapters.

I did not know that Islam sees the Adam and Eve creation story in the same themes as Christianity: disobedience, repent, and forgiveness

I did not know that after the opening chapter, the Qur’an’s 114 chapters are generally from longest to shortest, thus not chronologically.

I did not know that the root that Qur’an means “recitation”, whereas Bible means “books”.

I did not know that some of the differences between Christianity and Islam in found in telling the same story with a different context.

No matter the topic, there are three categories of information: what one knows, what one thinks they know, and what one does not know … and that middle category is where one finds their misconceptions and misinformation – the basis for many ills in society.

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Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources