[NetBehaviour] re Leonardo addendum

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 28 23:54:22 CEST 2021

Correction:  the author is Nina Witoszek, from Oslo University.

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Max Herman via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 4:49 PM
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Cc: Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] re Leonardo addendum

The "Leonardo video" is almost a genre in itself!  🙂

Here is one of the only examples I've found watchable, from the 2017 Aspen event, starting at about 27:00.



Somewhat related is an interesting 2014 article titled "Leonardo da Vinci Our Contemporary? The 'Ecohumanist' Code of Renaissance Sages," by Nina Witoszak:

"This essay polemicizes with a number of historians who claim that the European
Renaissance has either “failed” or “continues to recede from us at an accelerating
rate” (Burke 1998: 41; Barzun 2000; Bouswma 2002). I explore and revalue the ideas
and representations of Renaissance humanism and the way they become manifest
in the work of Leonardo da Vinci. I argue three main points: Firstly, that there is a
fascinating, and much underestimated, ecological strain in Leonardo’s opus, a view
of relationship between humans and nature, which has a bearing on a paradigm
shift required by the current environmental and social crisis. Secondly, in the project
of re-imagining a sustainable future, there is much to learn from the way in which
a small and subversive community of Renaissance umanisti managed—against all
odds—to forge a ground-breaking ethical vision which became the foundation of
Western modernity. Finally, both Leonardo’s legacy and a reinvention of humanity
and nature in the ideas of the Renaissance writers and thinkers, draw attention to
a unique code of “eco-humanism”—a value platform emphasizing human dignity,
nature’s autonomy and authority, the importance of free inquiry and dialogue, as well
as the codex of limitations to human pursuits."

"A strong empirical and experiential orientation in his inquiry can
also be associated with the Gnostic focus on experience. Leonardo derided
the Platonists’ introverted quest for truth within one’s soul. For him Platonic
“knowledge” was problematic because it was unverifiable, as it could only
“begin and end in the mind” (Kemp 2006: 111)."

"The humanist ideal was not an Übermensch; it was somebody whom I would rather describe as a “caring creative”: an individual for whom partnership with, and care for human
and natural environment, was the foundation of wisdom and the art of survival."

"The post-modern turn in the Western social sciences and the humanities has
fled from “embracing wisdom.” Based as it was on the detonation of the concept
of “truth” and the unmasking of human agency and history as illusions—it is
today ironically at odds with the paradigm shift needed to face the planetary
crisis. We have become adept in deconstructions—not in the creation of new
visions and solutions. Much of historical and environmental research today has
not only divorced the studies of the Cosmos from the Polis but has disregarded
human nature as a salient factor in the historical process."

"I have argued that the Renaissance thinkers and artists who forged a humanist agenda, thought and practiced neither a humanism of diminished humans,
nor that of the idolized humans monumentally projected into an empty sky.
Theirs was an empowering 'ecohumanism' based on the study of nature and
culture as parts of interconnected Cosmos and Polis. The project of reimagining a sustainable future cannot do without reclaiming this Cosmopolis. It
could begin with a group of international 'cultural creatives' who are able to
enter into a dialogue with their Renaissance ancestors and create a 'second

From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Anthony Stephenson via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 1:02 PM
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Cc: Anthony Stephenson <aps0loot at gmail.com>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] re Leonardo addendum

See comment of:


- Anthony Stephenson


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