I’m reading (listening) to a book on Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. I might make a book review of it later but I wanted to make a separate post about a theme that runs through this book. Da Vinci was a chronic procrastinator. He did amazing work that he was interested in, but the moment he lost interest he stopped (sometimes mid painting). He left behind hoards of studies that could have changed medicine and city structures but never did because he found editing and publishing too bothersome. He wanted to learn, not share, and in theory there is nothing wrong with this. Your time is your time, no matter how you want to use it or share it. I’m not arguing that he didn’t have the right to keep his findings to himself. I’m saying it’s a shame he did.
Da Vinci found out how our heart valves worked in his unpublished studies. Nobody gave mind to his theory until new researchers rediscovered what he did in 1960. Nineteen-sixty. He was that ahead of his time, that genius, but he didn’t share because of the work load it would take.
Lucky for him we have found all his notebooks and know of his genius, but I’m betting for a lot of great minds this isn’t true. I’m guessing that there are a lot of great minds like him, who love the thrill of learning but don’t love the work that goes into sharing, and I’m guessing that their work has been lost over the years. It’s even more of a threat now that most work is done digitally. How many floppy-disks full of information have simply been thrown in landfills at this point?