Eve thoughts on applied genius
Eve wrote this letter last week to all her colleagues at the SI after returning from a 7-day pilgrimage of over 140 Kms:
Dear all –
On my pilgrimage last week, where I walked with Louise for 7 days from the lighthouse to the lighthouse – Cape Hangklip (near Pringle Bay) to Cape Point – I took with me a book called The Science of Leonardo, by Fritjof Capra. An exceptional study of the life and genius of Leonardo da Vinci, Capra integrates beautifully the creativity of his art, science and design. Capra reminds us too that the word ‘genius’ comes from the Latin, and was understood as a ‘guardian spirit’… and the exceptional achievements of artists and scientists were attributed to their attendant spirits. Not to their own individualistic egos. Leonardo apprentices in Florence, the famous Italian town known for nurturing beauty and art as a way of becoming one of the most protected towns of all time – in fact, 500 years later, when a German field marshal in World War 2 was ordered to blow up the town, he refused on the grounds that too much beauty would be erased from the earth – so the decision of the city leadership and bankers to invest in art and beauty really did weave a protective spell over this extraordinary place. So, part of my return sees my deepened commitment to integrative education – at all levels – and, in particular, paying mindful attention to creativity in every way possible.
One of the master’s students I am supervising (Claire Kuiper) is doing her thesis on integrative education, in the set up of our bachelor’s degree, and will be coordinating group discussions on integrative education… some of you may like to participate? We will be focusing too on our crèche and babies in this regard.
For the master’s students, we will be doing a 2 week Sustainable Development module for the first time in a decade – which will include sessions in art, movement, drama, and music.
From the side of the children and youth, I have expressed clear commitment to set up some form of ‘art studio’ – however, I am very clear that our attempt is not just to do ‘cute’ art lessons — but to deeply and richly create space for creativity…. to this end, I have attached a chapter from Capra’s book on Leonardo which far better describes the vibe, buzz, sense of possibilities, discipline, hard work, long term approach to building up master artists… (Leonardo was an apprentice from the time he was 12 till around 20!)…
And, it might be interesting to convene some ongoing conversation on this – so that we build a common language in Lynedoch as to what we are really dreaming? I am pretty clear that our philosophical approach, our world views, will be key and formative to how this morphs. The very last thing I’d like to see happen is a conventional, fragmented, over-taught, over-thought approach which would, in the end, be ‘nice’ but not transformational.
We are about transformation. And perhaps ways where we release our own genius too….for Leonardo this meant creating in art, science, and design – with an intrinsic and profound connection with nature. I wonder what does it might mean to us?