Da Vinci on repeating one’s self

Leonardo Da VinciNow that I’ve been blogging for eight years I occasionally worry that I am recycling the same ideas without realizing it. When bothered by this thought, I search through my blog archives to see if I have already written about something, before I write about it again, though I know no one else would notice.

When this happens, I feel as if I should have done something final with that original idea, since it has bubbled up again like a submerged corpse.

Memory is unreliable. Yet, something about who I am dictates that I will re-create the same idea again and again, though I have no memory of it. It calls into question every idea you have, every plan you conceive of, since so many others amounted to nothing without a lasting record of their failure.

Then, as I read the daily dose of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Notebooks yesterday, I learned that much greater minds ran in similar circles:

Begun at Florence, in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli, on the 22nd day of March 1508. And this is to be a collection without order, taken from many papers which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place, according to the subjects of which they may treat. But I believe that before I am at the end of this [task] I shall have to repeat the same things several times; for which, O reader! do not blame me, for the subjects are many and memory cannot retain them [all] and say: ‘I will not write this because I wrote it before.’ And if I wished to avoid falling into this fault, it would be necessary in every case when I wanted to copy [a passage] that, not to repeat myself, I should read over all that had gone before; and all the more since the intervals are long between one time of writing and the next.

In other words, just keep writing and stop keeping score.


  1. Thanks for the notes from Leonadro. I needed that to try to keep on track and not worry if I fail

  2. naresh sharma

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