Sunday, June 21, 2015

Leonardo as Mirror-Minded Dyslexic

With historical figures like Leonardo, you just define what you are looking for and examine the available evidence. Never, never trust the "experts" or the biographers, who generally know nothing about the brain. For me, long ago, the mirror writing seemed an important puzzle. The experts said it was to keep his meanings hidden. I thought this idea was just plain silly. I thought there was some deeper meaning. About 20 years later, I realized it was brain based and not that uncommon, really. Then I read a paper by an Italian neurologist who had found distinctive dyslexic patterns in Leonardo's journals. Based on this, I included Leonardo in my first book, In the Mind's Eye. Previously, I had avoided dealing with him altogether. He was just too big a topic. Yet. in a way he had been quietly sitting on my shoulder through years of research. Finally, I had found the evidence that illuminated the long-standing puzzle. Over the years since, I have gotten to know a good number of mirror writers and mirrored minds. I have come to understand that the real secret is that so many have learned to pretend that they cannot do these things. They choose (with rare conspicuous exceptions) to pass as non-mirrored in a non-mirrored world.