Leonardo and Aboca

The relationship between man and nature was key in da Vinci’s studies, as it has always been in Aboca’s research. Over 40 years ago, Aboca began a project that aimed to learn more about medicinal plants and understand the scientific bases of their use in human health in more depth, while respecting the environment.

Abocas thinking is based on an understanding of a symbiosis that focuses on the relationship between man and the environment. Amazingly, that same thinking can also be found in da Vinci’s work, who over 500 years ago asked himself the same questions, on a path of discovery that still seems coherent and relevant today.

Leonardo sought to understand the nature of life, a nature that today, after having been defined in terms of single elements, cells and molecules, returns to being investigated by looking at its processes of transformation and organisational schemes.  These were the subjects that Leonardo explored throughout his life, both intrigued and astounded by the infinite variety and diversity of living things. In this context, his botany becomes the most concrete example of a kind of research that, bridging art and nature, forms the basis of a new “science of the qualities”, where intuitions take shape that can open up a new road to humanity’s progress. Thanks to progress in scientific research and the possibilities offered by new technologies, da Vinci’s systemic vision has become an important means to observe and reinterpret the modern day world. It also allows us to be more aware of the place of humans in the world and of the great opportunities offered by this new way of thinking about the relationship between science and nature and in particular about our health.

Indeed, the principles of Systems Biology and Systems Medicine explain how the human body is a complex network of relationships between organs, cells and molecules that are interconnected with each other and the environment. This complexity is reflected in the complexity of nature and it is the reason why we can find the solutions to our illnesses there. In fact, only complex substances can respond to the body’s complex needs while working in harmony with our physiology and the environment in which we live. So for Aboca, reinterpreting the systemic and ecological thinker Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, the man who had a deep respect for the natural world, for all forms of life and the relationships between those forms of life, means starting a new Renaissance in which man remains central, but not dominant. Rather, he is part of a harmonious universe in which truly sustainable development is possible.