It wasn’t until I went to Italy this past summer and visited the Museo Galileo in Florence that I was invited to contemplate when either the telescope or microscope were invented. It was fascinating to consider whether we as humans first looked “out” on the stars or “inward” to the smallest internal cells. Or even why we might do one or the other.
It turns out that both the telescope and microscope were likely invented by the same Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey (or Lipperhey). Hans first patented the telescope in 1608, though it is believed he invented the microscope in 1590. His “telescope” was called a kijker (“looker”), and was able to magnify an image up to three times. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609, modeled after Han’s patent, and eventually in his lifetime created one that could magnify objects twenty times.
A lesser known artifact about Galileo is that his middle finger sits enshrined in a glass case in this Museo, alongside all of the scientific tools, machinery, gear and weaponry that were part of the Medici Collections (including Galileo’s unique artifacts), dating from the 15th century through the 18th century. Galileo’s finger, positioned upward presumably to indicate the heavens which he studied so fervently as an astronomer, physicist and engineer, is more aptly indicating a heretical gesture to the Catholic forces which forced him to recant his scientific theories. After Galileo was tried and found guilty of heresy, he continued to work fervently and produce new scientific theories.
While in the Museo, it was ironic to contemplate the impulse driving Galileo to produce some of his greatest works while under the oppressive house arrest of the Inquisition. What would cause the “father of modern physics” (Whitehouse, 2009; Weidhorn, 2005) to be driven to such heretical lengths at the expense of his own life and work? Given one of his most significant inventions was an apparatus that caused us to look well beyond our small-minded musings of the world, what would’ve happened to the progression of humanity had he not fought to claim his own self-determined expression?
Forgive any irreverence here, but we were lucky that Galileo decided to give the church the finger in his day.
And what of our own self-determined impulses for expression? What happens to our own innovation and productivity when we suppress the natural instincts to live into our internal desires or purpose?
Most of us never get there. The forces opposing us are so great.
And yet, my own life story and time-tested experiments with my clients validated my hunch that there is a deep powerful truth about what I now call the “Golden Thread.” And thus,
…the Golden Thread is the “through-line” in your life’s tapestry.
When we listen, it is what drives us to our greatest expression.
For all of us, the Golden Thread is there at birth, and represents the longing and expression of our Purpose. It was there for Galileo, an unstoppable force that propelled him into his genius.
Regardless of the forces that try to keep us small and indistinguishable from the masses, this Golden Thread really does exist for us all. Our inner genius is just waiting to be examined at the cellular level and magnified exponentially into lives beyond our imagination.
By taking the time to look for the first hints of your Golden Thread, across the developmental stages of your life, you’ll also come to be more focused, discerning, intentional and aligned with your innate genius.
Learning more about who you are can help you make your greatest contribution. By living on Purpose, you can have greater impact in your life, and who knows, possibly for the rest of humanity and the planet (or solar system).
In my upcoming book, I explore how Purpose shows up across the stages of human development, and how we can find it within our own lives. Who knows who the next Galileo may be? Pre-order your copy today and benefit from the early release.
Whitehouse, D. (2009). Renaissance Genius: Galileo Galilei & His Legacy to Modern Science. Sterling Publishing. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-4027-6977-1.
Weidhorn, Manfred (2005). The Person of the Millennium: The Unique Impact of Galileo on World History. iUniverse. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-595-36877-8.