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“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

It takes maturity to fully recognise how little we really know about anything and even then we’re only scratching the surface of our ignorance.

Conditioning begins at an early age through the best intentions of our parents and inner circle and maybe the worst intentions of the media and those other institutions we blindly look up to.

The quote from Da Vinci helps to frame this writing against the back drop of a recent trip to Italy and a short visit to Florence the birthplace of arguably the most important cultural period in the history of humanity.

The Renaissance give birth to a cultural movement that continues to shape the way we think about humanity, art, culture, our relationship with “God” and science.

The fingerprints of Giotto, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Danté, Donatello and countless others are visible not only in Florence but throughout the world.

We learned how to express ourselves better in our words and in our art thanks to the Renaissance.

Individuality became a thing much to the consternation of Rome.

I know so little about the period that it’s hard to contain my excitement at what lies ahead for me in terms of learning and understanding but bringing this piece back to the core of what I do, I learnt a good lesson haggling with one of the street vendors.

I had bought a number of books whilst on holiday and rather than risk a penalty at the airport, I decided to buy a leather travel bag.

The streets of Florence are the home for 100s of street vendors – many of them selling leather bags.

You know the usual – their patter is as bad as their prices and the quality of what they sell – and so we treat it all as a bit of a game.

The bag was $195 – my pitch was “80 Euro, that’s all I have on me”

Truth is I didn’t have anything on me.

Sensing a quick sale, the seller said “$100.”

Thanking him for the offer, I passed on it but went to the cash point and took out some cash and went back to the seller offering him e80.

He repeated his original offer, and I replied that I only had $90.

This exchange was happening as fast as you are reading this and as quick as a flash the seller looked me in the eye and said calmly:

“this $10 we are arguing over is worth more to me than you.”

He was right.

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