The relationship between knowledge and imagination….
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
You’ll probably recognise the above. They’re Einstein’s wise (and famous) words. And like most of the things he offered his view on – hard to argue with.
But let’s jump in and take a deeper look, to help better explain why he was right to say what he did. Firstly, let’s try and clear up just exactly what imagination is.
What is Imagination?
Without wanting to point out the obvious. By using our imagination, we can say that we are using our mind to create an image of something new.
Knowledge is involved in the process, as we draw upon it – along with our experiences and environment – and then mix it with the unknown to make something totally new. Therefore, our imagination allows us to explore beyond the constraints of our reality.
So, the next time someone says, use your imagination. You’ll now have a better understanding of just what that means. Yet, you still may need to know how you can best use your imagination, or perhaps better put – how you can increase your imagination…
How to increase your imagination?
As we mentioned in the previous section, using your imagination is about building on your current understanding of the world – your knowledge. Therefore, clearly what is needed if you want to improve your imagination, is a greater (knowledge) base to build from.
This is relatively easy to achieve. Read books, blogs and articles – ideally not just on the topics you are already interested in. Remember, what’s key is to expand and add to your knowledge.
Going to new places, trying new things and experiences, and even speaking to more – and different – people, are all ways you can increase your knowledge base.
Ask silly questions
The important thing to do when you acquire new knowledge, is to challenge and interrogate it. Again, this is pretty easily done. It’s just a case of asking constant questions. And often the dumber the question, the better.
An important aspect of your imagination, is that it doesn’t like to hide. It welcomes conflict. Conflict is what it thrives on. When you ask yourself an improbable question, your imagination is what will try and rise to the occasion. This is because when faced with a question, our minds will try and resort back to what we know. But when we ask silly questions, on newly acquired knowledge, our mind can struggle to find an answer.
Yet, it is in this space, where the imagination will come to the rescue, as the imagination will attempt to make sense of what it is we don’t yet understand. And when you get there, you’ll find your imagination at its best.
Importance of Knowledge
Hopefully we’ve shown that knowledge is a key ingredient needed for increasing your imagination.
People all to easily confuse knowledge with information. And so, we’ve seen articles that again compare knowledge to imagination, but part of their argument is based around knowledge being readily available at everyone’s fingertips. But a search on Google will not provide you with knowledge. It will deliver you information. Only when you have consumed, processed and understood the information does it become knowledge.
To return to the opening point, knowledge and imagination can be said to be dependent on one another. Imagination drives inquiry, which will lead to knowledge acquisition. And then with the additional knowledge, new levels of imagination become possible.
Another good way of looking at it, is that change is needed for new things to happen. But to have change, there obviously needs to be something to change. And that thing is knowledge.
Without knowledge, there’d be no fuel for imagination. And the absence of imagination, would mean there’d be no product of imagination. The product of imagination? Yep, you got it – creativity.
There’s no way we’re going to argue with Einstein. But we just hope that this blog post has made clear that by saying Imagination is more important than knowledge, does not mean imagination can survive without knowledge. Far from it.
The way we see it, is that they are two key parts in a process needed to achieve something greater. And that is ‘Change’.
Build your knowledge and stay curious. Then your imagination will give rise to creativity that can make change happen.
Otherwise, without imagination we’re unable to see and conceive new things. Without imagination, we’ll just always return to the same old ideas. Then the world wouldn’t be that creative, would it?
If you need some creativity brought to your communications, then we’ve got a strong knowledge base from which our imaginations can draw from.
Until next time…
P.s. This video from the legendary Ken Robinson on imagination, is well worth a watch.