Imagination Embraces The World

April 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas | Leave a comment
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“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” 

This is a popular quote. It’s on one of my favorite flaunting art t-shirts. However, the extended quote reads.  

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” –Albert Einstein.1   

So what did he mean by that? Coming from a scientist who has brought forth much new knowledge it seems contradictory until you meditate on it a bit.

Knowledge= facts, information, data, the lowdown, what we consider to be concrete measurable stuff. Some think it is truth.

Imagination= vision, inspiration, invention, passion, curiosity, daydreams, open-ended ideas that are immeasurable.

Einstein understood that imagination is about possibilities. Knowledge is what we know in the here and now, it may be faulty and limited. Think back a few hundred years, or even in this century, as to what was known and considered to be “the truth”. Our curiosity about possibilities leads to new knowledge. The ability of the human brain to imagine is what keeps us moving forward.

 1. from  “What Life Means to Einstein : An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck” in The Saturday Evening Post (26 October 1929)

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