General Question

interalex's avatar

Does knowledge foster or destroy imagination?

Asked by interalex (130 points ) December 28th, 2010

I have noticed that very well educated people, specialists in one field are bound by its knowledge and information and when asked by someone about a novel thing in their field or profession, a concept, an idea, they deny discussing it. They have been given all the answers, they think, through their studies and knowledge. Also they are not eager to discuss other novelties in other fields. They are fortified in their field and feel consummate. This as a rule which of course has its exceptions.
Is knowledge a means, a prerequisite for imagination? If so to what extent?
Does knowledge help or destroy imagination? Is it an impediment towards it?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

kess's avatar

Our learning system is not designed to promote knowledge at all..
It instead promotes ignorance,
So those who trust it are actually brain washing themselves into a sytematic way of thinking, which ultimately leaves them ignorant.

The good thing is that one can derive monetary benefits in the process and this is the primary reason why it will always be promoted.

Look for the learned among us, where are they ? what do they do?
mostly slaving away making someone rich, and they themselves rewarded with riches of their own.

Forgetting that riches is the biggest slave driver among men

If all your learning does not lead to life in yourself and others, then it is vain.

kess's avatar

what is the imagination?

The imagination is the source of all knowledge and it is already within you.
So there is no need to look without for any knowledge, it is already with you.

In fact the best teacher will only teach you all about yourself, and he knows truly that he himself is unneccessary.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, to a certain extent, yes. Little kids have very good imaginations, but, when you think about it, their imaginations are based on things they know about, like flying, and being invisible.
As we get older, most folks lose that wild imagination so I’d say that knowledge can kill imagination.

perspicacious's avatar

Sorry, but this is not a question. If you just want to discuss knowledge vs imagination there’s not much to say. The only connection is that your imagination may stir you to find knowledge.

marinelife's avatar

@kess “So there is no need to look without for any knowledge, it is already with you.” That is the single most ignorant thing I have read in a while.

Knowledge is not just within you. What you sprang fully formed with the ability to read and write? Do math? I don’t think so.

Hedaru's avatar

“No Knowledge without an Imagination.”
Why? Because most of people got his knowledge and invention from a wish and hope.
“No Imagination without a Knowledge.”
Why? Because most of people got his imagination from something they had know.

So, both right.

wundayatta's avatar

Imagination is based on what you know. The more you know, the better your imagination can be. If you know a lot about a lot of different fields, you can come up with some pretty cool stuff. There are people who only know a lot about a very narrow area, and they feel very uncomfortable when thinking about fields where they know nothing.

I think that makes sense. I can assure you that you don’t want to have me giving orders about the design of landing modules for space craft.

janbb's avatar

Is knowledge vs. imagination – what?

anartist's avatar

Imagination sparks the discovery of new knowledge—and knowledge sets the bar higher for imagination. The higher the bar, the harder the leap.

It is also probably true that people with knowledge in many different areas have more cross-fertilization for the imagination.

Cruiser's avatar

I have seen that the most imaginative writing comes from highly educated people as the more they know the more detailed and “imaginative” their descriptions and story lines. But I also think their are many dimensions of imagination that really do not have higher learning as a prerequisite.

Sheer imagination from a creative standpoint is where I have seen some of the more amazing creations and ideas especially in the area of art. Creativity is born of experience and exposure to ideas and IMO does not demand a vast base of knowledge. And I might even go so far to say the more you know the less creative you may become by being bound by your logical constructs of your knowledge base. I have encountered highly intelligent people who cannot think outside the box at all because their thinking is formulaic and disciplined.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Unfortunately,some people replace their imagination with knowledge.
This promotes dogmatic thinking in some.
@Cruiser -I beg to differ
;)

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Perhaps I was not as clear as needed to cover even your outside of the box thinking. Even though Twain may not have had a sheepskin, he was incredibly knowledgeable due to his voracious appetite for reading and reading is where even smarty pants like you get their knowledge! ;) Plus MT was very thorough in his research to gather his imaginative “details”!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Much better way of phrasing this q!
As I said above, (wondering if I was even answering the question,) IMO knowledge feeds imagination in the beginning, but can also begin to destroy it eventually. You get to a point when you realize you really can’t fly so “what’s the use” of pretending.

Disc2021's avatar

@kess I’m with you on your first post… you kind of lost me on the second.

I think the way our learning, “knowledge” system is set up is very geared towards binary thinking. There’s always a “yes” or a “no”, a wrong from right, a good vrs. bad, etc. Ultimately, it leads to us accepting one big list of what we perceive to be truthful or most correct and rejecting all that we find to be incorrect or skewed. We develop a type of infallible attitude and therefore the room for gray area declines and declines. We lose our sense of wonder and (as kess suggests), just do what makes us money.

Science as a study, I think, is probably the most open-minded/imaginative field in my opinion, as most of the major breakthroughs in science simply just started with imagination. Yet, it’s constantly changing and evolving with time; developed theories develop additions by more scientists, etc. Not to say there are no exceptions to this as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you could have both, or you could fall victim to binary-code thinking. I dont necessarily think that knowledge or imagination alone innately negate each other; I think the reality (and shame) is that people choose to throw or trade one or the other away. It really doesn’t have to be that way; both are good things to have.

lloydbird's avatar

It enhances.

Garebo's avatar

I know new knowledge makes me like a kid again, it spawns renewal and inspiration. I agree belief systems are hard to shatter, especially with ego obsessive minds.

Jeruba's avatar

I think the more you know, the broader your horizons. And the broader your horizons, the wider the territory in which your imagination can roam. Facts spark ideas. Information creates or illuminates possibilities.

Information can be used to snuff out imagination, especially in the hands of inept educators. But knowledge, which includes the component of understanding, is generative and not destructive.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther