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ilvorangeiceblocks's avatar

Is imagination more important than knowledge?

Asked by ilvorangeiceblocks (832 points ) April 20th, 2012

Einstein once said “Imagination… is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”, but is this true? I feel that without knowledge, discovering new concepts is nigh impossible, it is the fountain from which imagination flows from. Thoughts?

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12 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Imagination can become knowledge but knowledge can never become imagination. ;-)

ro_in_motion's avatar

Imagination alone won’t let you survive. Knowledge will. Knowledge with imagination yields new knowledge and progress.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

To develop new knowledge through research requires both a solid knowledge base and the creative imagination to seek and assess new directions.

Ela's avatar

I think it takes both. Neither is more important the other.
But…. I’d much rather have my trauma surgeon more knowledgeable than imaginative, but that’s just me ; )

wundayatta's avatar

False dichotomy. If you have no knowledge, you’ll have zero imagination. The more you know about what is possible, the more creatively you can imagine what does not yet exist.

ddude1116's avatar

I feel imagination is more important, but you need knowledge for it to really shine.

Symbeline's avatar

I had some kind of answer before reading the answers. But now, I think that I don’t even know what imagination is. Surely there’s a difference in the imagination one has a child, and the one we have as adults. One is based on things experienced/seen/understood/heard and blown out of proportion, although it’s oh so magical, and the other takes ideas and concepts and explores them in ways that don’t yet exist, or at least, belong far away from the norm. Application may have something to do with something.
I don’t know which one is more important, until I know what imagination actually is.

prasad's avatar

We have to learn language (at least) to know what the word “imagination” means. But when we have acquired enough of knowledge, may be equal level, then it is the imagination that excels.

You may want to read Einstein’s little interview here.

Nullo's avatar

Depends on what you’re trying to do. If your goal is to function in society, knowledge is more important. If you’re trying to come up with a novel concept for your book, then we’re going to favor imagination.

One could even say that it is impossible to separate the two, since imagination draws so heavily from that which is already known.

ro_in_motion's avatar

I view imagination as ‘productive, creative hallucinations’ in the sense that you’re seeing something that doesn’t exist yet it can be accomplished. To do it, then, requires knowledge.

softtop67's avatar

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

However it helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains the earth gets wet… Whatever, there are consequences. Nobody is exempt. -Robert Fulghum

philosopher's avatar

In order to use your imagination to create things you need to understand basic concepts.
Ironically some people can not visualize or think out side the box which makes them limited people.

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