Imagination v. Knowledge

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

These words from the German physicist are often trotted out by the personal development industry as “the previews of life’s coming attractions” or cited by college kids as a reason to skip class on sunny Spring afternoons.

Superficially, the statement is a testament to the power of creative thinking as opposed to rote memorization and repetition. There is more to it than simply daydreaming when you should be doing something else.

Why?

Action must follow. If life was simply made up of the ideas we put forth on a daily basis, I would have dated Jessica Simpson while an undergrad, canoodled with Natalie Portman in Palau during chiropractic college and married Rachel McAdams last year. While these are all pleasant thoughts, being unable to create the link between fantasy and reality leaves them in the realm of fairy tales.

Imagination leads to innovation, so you must dream.

If the mind had never been allowed to wander into new solutions for old dilemmas, you’d be living on the savanna in south-central Africa using a piece of grass to pull ants from the ground. Engaging your capacity to seek out the ideal situation activates the problem-solving portions of your brain and produces all sorts of potential answers to the puzzling questions in your work and home life.

Knowledge is merely reiteration of facts.

Think of the tests you took throughout your education. You likely stuffed all the information you could into your brain and then poured it out into the tiny bubbles on your test form. You repeated the established truths and moved on, only barking them out again if required to.

You probably still do this eight or more hours a day in a cubicle, silently hoping for an opportunity to produce something game-changing. Why wouldn’t you?

Deep down, everyone knows imagination drives knowledge.  Always has, always will.

Though what you’ve learned can jump-start your quest, by igniting your interest or defining boundaries for you to destroy, inspired thinking shapes what you choose to learn and leads to everything you discover.

Consider Einstein himself, who pulled some of the most revolutionary and complex ideas in history from “thought experiments”. By envisioning hypothetical situations (“If I could pursue a beam of light…”) and sifting through the various outcomes, he turned physics on its ear. Even the most respected researchers of his time had trouble believing him, particularly as it took years to prove what he’d drawn on paper.

By steadfastly defending the validity of his results, the patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland upset the apple cart of Newtonian classical mechanics and opened whole areas of study for generations to come.

Blasphemy became truth because of an imagination at work.

What are you doing to defame the status quo today?

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4 Responses to “Imagination v. Knowledge”


  1. 1 MAL March 17, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Dr. Ike,

    What an amazing man you are. I love your blogs. You’re tapped into a vein of cosmic consciousness, true cosmic consciousness. (I had a group TM meditation tonight with a video of the late Maharishi after.) You’ve got “it”. Go, go, go.

    L&K,
    MAL

    • 2 Jason Eichacker March 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks, MAL! I really appreciate the compliment. I’m simply sharing my mental processes and the answers generated when I start asking why. I’m very grateful for the support.


  1. 1 uberVU - social comments Trackback on March 16, 2010 at 11:04 pm
  2. 2 A Lost Generation? « MeBuilding Trackback on March 22, 2010 at 9:50 am
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