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Imagination is More Important than Knowledge!

  1. Aug 28, 2004 #1
    Hello! :smile:

    Einstein has been know to say, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

    My friend, who I often learn science from, also encourages me to use my imagination when learning about science...and it indeed has done wonders for me!

    I am interested in anecdotes from people about how imagination has helped them solve a problem and helped to propel thier understanding of scientific issues.

    Yours in imagination,
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2004 #2
    Renne Decartes ofter liked to lie down when thinking and sleep every once in a while. He said it helped him think.
  4. Aug 28, 2004 #3


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    "Imagination without knowledge is ignorance waiting to happen"

    -- ZapperZ

    You need to tell your "friend" of the CONTEXT that quote of Einstein was taken from. He wasn't telling that to a bunch of people who didn't understand physics. It is unfortunate that a lot of people who are way too lazy to put in the effort to actually study physics are using that quote as justification for their wacko theories.

  5. Aug 28, 2004 #4


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    For millennia mankind lived and thrived on imagination alone. What knowledge one generation gained was passed on as verbal tradition to the next. In this manner the net knowledge of mankind grew slowly with little change for generations. Once the our written languages developed we were able to pass more information on to seceding generations. With the development of Mathematics and the scientific method we were able to pass on even more information. Using their imagination each generation added to the accumulated knowledge base. Those who choose to carefully learn that which had been learned be previous generations were (and are) able to add to the knowledge base of mankind.

    If you Rely solely on imagination, without learning the accumulated knowledge that is available, how can you possibly be sure of increasing the knowledge base? In this day and age if you do not have a good understanding of the current state of the science you cannot possibly apply you imagination to a meaningful problem. How can you think outside of the box when you don't know where the sides of the box are?
  6. Aug 28, 2004 #5
    Hitler had a great imagination.
  7. Aug 28, 2004 #6


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    ANIMALS can't pass information from one generation to another so they depend on imagination alone!
  8. Aug 28, 2004 #7
    A little imagination helper...
    close your eyes and keep your head level. Next, look thru your head to your
    eyebrows for about 30 straight seconds. Then open your eyes briefly. As
    you close your eyes again, you should relax to flashing images. Don't try
    to control or focus these images. as you get more practice doing this, you
    can go in with one single subject and keep it, but you should not try to
    control the free flow of the flashes.


    It has been prooven that rolling your eyes back into your head
    can quite possibly knock you out...
  9. Aug 28, 2004 #8


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    Ummm... are you a guy Art Bell interviewed?
  10. Aug 28, 2004 #9


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    I tried it, It didn't work
  11. Aug 29, 2004 #10
    I definately agree! I wasn't trying to put imagination in a class of it's own without knowledge...it is of course important to have knowledge....but knowledge alone without imagination, may hinder us....

    I just wanted to see if people in the field of science would share with me their experiences with imagination...not with quackery....
  12. Aug 29, 2004 #11

    The philosopher Karl Popper on the Imagination:


  13. Aug 29, 2004 #12


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    Einstein also said:

    "The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why. The truly valuable thing is the intuition"

    He is right, but without knowledge, what do you do with the solution?
  14. Aug 29, 2004 #13


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    Or, how do you tell the difference between the solution coming to you and imagination run wild?
  15. Aug 29, 2004 #14


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    Zz, let's tone down the context of your message here...this thread was started innocently to promote a wonderful part of being human...
  16. Aug 29, 2004 #15
    very well put, kerrie! it is such a wonderful part!!

    i think sangeeta's initial post has been a bit misunderstood possibly.
    she isn't saying imagination in lieu of knowledge - she wants to know how imagination springs into action from the existing bed of knowledge. these are not so much wild leaps of faith arising from daydreaming, but innovative thought inspired as a result of hard work.

    one idea that immediately comes to mind is the copernican heliocentric theory. the hard work was the study of the movements of the planets - here was the knowledge accummulated over a long time. if we look at the knowledge alone, it is easy to see why the geocentric theory came about. having the earth at the center actually makes a lot of sense observationally - after all, when we look at things wizzing by, it is understandable that we put ourselves at the center.

    however, the innovative thought was the putting of the sun at the center. this required imagination because the knowledge alone acquired through the hard work does not lend itself to such a rearrangement - the observations certainly don't suggest it - it was anything but obvious to most for a few centuries.

    what the eye couldn't see, the mind was able to create.
    this sort of imagination is what, i think, sangeeta is talking and wanting to know about - though, she wants, i believe, to hear from living people rather than about dead ones :)

    in friendship,
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  17. Aug 29, 2004 #16
    Strict adherence to pin-hole formalism or formal procedures tends to undermine imagination which is the bedrock of creativity.......a little bit of flexibility usually pays off!
  18. Sep 13, 2004 #17
    Without imagination, you are unable to formulate anything new. Without knowledge, you are unable to make full use of your imagination.
  19. Sep 14, 2004 #18
    With a little imagination you can always collect knowledge, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing in the hands of those with no imagination.
  20. Sep 14, 2004 #19
    i find this is nicely said!

    lots of people are making general comments about imagination and knowledge or imagination vs knowledge, but i believe be happy!'s request was to hear about some personal experiences regarding the use of imagination or creative thinking.

    i would like to contribute something to that effect, but i wasn't too imaginative at looneyversity. well, may be i was once in 2nd year, but i have forgotten how and i don't remember anything since :frown:

    but i too would like to hear any stories of experiences people have had where they felt their knowledge and work was kindled with a spark of imagination resulting in an ah ha! :surprised

    in friendship,
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