For thousands of years, knowledge, and the creation of new knowledge, has been essential to the growth and advancement of human society. Whether it was the introduction of democracy or a new, more improved version of technology, “justified true beliefs,” are and have been a prominent factor in the development of civilization. But where does new knowledge come from? Historically, some of the greatest and most influential discoveries have spawned from human imagination. This has been true since the early Greek philosophers such as Thales, Socrates, and Hippocrates all of whom used their own unique insight to create knowledge claims which, after years of refining and justification, became the basis for many truths evident in our society today. So which is more important, knowledge or imagination? According to Albert Einstein,
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
But is he right? Does imagination actually have more to offer humanity than existing knowledge? If one were to look at how the work of an individual such as Thomas Edison or Orville Wright has helped mankind to advance over the years, he or she would most likely answer yes, and with just cause. These “great men” act as perfect examples of how an individual’s open-mindedness and unique insight can enhance the overall data base of society. The ability to exhibit a high level of creativity, however, is not the only factor which plays a part in the progression of society. The use of existing knowledge does too. Although imagination may seem to spawn completely from one’s own thoughts, knowledge is actually essential to this thought process. Without knowledge there would be no invention or ingenuity because people would not have information on which to base their ideas.... [continues]
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