“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.” – Albert Einstein
I love the idea that imagination is more important that knowledge, and I find it most useful when I apply this to my life. As a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology (it’s an applied area of psychology that usually focused on workplace psychology…), and an avid reader of self help and all things psychology related, I like to think I know human behavior. This knowledge was the justification for trying to solve my own problems, diagnose myself, and create a forecast for what kind of life someone like me is capable of having. I embraced knowledge and lived within it’s confines. Now that I’m set free, my imagination is causing me to question all I know.
While I feel betrayed by my knowledge I think devotion to one and not the other is a type of ignorance. Ultimately what else does imagination and knowledge create but more questions. Yet trying to figure it all out isn’t just impossible but it could drive a person crazy… at least this was my experience. When I was in graduate school someone told me that people with a bachelors degree think they know everything; people with a masters degree don’t know anything; and people with a Ph.D. don’t know anything but they know neither does anybody else. What a wonderful and terrifying experience to understand! I think that knowledge creates is this understanding that what is true and what is possible is entirely up to the individual. What is true and what is possible is my choice.
I think the more wise we become, knowledge is less important because what we know can only take us as far as where we know. As we accept how small knowledge is compared to imagination, it leaves us with the wonder to explore what is truly possible. Not just for us as individuals but for human experience.
I can honestly say from experience that knowledge without imagination is dangerous. Let imagination guide the growth and development of your life and forget about what you think you know about yourself and the world around you. Ultimately knowledge and imagination together create wisdom. I strongly believe that wisdom is knowledge articulated with imagination so that it embraces the human experience and respects the individuals process of understanding.
What I know only scratches the surface