The sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered or learned is what every dictionary or scientist would answer when one would ask them to define knowledge. Imagination, is what these scientists and dictionaries would answer when they were given the question to state one word on the following: ‘The faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. ’ In 1929, Albert Einstein was brave enough to compare these two to each other after which he came to the conclusion that imagination would be more important in life than knowledge, for knowledge is limited.
But when one were to consult anyone or anything on this statement, he would find there is no clear support to take Einstein’s words for granted. Nor is there any clear opposition to question the above said. However, when one would be served with this statement after having read Lagemaat’s book he would immediately start doubting Einstein and his views generating some thought-worthy knowledge issues. For I am too, a reader of Lagemaat’s book, I cannot completely agree or deny his views asking myself how we can possibly rely on our imagination without knowledge as a medium to support it.
Or to what extent we, without any knowledge, would take our imagination for granted and thus consider our own imagination knowledge in one way or another. As stated above, even a claim made by one of the most talented mathematicians, can have its validity taking into consideration. By stating that imagination is more important in social life than knowledge, solely by saying that our grounds for knowledge are limited would not suffice.
The main question Lagemaat and many of his followers would ask Einstein is in what way we can rely on our imagination in daily life without knowledge as a medium to support it or to what extent imagination makes us blind to knowledge and thus holds us back in real life. For years people used to think the earth was flat. This was due to everyone imagining the earth as a flat square of which you could fall off. ‘How else can we stay on the earth if it wouldn’t be flat? ’ would have been the common thing to think at the time.
Humanity did not know what shape the earth had as they had no tools to either go to outer space or observe other planets and the force of gravity. Due to this lack of knowledge the only tool they had was their imagination. People at that time came to a widely accepted conclusion of the earth being flat and you being able to fall off it into the everlasting darkness there being no life whatsoever. By saying imagination is more important that knowledge Einstein suggests we go back to these times of unleashed imagination and forget our search for the absolute truth.
In my point of view, this would be a major setback in our current progress. For example, people that thought the earth was flat, also thought you could fall off it and therefore always had set boundaries and did not have the guts to explore more of the world solely driven by the fear of falling off. This led to the exploration of other continents being delayed by a huge amount of time. Going back to the times of our imagination playing a role in our daily decisions would quite frankly mean the same as us evolving back into the animals we once were as there would be nothing that distinguishes us from them.
So can we trust our imagination if we do not have any knowledge to support it? No we cannot, we are humans and that is what separates us from any ordinary predator, we have knowledge. Another major loophole in Einstein’s reasoning is that in a world where we would not have any knowledge, and where we were left with imagination, our points of view would automatically be widely accepted and according to Lagemaat’s book, our imagination could then be seen as knowledge although this knowledge not being necessarily true.
This completely neglects Einstein’s words in the way that he states we do not need knowledge when we have imagination, but as I said before, all imagination does in that case is take up the position of knowledge neglecting the whole purpose of imagination. An idea I used earlier on, the thought of the earth being flat. Not only did the wrong view on the earth being flat contribute to human kind thinking they could fall off and thus uphold important developments for many years, it also filled up the place of our lacking knowledge.
What I’m trying to say is that because of our lack of knowledge we assumed something to be true solely based on our imagination. Thus considering it as knowledge. This type of thinking does not contribute to imagination being the way it was supposed to be: ‘The faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. ’ In basic mathematics which even Einstein should be able to follow, when A equals B and B equals C, A is equal to C.
When imagination and knowledge are both said to lead to the view of the earth being round, knowledge and imagination are equal to each other. Thus stating that something is more important than its equal, is something ridiculous and only possible in the play ‘Animal farm’. Writing this essay made me, as an ordinary human, start to question the vast amount of knowledge I get served every day at school. If there was a way for me to actually find out whether something is really true, I would do it. Sadly I do not have these capabilities and all I can do is rely on the teacher’s words.
But as I said before, these could very well be based on nothing but mere imagination and be completely wrong. It is only now that I start to see in what ways Lagemaat is right when he says how knowledge can be interpreted and should be questioned at the same time. It was said that stating imagination was more important than knowledge eventually would lead into us making very false assumptions and decisions in daily due to our knowledge of what is said to be true and what is not, would be lost completely and we would only base our decisions on our own insight and imagination.
It was also said that Einstein was very wrong in saying that imagination was more important than knowledge as all imagination would do in that case was to replace knowledge, neglecting the whole purpose of imagination. Abstract The subject on this essay is related to Einstein’s interview in 1929 in which he stated that imagination was more important than knowledge. in the essay itself I will be trying to argue why Einstein was in the wrong by saying the above said.
By saying imagination is more important than knowledge, Einstein is basically saying that we as humans would be better off living in a world where we did not keep ourselves busy with our everlasting hunger towards knowledge, but in a world where we would use our imagination instead of knowledge to reason for our decisions in daily life. I will try to disprove this by saying that in world without any knowledge, all imagination essentially would do, was to take up the space of knowledge because our imagination could then be argued to be knowledge as it is widely accepted amongst a large group of people in society.
Furthermore there is the argument of human kind not being able to solely base their ideas and thoughts on imagination as this would only lead wrong insight as to how someone can deal with a certain situation and will with no doubt hold us up in our search for progress. This has been backed up by an example on human kind in the time they thought the earth was flat and as George Santayana said: ‘those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it’.