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Is imagination a more valuable asset than knowledge?

I think imagination a more valuable asset than knowledge.
Imagination has limitless value, while knowledge is limited

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  • Kepu Li

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    Nov 7 2013: I agree; however, to produce a result, only imagination is not enough. Admittedly, Imagination might be a more valuable asset for a person because it's a person's characteristic, while knowledge is something can be learned for other sources. However, knowledge is the foundation for a person to make his imagination become realistic, Imagination, itself, might be too ideal and fancy without the foundation of knowledge. And how to define valuable is also a issue. Is it something rare or something meaningful? Whichever meaning can cause different perspectives. So, for now, I think imagination and knowledge are linked together and are both valuable asset for a person.
    • Nov 7 2013: I am totally aprove with you. As i mentioned in my comment, both of them are important because there are interdependent. You pointed out if the imagination without the foundation of knowledge, it might be too fancy and ideal. That is so true! We can always make the knowledge become limitless vaule as a result of the awesome imagination!
      • Nov 7 2013: Yes, it is. But I'm still wondering what does he mean "valuable".
    • Nov 7 2013: You raise an excellent point. To succeed in modern day society, you need both working hand in hand.
    • Nov 7 2013: I strongly agree with you because knowledge is the basis to use our imagination as a practical tool to enhance our lives. Imagination becomes realistic and an important source to inspire us to acquire knowledge.
  • Nov 7 2013: There is no denying that imagination and knowledge oth play a cruvial role in human' s life. They are interrelated and interdependent, because without each of them individuals have no ability to acquire a coloful and interesting life.
    It is imagination that provides a colorful world for humans. In essence, imagination is the part and parcel of inventation. Scientists take advantage of their rich imagination to conceive a new thing and then combine it with their knowledge to realize it. In this way, both imagination and knowledge are important elements to acquire the achievement.
    However, leaders in different fields are supposed to pay more attention to imagination or knowledge. For example, in terms of fictionists or designe, it is no exaggeration to say that imagination is their life. Without doubt, imagination is the source of their originality and inspiration. But to teachers, they shoud be mindly of their knowledge. Teachers ought to gain more and more knowledge and use them to foster their students.
    Apart from that, the importance of imagination and knowledge is equal to children. Nowadays, due to the education a large number of children's imagination is limited, parents and teachers are well advised to make efforts to balance imagination and knowledge.
  • Nov 7 2013: Imagination and knowledge are extremely connect. Without imagination we can`t reach knowledge, because imagination is the predecessor of knowlege.
    When you try to solve a problem first you imagine the possible causes for it happen, and after you try to fix some of this causes to see what is realing happening. When you figure out a solution you acquire knowledge for this problem. When an apple felt on Isaac Newton`s head, before the idea of gravity and the knowledge that it brings to our life, he needed to imagine possible explanation for it. And after this knowledge other people could think more about the world and imagine diferents things leading to a new concept or knowledge. So it is really hard to separate imagination from knowledge.
    Although, the creativity imagination is dying because of the extremely importance some people give to scientific knowledge without seeing the connection to imagination. This people need to see the relation between it, to improve their thoughts and also estimulate their minds to reach a new solution for a problem. Both are extremelly important, so one shouldn`t be consider more important than other.
  • Nov 7 2013: Imagination is not more valuable than knowledge; they are both extremally important and complementaries. The ability to imagine allows us to generate knowledge that is part of the foundation responsible for inspiring someone's imagination in order to produce more knowledge. It's a cycle that when working aproprietely, enhance the human being's capabilities. Imagination and knowledge should not be seen separately. For instance, the previous scientists such us Isaac Newton used his imagination to create some important concepts that generated crucial knowledge and this knowledge inspired people use imagination to create more concepts and the cycle continues.
    • Nov 7 2013: The more I read, the more I see that they are indeed complementary and of equal importance.
    • Nov 7 2013: I totally agree with you, it is really impossible live without one of this. Imagination leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to imagination. They are extremely connected. Good point! ;)
  • Nov 7 2013: Imagination and knowledge are both very valuable assets. They make humans clever and strong, and they make humans the most powerful species from the long history. without imagination, we can not get useful and smart knowledge. without knowledge we can not practise our imagination. compare two of them, imagination is more valuable. It is imagination which can make humans differ from other species, and make people differ from each other. Everyone can get knowledge from books, while not everyone can have a great imagination. The society we live is very competitive and most of us all have enough knowledge to compete with others, and companies are now more willing to hire someone with great imagination.
    I do think knowledge is very valuable and basic to all of us. but I think imagination is more praiseworthy.
    • Nov 7 2013: I'm with you on this one. ;)
    • Nov 7 2013: Without imagination, we are nothing.
    • Nov 7 2013: I have to agree that companies are willing people with great imagination, because they need someone to develop a new solution, and bring knowledge for them. Good point. :)
    • Nov 7 2013: I can't agree more! Imagination can make a big difference to the word that's why we really need to always keep our imagination alive! But that's hard right?
  • Nov 7 2013: I agree with you. If one only has knowledge, the life won't be colorful. Since imagination is the very begining of acquiring knowledge, without it, people won't be eager to get new informations.

    Also, imagination is one of the most important factors in one's life: people were born in the way of using imagination; children learn it by themselves; everyone has imagination. It is a priceless treasure, the question is how to use it effectively.
    • Nov 7 2013: Indeed! Effectiveness is key!
    • Nov 7 2013: I agree. Imagination is the beginning, is what moves us forward to try put in practice new ideas.
  • Nov 7 2013: This is a wonderful conversation and I appreciate all of the insights listed below. I think, for a period of time in my life, I lost my imagination and became acclimatized to academia and a certain framework of thinking. It was a very bleak time in my life, where things were mundane and repetitive. I have always considered myself an educated person, but the loss of my imagination stunted my personal and social growth. Fast forward a few years, and I find imagination through doing what I love, and after discovering that education is not the be all and end all. Today, I find creative thought in running, taking language lessons, dancing and writing. My greatest love of all, my two delightful children, have stimulated my memory of what an imaginative life is like. It begins with making tents and forts, playing make-believe, creating new words, forging stories and entertaining our ideas through dress up. I see through them how we likely all began; we were all little people full of brilliant ideas that were slowly stamped out as we passed through the education system. I believe in education, but never at the cost of imagination. For me, all good things in my life have started with my imagination. It began with how I imagined these things and how I imagined them materializing. It took some knowledge to get to where I am today, and to that end, I believe that the two characteristics, knowledge and imagination, go hand in hand. That said, personally, I'd take imagination any day over knowledge.
    • Nov 7 2013: You are such a blessed person and what a nice testimonial! It is really amazing that you could manage to revive your imagination and find happiness in simple things in life. As I said before, ignorance is bliss... in some way, acquiring knowledge is "absorbing information" and i guess that you achieved a level where absorbing information is not fun or enough anymore. Nowadays, what are they doing is "brain washing" people, they just throw us a bunch of information; but the teachers' real role is to help students learn how to think, to develop and use our innate imagination!
    • Nov 7 2013: Your opinions really make me to think.
  • Nov 5 2013: Maybe they are two points on the same curve.
    Imagination and reasoning allow us to generate knowledge which enhances our imagination and reasoning, allowing us to generate more knowledge. We seem very good at it, as a species, with this recent brain mutation we've picked up. Less good perhaps at generating the wisdom needed to survive it; but you can't have everything, yet.

    So maybe our imagination and reasoning are still as limited as our knowledge and what really has limitless value is wisdom.
  • Nov 5 2013: I think all of these points are valid. My two cents has to do with using both knowledge and imagination in tandum in order to evolve as a human being. If it is to make soemthing more effecient, or to shed light on an unanswered question, using them side by side lets us move past barriors of ignorance in our faith, sciences, and even who we choose to be. Having the ablitly to imagine something better, or different, and then the knowledge to at least start to journey in accomplishing it is how we got this far. Thats my rambling session for the day.
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    Nov 5 2013: Knowledge is the Federal Bank. Imagination is the market. One is complimentary to the other.
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    Nov 5 2013: Why must we "compete" two useful attributes against each other that are most naturally used together in creative work and the creative life?
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    Nov 12 2013: Imagination creates new ideas or things.
    Knowledge comes from our family traditions and parents information shared in childhood. Then come the books, university and what you learn in your life.
    Action and Spirited positive Drive to execute what you want or what you imagined, is what really makes a difference and a change in your world.
    Imagination+Knowledge+Research+TeamWork+ Action = Change Factor

    Let´s start using imagination to change the world for the better.

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    Nov 12 2013: It is not; one or the other. Imagination is the foundation for everything else...most importantly, knowledge. Even pain must be imagined before it is realized. Imagination IS what we are, our actions only express what the imagination already knew.
  • Nov 11 2013: Imagination, knowledge, with a little innovation is best. Having just imagination or just knowledge can not work. If you knew everything but had no imagination you couldn't envision how things would be if you tried to use that knowledge creatively.
  • Nov 10 2013: Imagination and knowledge are ok, but the key is hard work. You can have an idea but you need to temper it with the knowledge on how to do it in a practical manner. Many ideas that sound great, do not work in the lab. Many ideas that work in the lab can not be made practical to be used. Does that mean we stop? no, you just find the 10000 things that do not work to find the one that does.
  • Nov 7 2013: It is generaly accepted that imagination is creating new technology. In my opinion, imagination and knowledge are similar in valuable properties. Both are impotant in laps and schools.

    many of theoris start from strange imagination question. forexample, could we travel to space, can we comminicate without travlling. After strong believe to achive the dream which is comes from certine imagination thought, the scientisits work hard by using equations and formulas to end up with surpising equipments that makes our life easer and enjoyable. If they don't have enough back ground, of course they will not complete any imagination thought project. As a result, acquaintance can be learned in school or even on your own and then you can applied the information to improve our invironment.

    knowledge and fiction work together in many things, such as phones, airplanes, cars, ..ect. Recently, many developed countries encourage their pubic to learn and creat a new product, hence they can be most interisting people and country.
    • Nov 10 2013: As Edison said, "1% inspiration, 99% perspiration". Imagination does not create technology - hard work does
  • Nov 7 2013: Dear TED Community - just so you know, we are a class of EAP students at UBC who are studying advanced reading and writing at present. This is an amazing class who sometimes has their creativity stifled as we practice academic reading and writing on a daily basis. Hence, this question was a great one for them to answer! All 15 students contributed below as a "real life" reading and writing activity today. This is their first foray writing publicly in an online forum. Just wanted you to be aware - thank you so much for allowing us to be part of this conversation and learning experience!
    Janelle Sheen - Teacher
  • Nov 7 2013: I believe imagination is more valuable than knowledge because every single person can get knowledge from studying or being taught from others, but no one can have the same imagination as others. However, I think imagination and knowledge are related to each other. If we do not have any knowledge, we cannot imagine anything. When we imagine, we are unconsciously being affected by our knowledge.
    Knowledge is the foundation of imagination and imagination inspires us to get necessary knowledge. Thus, we need both knowledge and imagination; we cannot lose the one of them.
  • Nov 7 2013: I agree with you, imaginationation has limitless value! However it seems that knowledge can always benifits us more in real life. I believe that's why people tend to pay more attention to the development of knowledge, rather than imagination. Schools need to try their best to stimulate and protect children's imagination and we also need to keep our imagination from lossing them through dull daily life! Unfortunately, I believe I have lost much of my imagination and I am still losing them!
    • Nov 7 2013: shuyan I agree with you that you are losing the imagination because i am losing it either. We need imaginationation but we also need marks to come to ubc. imaginationation seems not have much to do with our exams and major.
      • Nov 7 2013: I think what you guys need is not imagination yet, it is a passion of acknowledging.
    • Nov 7 2013: I absolutely agree - keep your imagination alive - it is hard to restimulate when it disappears!
    • Nov 7 2013: I am losing my imagination too! Sometimes people may focus on marks more.
  • Nov 7 2013: I think it is. Imagination is what engages our brain to work seeking for achievements and this seeking returns to us knowledge. Imagination is the first step for new ideas and innovations and without it we are empty. If we don't have any new idea in our mind we won't try anything above our knowledge; go over our knowledge is what makes us learn more.
    • Nov 7 2013: In terms of forward momentum and societal progress, you make a great point.
    • Nov 7 2013: Yes, I totally agree with you. Go over our knowledge is what makes us learn more!!!
  • Nov 7 2013: Some say ignorance is bliss; dreamers (i.e.: with imagination) and knowledgeable people can think outside of the box, but in a different way. Knowledge allows you to question simple things in life, such as "why does the sugar melts when heated but it doesn't happen with salt?" or even the complex ones that make people want to fight against "the system"... and all this questions can be answered and solved to improve human's life, if you carry the right knowledge. Imagination also leads us to the same path, to want to discover and answer questions, but more than that, it is what allows us to use our knowledge. So, imagination is definetely a more valuable asset than knowledge, if you lack imagination your knowledge will be stucked inside you.
    • Nov 7 2013: Good point. Knowledge is no good if it isn't shared in some context!
  • Nov 7 2013: I think both of them are important. It depends on different situations. Without knowledge, imagination will not be developed, and it's so hard to imagine a world lack of knowledge. Without imagination, how can knowledge be advanced and substantial?
    Different jobs have their own demands. Both of them can be valuable if they are in right position.
    • Nov 7 2013: You make a good point. Both are very useful both independently, and codependently.
    • Nov 7 2013: I totally agree with you. Both are really essential for us and we cannot lose both of them.
  • Nov 7 2013: Both of them are important and equal. As imagination helps people being creatived and kowledage lead the direction of great imagination. You may say knowledge is limited, but it connects to the imagination somehow. Maybe not all but still. Like lots of great men in the history of science, they had great imagination that it had changed the world. However, do not forget most of them are standing on the shoulders of the giant-the ideas or rules have been proved. It helped them went through longer with both knowledge and imagination. Yeah, both of them are important!
    • Nov 7 2013: I see the link between them both. Excellent point that most scientific progress has begun with the imagination!
  • Nov 7 2013: One would believe that both points are essential and hard to determine which is more valuable. Knowledge is the basis of creativity. Everything we created is based on the knowledge we learned. The world exposes fundamental knowlege so that we can create on this. For example, all gousts, vampires and zombies have human's figure. On the other hand, with out creation, this world would be so uninteresting and the world will stop developing. All important inventions including light bulb and computers are achivement of creation. All stunning rules including gravity and heliocentric theory are based on creation. In conclusion I think both are extremely essential.
    • Nov 7 2013: Is knowledge the basis of creativity? I thought creativity is sometimes completely independent of knowledge; however, I see your point!
    • Nov 7 2013: I think imagination is the basic of creativity but sometimes knowledge is the basic of imagination. Because imagination is the source of inspiration and originality. Knowledge enables your imagination to become more widely. However, I agree with you opinion that the importances of imagination and knowledge is equal.
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    Nov 7 2013:

    Imagination makes our great brain.
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    Nov 6 2013: Imagination is a precursor of knowledge. Without imagination It will be difficult or even impossible to advance our knowledge.
    But I don't think it's an "either - or". Both are important.
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    Nov 6 2013: "Imagination is more important than knowledge"- Einstein
    I'll for one believe he is right.
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    Nov 6 2013: One can't work without the other. They are both of equal value. If one of them were to be taken out of the equation, intellectual progress would be impossible.

    However, in this current age of reason we revere knowledge far too much at the cost of imagination, which makes imagination feel more valuable to those who have it. The two seem to want to distinguish themselves out into separatist, destructive belief systems.

    If knowledge was able to work closely with, and have respect for, imagination - then knowledge also would be limitless and as far-reaching as that imagination will allow. Metaphor, metaphysics, art and mythology (all products of the imagination) are the seeds of knowledge.

    Knowledge could have limitless value if logic can live with imagination and all that it brings. At the moment it can't (because of institutionalised biases in education for example) - or won't (because of entrenched beliefs).
  • Nov 6 2013: Perhaps.....
    As Singularity comes into a fuller manifestation in society, your ability to accumulate and access Knowledge will be less valued and less needed for what is now at your fingertips on your smartphone will one day be integrated with the brain. YOUR IMAGINATION will be greatly enhanced by EXTRAPOLATIVE POWER OF THE COMPUTER. But, being human, we tend to seek external security for ourselves........thus, there will be an inevitable FIGHT between Imagination & Extrapolation. There will exist the same tension that already resides within us.....

    Still, we cram knowledge into children's brains.
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    Nov 6 2013: I think that both of them has it own value and both of them are very important. But I also think that imagination can be more wider and sure (for possibilities of realization) if you have enough knowledge.

    Plenty of people has wide open mind and imagination, and they got stuck, because their ignorance made them to.