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What's the difference between intelligence and imagination, and which is more useful in alleviating the human condition?

The difference between imagination and knowledge can be sharply defined. The difference between imagination and intelligence does not appear to be as easily delineated. One might say imagination is a subgroup of intelligence, but doesn't imagination often encompass the seemingly illogical? Or it might be said imagination is the catalyst for intellectual innovation, but isn't the imagined an interpolation of logical musing?

Albert Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." But what about intelligence and imagination?


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    Dec 4 2013: Imagination is the ability to come up with novel solutions to new problems. Imagination is the number of reactions available to a stimulus.

    Imagination is the result of the accumulation of knowledge. The more a person knows, the bigger their "imagination" is. The amount of knowledge a person has is related to how fast a person is able to absorb knowledge & how long they're able to retain it.

    The speed of learning & depth of memory are what we call "intelligence."

    The ability to recall things that we have learned is "imagination."
    • Gord G 50+

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      Dec 4 2013: "The ability to recall things we have learned is imagination."

      Imagine if you will ...

      ... the sum total of our knowledge a million years ago. No doubt we knew a lot less than we know today. If imagination was only recall than how could we advance past our limited knowledge of the tangible world?

      It could be argued that science has advanced through experimentation, which adds to our body of knowledge through empirical exploration... but isn't imagination the catalyst for experimentation?
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        Dec 5 2013: Experimentation can only be conducted with KNOWN variables.

        The scientific method transcends imagination in that it produces results that are beyond anticipation!
        • Dec 22 2013: This isn't true, experimentation can also be conducted given unknown variables in combination with known variables.

          If you can change one without changing the other and therefore derive a relationship.

          That said, you will need a good theory to describe what you have found.

          Imagination is useful in building hypotheses, experimentation is better at testing them, but the other way sometimes happens too.
    • Dec 4 2013: Mountain - I agree that the imagination is primed as we accumulate knowledge but I would disagree that the more a person knows the bigger the imagination. The amount od knowledge is irrelevant. Especially when you watch a four year old "imagine" : ) Sometimes the imagination comes to life when you "don't know". There are no boundaries to possibilities. Stephen Hawkins made a statement that finding the Higgins Boson was a let down due to the conclusion of the search.
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        Dec 5 2013: I respectfully disagree.

        Whilst I agree that four-year-olds have plenty of imagination; I disagree that they have a bigger imagination than their older counterparts. This is precisely because they have a limited pool of things that they can dream about.

        A child that has never seen a crayon will not know that he can draw with it. He'll figure it out quickly enough; but before he knew it was a possibility, he would never "dream" of it / imagine it... And thus eventually try it.
        • Dec 5 2013: Understood. I guess to answer Gord's question then we can say that both are important in getting the logical answers put into place. But I would venture to say that most medicines that are used to alleviate aches, pains, and other conditions, were tested for something else before it was determined its usefulness. So when a scientist is given that crayon he did not know what he could do with it until he started playing with it. Same as a four year old. That would involve both the imagination and the intelligence at work. You have to be able to imagine that you can do something before you actually do it. I would say that that is based on an ABILITY not based on the AMOUNT of knowledge we have.

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