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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?

  • Dec 11 2013: Knowledge is a collection of facts.
    Intelligence is our ability to understand and process knowledge.
    Imagination is our ability to achieve new insight by recombining/reorganizing information. It is based on what we already know and understand.

    To answer the question, I believe imagination is critical. Yes, we need intelligence to understand our problems, but imagination gives us access to a wider range of possible solutions.

    Most important we need wisdom and KINDNESS, because as history shows, new is not always good.
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    Dec 14 2013: intelligence is anchored in measurements. imagination is not
  • Dec 19 2013: All things created originate from imagination.
    Intelligence is a muscle.
  • Dec 14 2013: Intelligence is how we assemble our knowledge; imagination is how we dismantle and reconfigure it.

    James Mulhern,
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      Gord G

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      Dec 15 2013: Construction ... deconstruction. I came to the same conclusion. The fascinating aspect is the dualistic nature of the act seems to be monistic in our perception. We don't seem to recognize the interplay but simply capitalize on our conclusions.
  • Dec 4 2013: Intelligence being able to know, Knowledge is what you retain, imagination is what you do with it.
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    Dec 31 2013: In the overall context of human condition, one cannot exist without the other. In order to achieve innovative ideas, intelligence has to feed on imagination. It then becomes knowledge. Imagination then picks up on that knowledge to take innovation further, and so on...

    Therefore, intelligence is the essential interplay between imagination and knowledge.

    Knowledge is often confused with intelligence. We mistakenly say someone is intelligent if they know a lot, and we even have TV programmes called "Mastermind" and such like, that eulogise nothing else but knowledge and memory. Machines and books are memory banks of knowledge, but they are not intelligent in themselves.

    Intelligence is having the imagination to use that knowledge to create new knowledge.

    Imagination often gets pushed into a forgotten back-room as the poor relation of knowledge, when really it should be the other way around.

    The likes of Rupert Sheldrake's hypotheses on morphic resonance as an example, gets dismissed as bunk for the simple reason that it questions the same old tired, basic assumptions rooted in materialism, dogma and the recycling of existing knowledge with no addition of imagination. Darwin and Einstein dared to switch on their imagination - and look what happened to them. Also dismissed as bunk at the time of conception, but now mainstream knowledge.
  • Dec 22 2013: I feel it's more pertinent, not to ask, which is more useful, but focus on how important the intrinsic relationship between imagination and intelligence is. We, humans, always want to know which is better, more important, more crucial to our existence however, facts and data alone don't equate to all the wonders and all the connections made between them. The glue that binds our knowledge and pushes us forward is imagination. What do we do with 2 and 2. Well, we can add them together, we can divide them, we can multiply them, etc. Once we lose on half of our imagination/intelligence equation, the system becomes unbalanced. Without knowledge, creativity ceases to make links. Without imagination, intelligence ceases to solve problems.
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    Dec 10 2013: For all those asking the difference between imagination and intelligence, I would rather say the importance of imagination and intelligence in alleviating the human condition.

    People consider Imagination is the fuel that drives intelligence (A vehicle), isn't it too insane?

    You all must have heard the story titled "The Blind man and the Lame"

    A blind man (Imagination) carried a lame man (Intelligence) on his back, lending him his feet and borrowing from him his eyes.

    Imagination and Intelligence walk hand in hand.
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    Dec 8 2013: Intelligence is the vehicle and Imagination is the fuel that drives it. Both are necessary for alleviating human condition. Imagination , because we need to imagine that we can live better than now and Intelligence, because we need to be intelligent to find the way.
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      Dec 9 2013: Pabitra, don't you think that as we imagine that we can live better, we also realize the misery of our present condition. Doesn't then imagination aggravate the condition rather than alleviating it?
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        Dec 9 2013: Yes it does in short term. Have you heard a baby born without the mother feeling pain? If we stop imagining better future, it will be life of a hippie and society will be a commune.
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          Dec 9 2013: It's a philosophical question, you know. What we imagine as better life, in my experience, turns out to be something different. It makes more sense to me to imagine internal conditions than external ones. If I don't know what I want to achieve internally, by the time I achieve my imagined external "better" condition, internal condition also changes - with bigger salary come bigger expenses, with bigger house comes more stuff, new possibilities bring new responsibilities - "chasing after the wind".

          Same thing socially and politically. Take Ukraine. OK. Got independence in 1991. Still, the main political question in Ukraine is whom to serve - West or Russia. As if European Union will be less oppressive than Russia. Without fixing internal conditions, imagining external conditions is meaningless.
    • Dec 9 2013: What is the fuel for Imagination ? And What is the vehicle for both Intelligence and Imagination?
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        Dec 16 2013: Interesting questions. This isn't a complete answer, but some ideas I have about some of the key elements.

        To a certain extent imagination is fuelled by reality. Or perhaps determined by it. For something to have the property of imagination, it can't exist in our immediate reality. Otherwise it would be perception, not imagination. Social interaction can fuel imagination - see this TED talk Imagination can also be fuelled by personal motivation - "I'm (not) going to do this because I can see what life would be like as a result". It can also be self perpetuating.

        As for the vehicles for intelligence and imagination, my gut says that's just another part of that elusive x factor that facilitates the fact that we are conscious beings.
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    Dec 5 2013: The wise start from what is known, but they also know that what is known is only a small part in the vastness of the unknown.
    Imagination is a vastness of endless possibilities waiting to be explored.
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    Dec 27 2013: Am I correct in assuming that by "intelligence" you mean the rational faculty of the mind, ie: the Intellect? If so, then that's one faculty.
    With Imagination you have two faculties of the mind.
    As a suggestion I would add:
    a 3rd faculty, Intuition, (the realm of beliefs),
    a 4th faculty, Instinct (the realm of the emotions)
    a 5th faculty, Inspiration (the realm that links to creative solutions in the collective unconscious).

    The answer to your question then becomes a bit like asking: Which is more useful, an arm or a leg? Well, ideally, you have both, and more besides.
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    Dec 22 2013: After reading through the comments elicited by this question it occurs to me that as a race we use words to attempt to establish our own intelligence. Words. of course, come out of our minds which can be defined both as intelligence and imagination. Dr. Ken Robinson in his marvellous TED talk on how education kills creativity makes the point that intelligence and imagination are linked so closely that it is impossible to separate them.
    • Dec 22 2013: I think its great that both your and Laura's mind's are not linear; and indeed intelligence, and imagination, are so closely linked that they are inseparable; so why do we have to put them in some order of priority, rather than be grateful, that our minds are enriched by both.

      As to the imagination; no one seems to have considered in this conversation, this faculty in regard to dreaming, where it exists at an unconscious level; and yet its imaging entirely fills our sleeping minds:

      Therefore one may ask, is this sleeping imaging faculty, controlled by the autonomic nervous system; and if indeed it is, then does it follow that the autonomic nervous system, and the subconscious mind; are essentially the mind and body concerned with the metaphysical realm of our being; whereas our conscious mind and body, is concerned with the physical realm of our being; I am still trying to work this one out.

      What I do know is that some of my best insights occur, after I have put something to the back of my mind and slept on it; or following a period of deep introspection whereby my subconscious mind works with my conscious mind, on locating a causal, or solving a problem, or inventing something new.
  • Dec 15 2013: Sorry if my definitions are wrong; my point was basically that intellegence can, and often does, inhibit the imagination and can therefore be found in the least intelligent. I feel that intelligence is often limited by what has been proven whereas imagination has no limits or bounds. To me, intelligence is dependent on the accumulation/assimilation of knowledge and it's logical application. To me, children's intelligence is dependent on years of asking why, when, where. As babes, I don't think children can be considered intelligent, but I could be wrong.
  • Dec 11 2013: I think while intelligence is necessary for tactical improvement in the human condition, its imagination which will result in the quantum leaps that the human kind would make. Imagination is beyond intelligence. It is a thinking and creating.
  • Dec 11 2013: The difference between Imag-ination and intelligence lies in the word "image"; whereas intelligence relates to the intellectual; gaining + analyzing + interrelating knowledge = learning, and applying and interrelating that learning in regard to anticipations, and every other aspect of ones daily and future life.

    Imagination: Is the ability to use mind imaging, to create and analyze two - three - and multi - dimensional mental images; e.g. imagine the number 1 as flat black numeral printed on a sheet of paper; now imagine the number 1 as a three - dimensional golden numeral standing on a flat surface in front of you. Both are the same numeral; however your intelligence chose the size, color, dimensions etc to provide the contrast between the two, and your mind imagery allowed you to visually examine it, within the internal scope of your own mind.

    Addendum: Please note;

    You can no more remove the scope of the Universe, from the scope of your own intelligence;

    Than you can remove the scope of your own intelligence, from the scope of the Universe.
  • Jan 2 2014: Hi Gord

    As per the reasons given in my reply to EG 30 minutes ago; I am not being impolite but I am about done with this conversation. However in regard to quote "Energy as we define it"

    Ref/OED. The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.

    Ref: "Infinity In Your Pocket": Energy is a controversial topic among scientists. Everyone knows what energy does (“only a part of”), but no one seems entirely certain what it is.

    Einstein E = mc2 : States that energy (E) is equivalent to a unit of mass (m) multiplied by the constant speed of light (c) squared (2)

    However E does not = mass: As mass = E + Gravity (G)

    Therefore E + G Force (F = E) = E + E

    The speed of light is not constant; it varies according to the density of the medium (e.g. Air and Water). And the 300km per sec straight linear point A to B speed of light; does not equate to the A to B speed, "over the curvatures” of its wavelength. Therefore the SL in gravitational free interstellar space is greater than as measured on Earth.

    Einstein’s theory of Acceleration and Gravitation: Einstein said nothing could exceed the speed of light. There is no way that the atomic structure of a lift accelerating through space; could out accelerate a transverse beam of light travelling within the lift, and at the same speed of the lift, causing it to bend.

    IMO Phys E = substance-matter-radiation-force-motion etc

    In sum; the journey involves questioning everything, while also keeping an open mind; and involves constantly back tracking, re – examining, and revising ones work, as new insights arise.

    My view of energy is not as defined; rather that, there are the infinite/physically apparent, forms of energy extending from infinitesimal electromagnet particles up to the vast electromagnetic particles we call stars.

    And the non-apparent, eternal metaphysical energy (and nothingness) called space that is the driving force/mind/geometry/mathematics, of physical creation.

    Cheers Carl
    • Jan 2 2014: I have become fan of your wisdom and knowledge.

      Happy New Year.
      • Jan 2 2014: And both are infinitesimal, as to that; of the infinite scope of the sphere, of my own ignorance

        Happy New Year

        Cheers Carl
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    Jan 1 2014: I think intelligence and imagination are just words we have chosen to refer to 2 concepts and we should not encapsulate them within a definition just because convention has it that a word must be defined. I'll spare us the Oxford Dictionary definitions as I'm sure we all looked them up and space does not permit a reminder.
    For me the concepts of intelligence and imagination are not semantics within an all encompassing concept of thought. I see them as 2 fundamentally separate concepts that CAN interact. Intelligence is a quality whereas imagination is a process. Intelligence is the generally consistent and repeatable application of a more efficient modality of resource utilization over a less efficient option (eg. rate of central neurotransmitter utilization in concluding a thought process - imaginative or not). Thus DNA natural selection in evolution is an example of intelligent biology INDEPENDANT of a need for a brain and its thought processes (plants evolve sans brain!).
    Imagination is a thought process the brain utilizes to create multiple intangible scenarios of varying levels of efficiency, utility, or relevance. It is a product of thought and Independent of intelligence.
    Creativity is the intelligent application of imagination with the level of creativity a product of the level of intelligence and the ability of the imaginative process.
    Wisdom is appreciating the relevance of all of this and prioritising the various creative processes.
    I'm assuming you mean elevating and not alleviating the human condition. Either way, a good dose of reality by way of hardship and poverty usually suffices! :)
  • Dec 31 2013: Continued

    Metaphysics: OED: Branch of philosophy that deals with first principles of things, including abstract concepts, such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, space.

    In sum in regard to my own usage of the word; physics relates to the physical world and physical Universe; metaphysics relates to the non-physical realms of the mind. And I absolutely know based upon both experiences, and decades of my reasoning; that the holistic Universe, is as we are; both physical and metaphysical in nature.

    Cheers Carl
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      Dec 31 2013: Good point. Metaphysicians occupy an essential space somewhere at the forefront of potential knowledge.

      Also something often dismissed within the huge spectrum of intelligence is the role of metaphor, poetry, art and mythology - which bring the first fruits of cognition to mind, in the absence of hard fact.
  • ele non

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    Dec 23 2013: This is my theory of what intelligence and imagination is. I will use the terms : ‘tools’, knowledge, intelligence, imagination, emotion.
    Everyone should obtain the necessary ‘tools’ to be able to communicate and do ordinary tasks. We all obtain these fundamental ‘tools’. Knowledge is gained with time, and might lead to Intelligence. Intelligence is based on logic and advanced knowledge.
    Imagination is the combination of Intelligence and Emotion. As a result it is abstract and unexpected.
    Of course the levels of Intelligence and Imagination differ in each person, and can be interrelated or not. Someone can be Intelligent without being very imaginative. On the other hand, it is unusual for a person with a high level of imagination to have a low level of Intelligence, having considered that the above statement- explanation is correct.
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    Dec 22 2013: Hope this helps --->

    Imagination, is when you create anything that expresses a conscious thought or feeling, via the "physical" senses (visual, sounds/music)...of course it is drawn from the feasible environment, however, it can vary depending on the dept one is able to allow themselves to go beyond the limitations of so-called reality, which is simply your perception.

    Intelligence, is when you use imagination, in order to express KNOWLEDGE in such a way that it is conveyable to OTHERS, hence it can be validated as logical.

    So in other words: knowledge depends on intelligence; intelligence is dependent on imagination; imagination comes the consciousness of one's mind.

    Neither would be more useful in alleviating this so-call "human condition", seeing that both intelligence and imagination are elements of THOUGHT. All leads directly and indirectly to consciousness or awareness of whatever we call life or perceive as the "human condition". In essence, if you control your thoughts, you will control you life...

    P.S. just choose wisely and live.
  • Dec 22 2013: I think imagination ranks a bit higher -- in usefulness-- than intelligence. That being said, the two need to go hand in hand to really get anywhere. I don't think that someone who is really classified as stupid, in an intelligence sense, would be very skilled in an imaginative sense. (Yet, , I have heard some intelligent people make the comment that they have no imagination.)
    I guess I mean that an intelligent person can do their job and do it well, so to speak, without adding anything imaginative to their work. Some one with imagination can think themselves out of a box, so to speak. If it were not for imagination, we may all still be living in caves, as it were. Imagination helps us to see/strive for/ think about something that is not at first apparent. It helps us to solve problems, to go forward into the unknown, to create.
    But I think one has to be intelligent in order to make good use of imagination. Perhaps in the brain those areas are close together, or stimulated by similar things.
    We need the input of a neurosurgeon, or someone with knowledge of the interior workings of the brain, to give some physical info on this.
  • Dec 21 2013: People can be intelligent but not imaginative and vise versa. Intelligence comes from book learning, and subjects like math. Conversely, imagination comes from within, subjects of writing and different forms of art. Being taught how to do specific things creates intelligence. Altering what you have been taught and applying it is imagination.
    • Dec 22 2013: I think so too. I was just reading an article on how it is being noticed that many generations of young people and children, since there was such an emphasis on computer learning, can do things virtually, but not in reality. So schools should bring back hands-on learning and doing, problem solving using inventing, making things out of paper and wood, etc., just like many of us of the older generations grew up doing things.
      I think imagination and creativity go hand in hand. Bring back the importance of Legos and Tinker Toys, of painting and sewing and making things, often out of nothing. We need to make sure our young people do not lose their sense of imagination.
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    Dec 19 2013: As to your reference to Einstein's point that " Imagination is more important than knowledge.", knowledge is not intelligence. Knowledge is information gained in various ways, often through second and third hand, etc. means and with minimal personal mental input, or employment of new, intelligent processes, or progressions.

    Intelligence is a tool which can be unremarkable and as dull as dust, unless it has been finely honed and well-exercised.

    Imagination, however, has the power and impetus to move one beyond the accepted constraints of fact and knowledge. It employs our natural faculty of intuition, which represents our individual personal intelligence, enabling us, at first, to encompass others' grand imaginings and, eventually, to formulate our own fresh ideas and rationale which may extend our notions of our universe well beyond the currently accepted dogma.
  • Dec 19 2013: Imagination deals with the reality which is not present, intelligence helps you to inhabit it, as if it is present. It's a kind of harmonising force that fits everything together harmoniously.

    And talking about knowledge, knowledge doesn't save from ignorance , intelligence does. :)
  • Dec 15 2013: In my mind, imagination IS intelligence, or at least one form of... Therefore I think the question not applicable basically. There are a number of things one could attribute to intelligence, and imagination is a big one. The ability to have an original thought.

    I also think many attribute imagination only to those who show creativity in fields like arts & music. I think that's unfair, and that people like physicists & engineers also demonstrate great imagination.
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      Dec 15 2013: Imagination sparks creative thinking, resulting in ideas. Our intelligence serves us to realize our dreams by transforming them into a tangible outcome. Ideas can be transferred from one mind to someone who is better equipped - more talented in the respective field - for logical application, but imagination is essential to conceive and visualize progress.

      In my mind only the combination of imagination and intelligence propels the human condition, thus they are on equal footing.
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    Gord G

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    Dec 13 2013: Great comments.

    I'm hip deep in a project ... and this thought gurgled up from the depths... I wanted to jot it down before it was covered by the silt of my mind.

    "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern." - William Blake

    These words have inspired such diverse individuals as Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison. It also hints at Plato's Allegory of the Cave. (and yes, it's often interpreted as a metaphor for the use of psychedelic drugs)

    The statement appears to suggest imagination creates awareness by suspending our perception between the finite (knowledge) and the infinite (possibility). Limiting perceptual bias that may impede our intellect.
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    Dec 11 2013: I suggest intelligence and imagination are interrelated.

    You need some intelligence to be imaginative.

    Not sure how much imagination is going on by rocks or plants or even ants.

    Suggest they work together to solve problems.

    Suggest a drive to implement solutions and build support for them is just as important as coming up with ideas.
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    Dec 10 2013: I agree that imagination is a must for us. I think of the cave man who imagined a god to explain phenomena he could otherwise understand. And definitely the chicken came first. lol
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      Dec 10 2013: " And definitely the chicken came first. lol" Wasn't the chicken born from the egg?
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          Dec 10 2013: Is my view on "what came first, the chicken or the egg" illogical?

          I'm guessing you don't "believe" in evolution?
        • Dec 11 2013: From where did the egg came ?
        • Dec 13 2013: The Point was obviously missed: A Chicken egg is an Ova (Nucleus surrounded by albumin or amniotic fluid) = Cell; with a hard shell added to protect from the external environment:

          1. The first simple/primaeval single cellular (Rather than, the later and more complex single cell of the Amoeba, which also reproduces by mitosis) Cell/Egg/Ova obviously also and "Unequivocally" reproduced by the same method of "Mitosis" as all cells still do today, within a greater group/tissue of cells: "That is Pretty Basic Biology".

          2. The Mother Cell which is the bearer of the daughter cell, produced by the process of mitosis does not require fertilization "That is Pretty Basic Biology".

          Finally!!! because belief is the laziest and easiest option, and refuge of and for an entirely closed mind. which is usually both impregnable and irreparable:

          Consider how unusual the Earth (Anagram of Heart), as viewed from Outer Space: It has a transparent atmosphere made up of of air, rather than transparent albumin or amniotic fluid; and it has a nucleus, which is driven be an electro-magnetic heart: And we call it a Biosphere, which is simply another term, that can be applied to an Egg/Ova

          Or The/Je Ova (Refer to www. for explanation of Green Language or Language of the Birds)
        • Dec 15 2013: No Chris Kelly; you did indeed miss the point because you dismissed it = thus proving the point.

          So sorry for upsetting you; I did not realise how important your super ego, and its close minded, sub cerebral vacuous opinions, are to the rest of us.

          They say that sarcasm is the highest form of intelligence, and the lowest form of wit; seems you missed out on both.

          As to your poor attempt at sarcasm/insulting me; sarcasm and insults have no harmful effect, as they only count when they are delivered by those close to me, or those I respect.

          And quite clearly you would never be able to reach the starting point, in that regard.

          Your ego is merely one ego, among more than seven billion souls on this planet; and of that number, this is one that you can neither physically or mentally bully

          Grow up.


          If your feel prone to, or you feel the need to crush the ego of another, in order to bolster you own ego, and self esteem;

          That is due to the weakness of your own character, not theirs.
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          Dec 15 2013: I think we have been through this before. My understanding of evolution......
          the first chicken that could breed with current chickens would have been born to some very chicken like birds that were just different enough from modern chickens that they could not interbreed.

          these proto chickens would have been egg laying creatures.

          in fact my understanding is all vertitbrates evolved from egg laying fish like creatures.

          my expertise is chemistry and materials so happy to defer to any evolutionary biologists or any more knowledgeable in this field than myself.
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          Dec 15 2013: According to evolution humans share a common ancestor with modern apes. Humans also reproduce via eggs, just we don't lay them.

          go back far enough and we share a common ancestor with chickens, same early vertebrate.

          Surely you acknowledge the similarities between humans, apes, mammals, vertebrates?

          are we not mammals,?

          do you have a better explanation than common descent?

          Once I learnt about evolution, it just seemed to make so much sense explaining the origin of species, the diversity and similarities, the tree of life. Amazing to think all DNA based life is connected.

          the origins of biology, from chemistry, the formation of self replicating molecules to cells to multi cellular life is less intuitive for me. But once we have DNA based life, seems easy to grasp how vertibrates evolved from a common vertibrste ancestor.
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        • Dec 11 2013: I agree with you that evolution is the obvious fact of nature.
      • Dec 11 2013: The cell is a nucleus, surrounded by endoplasm and ecttoplasm surrounded by a transparent membrane.

        A chicken egg is a cell nucleus, surrounded by transparent albumin/plasma, a translucent membrane and a hard shell.

        Therefore as life began when the first cell/egg, was formed in the primaeval oceans; unequivocally, the egg came before the chicken.
      • Dec 11 2013: I am curious to know that why and how the first cell created , who created it . And more specifically who imagined that when the chicken will come out of the egg then , it will have a brain,eyes,feathers,bones. Strange are the ways of nature.
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        Dec 11 2013: Chickens are not born, they are hatched..
    • Dec 11 2013: Amazing !! Yesterday night I was just thinking about who came first chicken or the egg in the context of this topic , and the same discussion is going.
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      Dec 11 2013: i have also had this thought about the cave people and deities.
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    Dec 9 2013: It's not either-or. One does not need to reach a definite verdict about imagination in order to enjoy it or to use it for scientific, literature, etc progress. Imagination can be both logical or illogical. That's exactly its advantage. Because imagination lies in the theoretical domain and theory can be logical or illogical. Perhaps imagination can be defined as a very long-range observing instrument installed at the frontiers of the intelligence.

    The duty of intelligence is to observe the diverse creations//findings of the imagination and make the right distinctions between which of them are logical and which illogical, which are ethical and which unethical, which are applicable in the real life (science, social relationship, .......) and which in the imaginary life (science fiction, literature, .........), which are useful in the real life and which are harmful in the real life, and so on.
    • Dec 9 2013: Your point of observation is aptly right.
    • Dec 9 2013: So who benefits from intelligent decision making? The one making the decision? Those who are affected by the decision? Both or Neither? Does it matter if it affects rational observers or inanimate objects? So is a decision made intelligently actually rational and logical? I guess it will depend on the scope on how you understand how things work or the desirable outcome in which one would seek. Oh I wish life had 1 to 1 relationships in regards to intelligent decision making.
    • Dec 11 2013: Nicely said...I have to agree with Mr Masalker.
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    Dec 9 2013: We all know people who are intelligent, able to understand difficult problems and solve them, but have little creativity (imagination). In the same way, we may know an artist who is creative in many ways, yet not uniquely intelligent. It seems they are different aspects or different mental abilities.

    What is missing from this discussion is wisdom. When we think of solving some of the mess we seem to be creating in our world, neither intelligence or creativity will be enough. The Manhattan project that created the atomic bomb was populated by perhaps the most intelligent, creative group of people ever assembled. Most of them knew what potential devastation they were creating, and yet they created it.
    Knowledge, intelligence, imagination, and wisdom all work together when we are operative at our maximum potential.
    • Dec 22 2013: Is wisdom just that simple, predictive power, the act of seeing possible consequences of actions?

      If so, it is impossible in general and only a very rough approximation of it is possible locally. You would need omniscience otherwise.
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    Dec 8 2013: Can it be that we can imagine because we are intelligent ?
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      Dec 9 2013: Or is it the other way around?
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        Dec 9 2013: I cannot make something out of nothing. If I am not intelligent what am I going to use as a possible starting point. Imagination is very close to assumption in many cases. Intuition, now that is different. Epiphany is when the pieces of a puzzle jump together ?
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          Dec 10 2013: Maybe it's a variation on the question, "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?"

          I am of two minds on this issue of imagination vs. intelligence, knowledge, etc. One is that I value imagination more for what it can accomplish. The other is they are inexorably connected.

          In any event, the imagination is more important when solving what is referred to here as "the human condition".
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        Dec 10 2013: Schucks ! I forgot to hit the reply button so the answer to your post is on top. Sorrry.
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    Dec 4 2013: Imagination is the fuel to an intelligent mind. For me it is much more important imagination , the capacity to create new things however if you are able to combine the two together, the final result makes a great difference.
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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."
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      Gord G

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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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    Jan 3 2014: Great discussion! Thanks all for your thoughts on the subject.
  • Jan 3 2014: For a moment even if we separate intelligence and imagination active imagination should be supported by an efficient execution,which needs intelligence and you can only put intelligence to use if you have the power to apply it in different dimensions-that is imagination.Both are coefficients of each other.Simple but true!
    • Jan 3 2014: Both are coefficients of each other true, but not quite so simple as you might imagine:

      Quote "and you can only put intelligence to use..." if You have the power"..."to apply it in different dimensions"

      So what part of the psyche (You) is applying what part of the intelligence (You), and is applying that power, in the unconscious realms, of your, non-conscious controlled dreams?

      Perhaps Carl Jung? (joking, but appropriate)

      Cheers Carl
      • Jan 3 2014: I truly appreciate your question.But then,dreams aren't a product of your imagination either.Because,you imagine things consciously-how much you can expand your intellect in different horizons.Your dreams are random manifestations of the bank of information lying unprocessed in your braint.So you need,rudimentarily speaking,intellect for dreaming,not intelligence.

        I don't get your reference to Carl Jung,sorry!
    • Jan 3 2014: Sorry Disha

      Totally disagree; and nothing is truly random or chaotic, as the same rules that apply to uniformity and order, apply within states of chaos; which is why states of order (patterns) manifest out of states of chaos.

      Cheers Carl
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    Jan 3 2014: Both intelligence & imagination are directly related to each other. An intelligent person definitely possess good imaginative powers and the same way a person good in imaginations is also an intelligent person.
  • Jan 1 2014: My definition of intelligence is, 'the ability to deal with novel information and complex situations.' Imagination would be a sub-set of intelligence. With access to the Internet, knowledge is becoming less required and less useful. As time goes on, the ability to 'think' - that is, to frame the issue and apply probable solutions - will far outweigh the possession of knowledge.
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    Jan 1 2014: I'm in awe of the considered and diverse responses.

    I realize the initial question was somewhat abstruse, and decidedly provocative. It seems to me both conditions are required to evoke a response.

    As different and varied the responses, they all acknowledge the central need for imaginative solutions to perplexing problems. I don't think anyone thinks imagination is not needed.

    So my adjunct question is...

    If imagination plays a role in the advancement of our understanding, why is the creative arts marginalized or eradicated in education today? Oh no! That sounded like a hidden agenda. But no it was a preliminary question designed to get people thinking about the importance of creative thought. After all ... a beautifully constructed musical harmony or an indiscernible connection with a visual performance underlies our fundamental need to comprehend the meaning of our existence.

    Or maybe we just know what we like. ;-)
  • Jan 1 2014: The difference between intelligence and imagination,at first seems to be easy but it is a little bit complex. I think one can't go without the other. Imagination is the reflexion of the intelligence. Intelligence is the driving force of imagination .This is what i came up with by using my imagination.
  • Dec 31 2013: Hi Allan

    I agree and as to your point "Which bring the first fruits of cognition to mind, in the absence of hard facts';

    This can be observed in the animal kingdom; whereby e.g. a wildebeest calf is born virtually able stand, and able to cognate and run from predators, of which it has had no previous experience, within a couple of hours, whereas the same process, takes years to develop in a human child.

    No one seems to consider; that although our micro electric neuron and nerve energy thoughts/transmissions are detectible via EEG, MRI etc; where does the fundamental energy source, of those detectible thought processes originate?

    It is fundamental that;

    There must be an input of energy in order for there to be an output of energy, in this case our internal thought processes, which in turn cause an output of energy in the form of action and creativity. Everything relative to energy in all its forms, is an ongoing cyclic conversion process; which is why we can observe these cyclic processes occurring in nature, as in the weather cycles, and the regular cycles of solar activity.

    This input of energy, in order for there to be an output of energy factor/law is conveniently ignored by physicist theorists; e.g. as the sub atomic components of an atoms structure are always in motion (orbits) where are they drawing the energy/fuel for their motion from; and even more obvious in relation to permanent magnets,which are the source of continuous electricity production, therefore must have a continuous input of energy.

    Also: Energy may be converted but it cannot be destroyed: Therefore the Holistic Energy of the Universe is Infinite and Eternal. And therefore Lemaitre's Big Bang/Abracadabra theory, has no basis or place, in the face of empirical science/physics; that the background radiation of the Universe is due to a singular explosive event, is purely an assumption based on the exclusion of the consideration, that it is ubiquitous throughout the holistic Universe.
  • Dec 31 2013: Hi EG

    Intelligence: Lower orders e.g. the Amoeba; is able and does react to stimuli = vibrations, and is able to analyse the strength of the vibrations, in order to “judge/decide” whether the other Amoeba is smaller or larger than itself: Which means it is aware of both the other Amoeba, and of its self, and the possible danger to itself; which “suggests” a rudimentary intelligence, as it is able to make a decision:

    Awareness of “itself” is not intelligence, and we can witness this fact in babies who have been born with congenital brain defects e.g. microcephaly’s; whereby they seem to be aware of stimuli, as in their eyes can follow a light, but they do not possess any intelligence cognition.

    Intelligence is awareness + cognition = Intellect; refer to OED Cognition action or process of acquiring knowledge, and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses; and therefore IMO awareness is essential for there to be a developing Cognition; Cognition is essential for there to be a developing Awareness:

    Neither is more important than the other; as both are equally essential, for there to be an “Intellect”; or what we “commonly” refer to as intelligence.

    Imagination: No I don’t think or believe, that the imagination is simply pictorial in nature, but rather that the imagination is; awareness + cognition “relative to” interpreting and cross referencing the input/data/information gained via the five senses, from the external environment.

    Intellect: As per previous explanation; awareness + cognition + 5 senses = progressive logic + progressive rationality = developing ideas, theories etc. “But let’s not forget in regard to our intellects and characters, that our emotions also play a major role in regard to both our intellectual, and physical pursuits, and decision making (And please don’t ask me how the emotions work, relative to intelligence and imagination, as you are already straining my brain [joking]).
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      Jan 1 2014: So :
      - intelligence is not awareness ;
      - cognition has to do with the process of acquiring data ; I wanna insist on this process , how does it work , is there possible to be cognition without imagination ?
      I understand what you said imagination is , how it works , but think at the process of imagination itself , isn't it part of cognition ?
      Look , I kept asking this question for quite a time and still no direct answer (depending on your answer I'm trying to make a point ) ; are we on the same line about this ?
      I'm tempted to think the process of imagination itself is part of cognition . If so , you can realize that the evolutionary chain order you presented is not quite good . It means that Amoebas are capable of imagination , you said they aren't ; do you see the point I'm trying to make by my questions ?
      You explained what imagination is , and by doing it you tried to answer my question I guess and I appreciate it ; but the problem remained , why ? ------because you used some complex processes/concepts (for example cognition) to explain imagination but there is still room for imagination within the meaning of that processes/concepts .

      As to the Universe :

      I think anything can be wrote in terms of logical relations , only to try . If you want , start by saying what you understand by 'recognizing' ?
      You said the physical universe can't exist objectivelly if there is no awareness to 'recognize' its existence . According to the common understanding of the verb 'to recognize' what you said makes no sense ; I'm asking you therefore : is there a special meaning you give to that verb , and what is it ?
      Idealism was the main current which pretended what you do right now --- Berkley , Bacon , they were the philosophers of idealism .
      I understand that the common understanding of the verb 'to recognize' is partially based on that assumption based on our common and reoccuring experiences .
      • Jan 1 2014: Hi EG

        I am not being impolite, but I am done with this; as I have tried in every way I can to simplify this in order to try and cross the language barrier, but it is clear to me I have failed and will continue to fail.

        Again I am not being impolite, but do you Have an OED (Oxford English Dictionary) because if not you are really at a disadvantage, and thus so am I, in trying to discuss a very complex subject.

        It took decades of thought to get to the point, where I can understand, and know beyond any doubt that the Universe is Infinite (Physical Energy) and Eternal (Metaphysical Energy = Space).

        Metaphorically speaking; there is no way, that one a person can walk a mile in another's shoes, and therefore I cannot possibly go over and explain all the thought processes that went into the journey; but I can tell it is a "personal journey" wherein, for every question you answer a dozen more arise to be answered or resolved.

        I wish you well on your own journey, which gets tougher, and goes on and on, as my own is still continuing, and seemingly without end

        Cheers Carl
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          Jan 2 2014: Ok , thanks for your participation so far .
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      Jan 1 2014: But could you say , when an awareness leaves the universe behind , and then returns to it later , it is not still there ?

      We're both physical and methaphysical in nature you say , because we're part of the universe and when we ask 'what's our scope' we actually ask 'what's the scope of the universe' . This is what you're saying , correct me if I'm wrong .
      There are problems with your view ----- one of them is the following : we ask about our scope , but we don't have an answer , how do you know there is a scope at all ?
      According to your view the universe exists only as long as there is an awareness ; it means that unless you want to say ' the universe exists only if there is the universe' , awareness is something different of the universe . Step by step , correct me if I'm wrong so far . But and here is the problem : you also said that our scope/our awareness's scope is the same with the scope of the universe . It cannot be both , do you see the contradiction I'm talking about ?

      My apologize for asking you if you understand what I'm saying when I think is important , i just wanna make sure we understand eachother .
  • Dec 31 2013: Thank your for your response .As I understand it, imagination is a brain function like emotion,memory and thoughts. There is a link between imagination and memory in brain . Imagination is linked to a person's ability to relate to past experiences stored in memory. I still believe imagination can not be perceived by senses. But imagination can influence perception. Imagination is something that the mind constructs . It is inside the mind. What we perceive
    is something real .Because it is detected by means of senses .
    • Jan 1 2014: I suppose imagination could be described as the extrapolation of a perceived pattern based on applied emotion. Patterns in our head can change the way we perceive things in the world, making them no less real, but viewed differently.

      For instance, I used to practice an exercise called par kour, which involved making obstacles work to your advantage physically. A few months into my training I started seeing the world differently; I would notice shapes and routes I never noticed before.

      Is this what you mean by imagination influencing perception?
  • Dec 31 2013: My compliments to Carl Dalton for reconsidering a censorious comment 22 hours ago and deleting it; something that took a courage rare among web commenters.
    • Dec 31 2013: Thank you; constructive criticism is always welcome
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    Dec 31 2013: Imagination: the faculty or action of producing ideas, esp mental images of what is not present or has not been experienced

    Intelligence: the capacity for understanding; ability to perceive and comprehend meaning: 2. good mental capacity: a person of intelligence.

    Alleviating the Human Condition: Unknown. The condition has not been identified.

    If you accept the above definitions then explain what the human condition is that you mentioned .... It will be much easier to answer your question.

    Also in what context did Einstein make the quote. I would rather have a person with medical knowledge treating me than a person with a vivid imagination if I went to the hospital ....

    I don't think this is a one size fits all quote.

    Awaiting your reply. Bob.
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      Dec 31 2013: "I would rather have a person with medical knowledge treating me than a person with a vivid imagination if I went to the hospital ...."

      Agree with you there Robert, but surely that knowledge must have started out as the product of someone's vivid imagination?
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        Dec 31 2013: Perhaps. I would say curiosity was the bigger player. In the early days "medical" people paid a grave robber for subjects to open up and have a look inside. It was not imagination but confirmation of what was expected.

        The Vitruvian Man, a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci , was not imagination but a result of notes from the architect Vituvius. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture. da Vinci using the Golden Ratio (or Phi) improved on the notes and penned the drawing. You will see this ratio used in all of his endeavors. Phi is roughly equivalent to 1. 618.

        I would hold that curiosity is the greater driver. It is the scientific model in the simplest form ... what is the cause and how can I benefit from the effect. ... prove it.

        At issue here is the clarification of "the human condition". If we are discussing Walter Mitty then the answer would be imagination ... for most other issues the answer would be intelligence.

        It all depends on Gord G responding.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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      Jan 1 2014: Hi Bob... as you may have imagined, the holiday season has taken a toll on my TEDding (fake word).

      I wasn't aware you were awaiting a response from me. The conversation developed a momentum beyond my input so I had stopped checking in for awhile.

      The "human condition" is a euphemism for the endless ways we suffer. The question addresses our inexhaustible desire to find a balance so we might find happiness. It encompasses the trivial (a hole in your sock) to the global (harmony with the environment) to the metaphysical (is there a God). These endless questions require all of our faculties to pursue. I was curious how that might be accomplished.
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        Jan 1 2014: What you have described is , to me, a habitual worrywart. Neither intelligence, knowledge, or imagination, can alleviate the human condition you have described.

        Hence the Serenity Prayer's plea for "the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

        Gord, thanks for the reply ... as my Aussy friend says ... no worries. Bob.
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          Jan 1 2014: Bob, it isn't worrisome taking an interest in the world and the people who share it. If you feel my question creates too much anxiety for you, perhaps you shouldn't participate in a forum that is specifically designed to ask such questions.
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        Jan 2 2014: Whoa Gord, where did that come from. I ask you for a definition and you gave it ... it covered all things from A to Z. I suggested that we cannot concern ourselves with all of the worries of the world and we should become more select as the Serenity Prayer advises us.

        I have no anxieties as you suggest ... but thanks for your concerns.
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          Jan 3 2014: I apologize Bob. You caught me on a grumpy day in a hurry. I misread your post. Take care.
  • Dec 30 2013: I believe intelligence helps us to understand imagination, and gives one the ability and to bring it to reality.
  • Dec 30 2013: I would hypothesise that imagination is a form of intelligence, which lies within the right brain realm of creative thought. Therefore, there is not a difference as such between them - one is simply a subset of the other.
    If intelligence is defined as the ability to propose workable and/or novel solutions to given problems, or make one's way in life successfully as defined by both individual and societal measures, imagination must be considered an essential attribute in the application of this skill. Otherwise, humanity would not have been able to implement innovative solutions to old challenges, such as moving freight efficiently (as evidenced by the development of the wheel), and new challenges such as increasing bridge spans through novel engineering techniques, and developing medical and policy measures and programs to reduce the impact of global issues such as infectious disease and pollution. These innovations and others required both a combination of imagination, and other forms of intelligence such as spatial reasoning and mathematical ability.
    Therefore, neither intelligence or imagination is more useful in alleviating the human condition, as they are both necessary and essential. That is assuming one can alleviate the human condition through either, with neither intelligence or imagination providing a solution (as yet) to preventing death - which is of course the final condition we humans all rest in.
  • Dec 30 2013: So foolish, yet so wonderful, are the imaginings of a child.

    Dreams tempered by intelligence become solutions.

    To alleviate what makes us human, only imagination can set the goal, and only intelligence can take us there.

    Afterthought:What stands in our way to achieving great things? Apathy? Fear? Insecurity? Poor time management? Are these the type of attributes the "human condition" refers to in this context? Intelligence and imagination can each help to "alleviate" these things in ways that are as equally important and useful as they are equally unique. It is the combination of the two that brings action to drive us forward and into success.Not everyone has great imagination. Not everyone has great intelligence. Few have both. When two unite, we see life occur, and wondrously.
    • Comment deleted

      • Dec 30 2013: I didn't mean to be condescending at all. I was merely implying that the dreams of a child, without the maturity of knowing how the world works, are foolish in the eyes of logic. I'm sorry if you took this personally in any way.

        And I can assure you I think myself in no way superior....

        Should I have put "In my opinion" before it all? :P
        • Dec 30 2013: My apologies Michael Tross, in that my response should have been more considered; however it does serve as a reminder to myself, as it should to others; to be careful in regard to how we choose, use, and place our words, in written conversation.

          And certainly had you placed the entry comment, at the end of the main body of content, it would have made perfect sense.

          And I shall now delete my own comment.
      • Dec 30 2013: This is an unfortunate and rude, even insulting ad hominen attack, Mr. Dalton. It is also unnecessary and not to the point of the Tross comment. It says more about you than him. Think about it. TED should be free of this kind of exchange.
      • Dec 30 2013: Carl, I understand you are quite active here on TED. I'm very new to forum discussion in general and this is my first post on here. If you have any advice as to how I could reword my answer so it is less offensive I would appreciate it.
        • Dec 30 2013: Hi Michael

          I am also very new to TED, and yet only recently had to deal with sarcasm and insults during this conversation, which I agree with Bill Bruehl, should not enter into the conversation; therefore perhaps I am rather prickly.

          There was absolutely nothing wrong with your answer, apart from the fact on now "further thinking about it"; while it would serve as a follow on to the last paragraph of my comment.

          Which was perhaps your intent, and would make perfect sense; a few words indicating it was a follow on; would have been appreciated.

          Apologies once again

          Cheers Carl.
  • Dec 30 2013: Hi EG

    The subject is. What is the difference between "Intelligence and Imagination", and which is more "Useful" in alleviating the human condition; not what is more important, knowledge or intelligence.


    Without "Awareness" = "Reception"; there would not be any reactive thought processes (Intelligence) that could be applied, to the signals/input/data incoming from the external world, for the "Awareness" to Convert/Coalesce into dendritic streams/branches of knowledge, and hence learning relative to the external world.


    We can no more take the "Scope of The Universe" out of the "Scope of Our Own Intelligence"

    Than we can take the "Scope of Our Own Intelligence", out of the "Scope of The Universe"

    If all life in the Universe were to cease to exist, then so would the Universe; because there would be no metaphysical awareness (Intellect), to recognize its existence.

    Amoeba/Primeval Cell

    An amoeba is able to detect another amoeba in the water surrounding it, "only" via the means of the vibrations, that the other amoeba generates through the water. However its limited awareness/intelligence/intellect", is able to "Judge" the size of the other amoeba from the strength of the vibrations, and "Decide" whether or not, it eats or flees.

    Therefore just as with submarine, sonar devices etc; the amoebas measurement of the incoming signals, involves a mathematical analysis process, which does not need or involve any form of visual imagery, and hence its decision making does not involve imagination.

    Therefore it follows: That as the primeval cells evolved into multicellular organisms with visual receptors, the faculties/intellect of these organisms increased accordingly; in order to meet and deal with the increased, and more complex forms of signals/data/information, being received from the external world.

    Hence: In the beginning was the word (Mother's Heart Beat) and there was the amniotic/deep water all around, then there was light, and then the world
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      Dec 30 2013: Firstly , I have to clarify something ---- I don't know how much we'll continue changing comments here but by anything I say I don't mean to be impolite . I'm not saying you said that I'm impolite , I'm just simply stating a fact about what I do . My principal goal is to say something understandable in English , I'm not a native English speaker .

      I know what the subject is but I replied to a comment in which you were arguing about knowledge being more important than intelligence , and then you replied back , so I thought ............. anyway , never mind .

      I agree that wihtout awareness/recognition there would not be any reactive thought process ( a type of imagination for instance) but is that possible to exist recognition/awareness without imagination ?-----that is the problem . How do we recognize something ? How do Amoebas ? Isn't there in the process of recognition imagination involved ?
      If there is , then your words that Amoebas do not have imagination aren't true . How does an Amoeba detect , recognize the vibrations ? If Amoebas functionate only as a mechanical organism , then there is not intellect , but if there is intellect and Amoebas aren't only some simple machines , can they be aware of the vibrations wihtout a bit of imagination ?
      I explained why I ask you this question --- the intellect do not work with that vibrations , it works with the decoded equivalent of them , equivalent which cannot exist in mind than only imagined .

      The Universe :
      - what you said about the Universe is true only if there is nothing like 'objective reality' . In the case there is objective reality , then what you said is false : The Universe will continue to exist even when there will not be any intellect wo be aware of it .
      What you said is true only about our own/subjective Universe .
      • Dec 31 2013: Hi EG

        I do not think you are impolite, and realised English is your second language; which is why ? the poor way I explained it, caused us to get our wires crossed: And why I re-stated the original question; with the added point that I was not saying that knowledge is more important than intelligence.

        Rather that in the higher orders at least, there has to be an awareness; before there can be an analysis of incoming stimuli = data = info; therefore as it is the awareness, that responds to incoming data, by analysing it; the incoming data is secondary to awareness, and therefore as awareness equates with intelligence;

        It follows, that intelligence = "analysis factor" + "data input" is the foundation of a learning process; and the type of learning process (E.g. perhaps Dolphin as opposed Human), and its on going increase/expansion and development; is in effect the ongoing evolutionary process, of the growing intellect.

        Therefore if we align this evolutionary process of the intellect, alongside that of the evolutionary process of life forms; so it can be deduced that the pictorial/scenic aspects of our imaginations at least; developed in conjunction with visual reception.

        Which is interesting, because if we consider our intellects as being primal and in isolation, without any form of visual input/stimulation; this suggests to me, that the analysis factor = intelligence, would be linear, rather than multi - dimensional in nature (have to give this some more thought).

        As to the Universe and the Amoeba; the question is, where does the primeval analysis factor, and the decision making, in regard to whether it is able to eat the other organism, or it must flee "originate" as this factor is metaphysical, rather than physical in nature.

        If we build a computer able to carry out the same functions as an amoeba; we call this artificial intelligence; but we do not credit e.g. the amoeba, as being a primeval form of "Natures - Universal Intelligence".
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          Dec 31 2013: How does awareness equates intelligence ? I mean , what we people call awareness , that consciousness , has little to do with what we understand by intelligence --- the ability to make sense of things or as you'd call it 'the analysis factor of data input' .

          I don't think imagination is only about pictoral/scenic aspects (I actually agree with you on this) . Isn't that imagination when we have an idea we never had before ? Could we have a new idea without imagination ?
          Data imput : how does an intellect receives it ? The intellect do not work with something else except ideas ; the data imput in order to be analysized has to be somehow converted in ideas and since we cannot have new ideas without imagination , can the intellect work without a bit of imagination ? Is that conversion possible without imagination ?

          The analysis factor or decision making factor is not physical in nature for sure , if we understand by physical 'material ' , but why do you say it is metaphysical ? The metaphysics is about the fundament , it's about the root of everything , it's about the first cause . Are you saying that the analysis , decision factors are the first things to exist ? If so , why ?
      • Jan 1 2014: Hi EG

        Regarding your last paragraph and the point/premise you made "The Universe will continue to exist, even if there is not an intellect present, to be aware of it".

        This is an assumption based on our common and reoccurring experiences; that when we place an object somewhere, and then then leave it behind us, when we return to it later, it is still there.

        However in relation to the entire physical universe; being totally devoid of any form of awareness external to the physical matter.

        And the physical matter of the universe, being totally devoid of any form of awareness of itself, or anything at all.

        The physical universe could not possess an objective reality/existence, because there is no subjective awareness to "recognize" its objective existence.

        It is hard to get ones head around; and I can't really help you or anyone with this, it is a personal journey, that takes you round and round in circles, until the realization dawns; as I stated previously;


        We can no more take the "Scope of The Universe" out of the "Scope of Our Own Intelligence"

        Than we can take the "Scope of Our Own Intelligence", out of the "Scope of The Universe"

        And it brought me to the unshakable, and absolute conviction; that the Holistic Universe (Actually Infinite and Eternal) is just as we are; both physical and metaphysical in nature.

        Mankind has merely created the worlds of digital "Virtual Reality"

        The Universe has Created both Objective and Subjective Reality; and thus in turn, also the Manmade/created worlds of digital "virtual" = approximates of objective reality.

        Cheers Carl
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      Dec 31 2013: Hi Carl... I appreciate your passion for the pursuit. I wish I had the energy to comment on all of your suppositions. The following comment caught my eye...

      "If all life in the Universe were to cease to exist, then so would the Universe; because there would be no metaphysical awareness (Intellect), to recognize its existence."

      I think because we exist, the potential for our existence is infinite...whether or not we exist at any given moment.

      If existence is awareness, then lack of awareness doesn't exist because we aren't aware of it. This would then mean when the infinite potential for our existence reasserts itself, existence and awareness would continue uninterrupted because we would be unaware of the cessation.

      So not existing can't exist. (at least from a metaphysical stand point)

      But flip the perspective and you could easily decide existence is impossible because there has to be non-existence in order to define existence.
      • Jan 1 2014: Hi Gord G

        My apologies; I should have said "Hypothetically speaking", if all life in the Universe were to cease to exist.

        Your reasoning/progressive logic is absolutely correct, and aligns perfectly with that part of my own reasoning.

        And as such as you say "So not existing can't exist at least from a metaphysical stand point; now add in "Energy may be converted but energy cannot be destroyed" and you have infinite and eternal awareness/intellect.

        In regard to "But flip the perspective and you could easily decide existence is impossible, because there has to be non-existence in order to define existence.

        That is why you need not to flip the perspective; but rather change the perspective

        In order for some-thing (object) to exist; there must be no-thing (metaphysical space) in order for it to exist within/of.

        This reasoning, then takes you into the realm of energy and physics = geometry and mathematics, and the journey continues.

        As to these being suppositions, others who have not made the long and arduous journey in order to reach them, may refer to them as being so. But their suppositions do not make it so, because their suppositions do not possess any relativity, to the journey that has been taken by this individual.

        My absolute and unshakable conviction, as a result of the journey travelled so far; is that the constantly changing/converting and evolving (Cyclic) Universe that created us; and instilled us with our intellect's, is as physical and metaphysical in nature, as we its children are.

        As to the Metaphysics; St Bonevita (No I am not religious) said "God's/The Creator's/The Universes" Centre is everywhere, God's Circumference is nowhere".

        Very astute; as all electromagnetic energy, radiates from the centre of gravity of a particle, or a body outwards. and so is recycled back into its source of energy, the Universe.

        Cheers Carl
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          Jan 1 2014: Okay Carl this is how I see it...

          Energy is potential. It isn't awareness. Energy as we define it has a specific purpose. It's believed to be an active agent in the formation of the universe. Unquestionably the result of the accumulation of energy has given rise to our consciousness, but unfortunately it doesn't hint at the source of our understanding or our origins. Neither does it seem to have a metaphysical purpose. And it's a sense of metaphysical purpose that confounds us.

          The easy answer is…there is no purpose. We're a momentary blip in the course of the universe. This may be true…but I think this premature postulation is limiting, if not completely subversive.

          We are larger than what we imagine. And we are much more complex than what we deduce. So I believe our biggest failing is not finding our place in the paradise we defined.

          It's an odd paradox that drifts with our discontent.

          [giberish aside…Happy New Year]
  • Dec 29 2013: Hi Eg

    Intellect/intelligence can exist without knowledge (E.g. The Unborn), but knowledge cannot exist without intellect (Recognition /Sentience).

    Intellect (Rationalization) can exist without imagination (refer to my comment concerning the Amoeba) but imagination cannot exist without the intellect.

    Imagination can only embrace what is known and recognized (learned) by the intellect; which via the means of logic and rationalization (Geometry and Mathematics and Comparison) can then be converted into multi - dimensional shapes, pictures and scenarios.

    How is it that we can pick and mix, and come up such fantastic and perhaps out of this world scenarios as of science fiction and fantasy?

    Because it seems never to be considered, that we are all of two minds; namely the subconscious and conscious;

    How can we know this?

    Because in order for any question/decision to be decided, there has to be a debate. And this is where computers fall down, because they cannot debate because there are no grey areas (We are + n - [Logic/Math - Emotion - Rationalization/Comparison]; computers are + -) only black and white = yes and no, on & off

    Cheers Carl
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      E G

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      Dec 29 2013: The first part was pretty convincing , but we're debating about knowledge being more important than intelligence or the vice versus . From what you said results that both knowledge and imagination cannot exist without intellect but it doesn't mean knowledge is more important than imagination .
      Actually , I'm not so sure knowledge and imagination cannot exist without the intellect . You somehow said that recognition/sentience is part of intellect but is it true ? If the intellect is our ability to connect dots , to solve problems then recognition/sentience has nothing to do with intellect ; recognition/sentience is an independent ability of our mind as well as the intellect is .
      Also I'm not so sure the intellect can work too much without imagination ; I read your comment concerning Amoeba and it was quite interesting but there is something unclear in it . When Amoeba detects the vibrations of their pray , how does it happen ? It receives I guess some stimulus from the water's vibrations , this stimulus has to be somehow decoded and the result of it would be let's say 'A' . This 'A' is different of vibrations , correct? it's something that corresponds to vibrations but is different of them . Well , in the humans case I don't think this 'A' has any importance to the intellect without a bit of imagination . In our case I think this 'A' is our construct of the decoded stimulus and when we perceive this construct we actually imagine something . That thing we imagine is what the intellect works with , right ?
      Knowledge is a result , the abilities that lead to this result are more important ( intellect , imagination , recognition.... ) .
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      E G

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      Dec 29 2013: "Imagination can only embrace what is known and recognized (learned) by the intellect; which via the means of logic and rationalization (Geometry and Mathematics and Comparison) can then be converted into multi - dimensional shapes, pictures and scenarios"

      Giving what I said I think the conclusions are like follows :
      - the intellect cannot work with anything that isn't already somehow imagined , then via the means of logic and rationalization can then be even more imagined ----it means coverted into multi-dimentional shapes , pictures and scenarios .

      Also , I don't think the detectings , the movings of Amoeba prove necessarily the existence of some kind of rudimentary intellect . They may be just some rudimentary pathological , mechanical reactions of Amoebas tissues to the water's vibrations . Anyway , the word 'intellect' is applied to something else and not to that reactions .
  • Dec 29 2013: Intelligence to me is a human test; IQ and people are defined by that IQ, therefore the IQ can be quantified by the group of people who invented and mark the test. I feel that imagination cannot be quantified by any group of humans as being imaginative. Imagination is the creative nature of all humans and is not right, wrong, good, bad, imagination allows invention that follows on to knowledge and quite often gives one a feeling of intelligence, and I feel that humans imagine for the purpose pure pleasure, play and love, if an invention is made out of this and knowledge follows then that does not make a person intelligent. I feel intelligence is a word used by other humans to box people in. I believe that imagination is the purest intention and the highest knowledge available to me. I send this with love and gratitude.
    • Dec 29 2013: Hi Susan

      In 86 I took the MENSA entry test, 93% for 1st paper, 13% for 2nd; thus I learned I needed glasses; some years ago, I was given this internet MENSA IQ test; and answered all 33 questions correctly, and corrected those which were wrong..

      MENSA stated, they welcomed people from all walks of life whose IQ is in the top 2%. They have some 100 000 members in 100 countries and are active in over 40 countries.

      You have to work out what the letters mean. See 0

      If you get 19 + questions correct you are a genius, Only 2 members of MENSA achieved full marks. See how well you do. Scoring; 1 – 5 is average. 6 – 11 somewhat intelligent. 12 – 18 intelligent. 19 + Genius.

      0. 24 H in a day: (A) 24 hours in a day

      1. 26 L of the A: (A) 26 letters of the alphabet
      2. 7 D of the W: (A) 7 days of a week
      3. 7 W of the W: (A) 7 wonders of the world
      4. 12 S of the Z: (A) 12 signs of the zodiac ETC

      8. 18 H on a GC: (A) 18 holes on a Golf course
      11. 90 D on a RA: (A) 90 degrees on a right angle
      28. 23 P of C in the H: (A) 23 Psalms of Christianity in the Holy Bible
      33. 15 M on a DMC: (A) 15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest; Treasure Island written by Louis Stevenson

      Q8. A hole cannot exist "on" any - thing. A hole can only exist in some - thing; therefore, question and answer are wrong: A Golf Course has 18 holes in the ground.
      Q11. A right angle is a concept therefore the degrees and their number, which go into the right angle, are a part of that concept. Therefore, there are ninety degrees in/to a right angle; “not on top” of a right angle.
      Q28. There are 150 Psalms in the Bible not 23

      This is not a test of intelligence; merely cross referencing numbers, and abbreviated letters, of general knowledge.

      It takes little intelligence, to link 24 to 24 hours in a day, but impossible, to answer question 33; unless having first read the book.

      As such I have no faith in IQ tests, or the intelligence, of those compiling them; intelligent yes, but I'm not a genius
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    Dec 28 2013: Hi Gord, Nice question.

    Personally I don't think however you define intelligence it helps solve the issue of alleviating the human condition. This solution (if we ever manage to find one), will probably be from the brink of destruction and devastation - as this seems to be when 'Man' is most productive at solving problems, especially societal issues that affect many peoples - the resistance to change is just part of our 'competitiveness' to survive.

    We are not natural thinkers, I believe this is the first thing we must understand (and teach to young people). I have many thoughts on imagination, thinking and alleviating the human condition:-:

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    Dec 28 2013: continuing :

    What is imagined and makes sense obeys logic , hence is an interpolation of logical musing ; it doesn't mean that imagination has stopped being the catalyst for intellectual innovation , any type of innnovation requires imagination .
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    Dec 28 2013: I think we need a bit more precision to answer that questions .

    Do you talk about imagination as the result of imagining (in the same way knowledge is the result of thinking) ? If that's what you call imagination then everybody can tell you that imagination is not the same with intelligence because inteligence is an human ability while imagination is just the content of ideas .

    On the other hand , if you call imagination the ability we people have to imagine things , then yes I agree is harder to clearly delineate it of intelligence . But it can be done , I guess .

    Intelligence is more like the ability to connect the dots , imagination is more like the ability to come up with new combinations . Sometimes intelligent people come up with new combinations because they've connected the dots better than anybody before , but this is not imagination . An imaginative person come up with new combinations just simply so , like out of nowhere . It's the same difference between a great poet who compose poetry when is drunk and a chess grandmaster ---- both this guys come up with new things , a poet with a poem and it just comes like out of nowhere , a chess grandmaster after spending enough time to think the all possible movements .
    In fact any time something new is discovered , e.g. a chess movement or a poetry , the ability to imagine is used --- here I think is the point of intersection between imagination and intelligence . When there is little imagination we may confound it with intelligence , they may be even the same , but when there is imagination for good the difference between it and intelligence is too evident .
    The result of imagination ( I mean the result of the ability to imagine) is sometimes seemingly illogical , the ability to imagine is never . The result of some intelligence may be illogical too , right ?
  • Dec 28 2013: Regarding the difference between intelligence and imagination, and for that matter which came first, we need only look to the nature and physiology of the single cell Amoeba; which we can equate with the primeval cell, in order to gain some insight.

    Amoebas vary in type and size, and gain their nutrition, by first detecting the vibrations of their prey through the water medium; and then moving towards it and enveloping it in pseudopodia; however if the vibrations are too strong, the amoeba will do the opposite, and try to get away.

    Therefore and although the amoeba, obviously cannot possess an imagination, it does possess a rudimentary intellect; which is defined by the fact, that it is able to calculate/measure, the size of another nearby organism relative to that of itself, from the strength of the vibrations it receives.

    And this rationalisation could not be achieved, without the presence of both sensory perception, and the ability to carry out the necessary mathematics; as to whether it gets to eat, or will get eaten.

    Therefore it follows, that the intellect preceded that of the imagination, and the visual imaging element of the imagination at least, would only have developed, subsequent to the evolution of visual receptors. And given the receipt of further data/information/knowledge from the visual receptors; this would stimulate the intellect to calculate/measure/rationalize this new source of information; and in so doing, develop/evolve its intellect further.
    • Dec 28 2013: Good points Carl Dalton.
  • Dec 28 2013: Both, intelligence and imagination are helpfull skills.
  • Dec 27 2013: I think people are thinking about this watt to hard, imagination leads us to becoming more intelligent. You imagine questions then use your intelligence to figure them out even if it is seemingly impossible you can still do the best you can to put a reasonable explanation behind what you imagine
  • Dec 27 2013: Sorry I disagree; as we do, dogs do possess different characters, they also dream, and therefore do possess imaginations; as to idea's, I have known of dogs, who have paid their owners back for ill treatment, by urinating in their beds, or destroying a favorite item.

    Also it has been proven; that other primates can learn languages and think in the abstract, and so can parrots, etc etc; and when considering the nature of the rest of the animal kingdom, relative to that of the nature of man; with its continuing history of warring, and vile atrocities; there is only one evil demon/beast that walks this Earth, and its name is "Man". And so much for intelligence! as in its "incorporated" greed and lust for money, and power over others; it is in the process of destroying, both the natural kingdom, and itself.

    Imagination cannot be more important than knowledge, because without knowledge, there is nothing for the imagination to work with, or be creative with; there simply has to be an input of fuel/knowledge, for there to be an output of imagination/creativity work.

    As to Einstein's quote: Note the second part of the statement "while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand"

    The mind and imagination cannot embrace the entire world, because it only possesses an infinitesimal fraction, of the knowledge required to embrace and understand the world; and it follows, in relation to"all that there is to know and understand"; that knowledge only represents, a few steps forward into infinity.
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      Dec 28 2013: That's right , knowledge represents a few steps forward into infinity , but I also think imagination represents a few more steps towards infinity . Unlimited imagination means embracing the world .

      I also think Eisntein was right , imagination can be and is more important than knowledge . We are human beings , that means is in our nature to receive data/knowledge from the outside world . Imagination is rather a gift and is much more useful for progress than simple knowledge , it helps us discover new knowledge .
      • Dec 31 2013: yes. The other point is that would it be possible even without coming any interaction with this world. Do you think imagination is absolute phenominon?
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    Dec 27 2013: Even Dog is Intelligent, but it is only Humanly possible to image and create ideas

    As Albert Einstein Said

    “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.”
    • Dec 27 2013: I personally think that the phrase '' dog is intelligent'' is not quite as correct.
      On the one hand, dogs can be intelligent because they have got mind; although people can not make a clear comparison between the dog and the human being.
      A dog can be intelligent as said before, if he is smarter compared to other dogs. It can not be described alternatively, because people should not compare an intelligent dog with an intelligent human.

      Nevertheless,people tend to create ideas and imagine, when having a high level of intelligence.
      (Intelligence + Emotion= Imagination)
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        Dec 28 2013: I appreciate your logic of Intelligence + Emotion= Imagination, but what i meant was that every being has some level of IQ which was helpful for survival during evolution. But imagination is something only human can have as per complex emotional IQ. Other life forms might be able to imagine that to May Be, as we don't have technology or evidence to prove that.....
  • Dec 27 2013: Imagination is a mental image of something that does not exist. It is a perception ,not real and can not be perceived by senses. It is useful in dealing with unusual problems resourcefully . But intelligence is the ability to comprehend . For understanding complex problems and solve them imaginatively one needs intelligence .Therefore intelligence and imagination complements each other . For lateral thinking and out of the box thinking imagination is required .But to alleviate human conditions intelligent innovations are required. An intelligent person will surely be imaginative .But all imaginative people need not be intelligent .
    • Dec 31 2013: If imagination can not be perceived by senses then how and what way it is perceived to be the perception of human mind. Excerpting from your first line, imagination is something which does not exist. In my opinion, if I extend your interpretation a little, we can say Imagination is absolute; but it must not be since all our thoughts (i.e. imagination) are inspired from the truth only.
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    Dec 27 2013: I think one way to look at the definitions of these words and concepts is to look at the different ways the brain processes the information in each case. Some of the concepts overlap a little, lets think about intelligence, imagination, and creativity for a moment.

    I see intelligence as raw processor power. High volume of intelligence will allow more options as a concept is considered. As several people have noted, High volume of intelligence is not necessarily required for certain brilliant insights in imagination or creativity...

    Imagination can be considered a mental visualization process. To imagine something is to visualize and/or connect the dots. To imagine something can quite often not be limited to something previously experienced or learned. New options and time and space may be changed to consider new points of view. A mind has made the leap from simple rote learning, memorization and digital processing to visualizing conceptual ideas and potential changes possible though altered variables. It is interesting to consider that the dimension of time may be a critical factor in the imagination process.

    Creativity is a new way of looking at learned experience and/or imagination from a yet again a different point of view. The intent is connecting the dots in a different way, to either imagine things in a different way, or to simply discover new thoughts and possibilities.

    I see knowledge and experience and being somehow related. More or less digital and learned. Creativity and innovation come from a different thought process, intrinsic and intuitive. I see intelligence as the processor power required for all the processes. Each individual has a different brain with different qualities in the different areas.

  • Dan F

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    Dec 27 2013: Hi Gord,

    It seems to me intelligence is a necessary precursor of legitimate imagination; perhaps just as knowledge is a precursor to intelligence.

    Albert Einstein point may have been that it is possible for one to be so obsessed with learning and becoming intelligent via acquiring knowledge that it becomes an exclusive end goal in itself. I would be willing to bet Einstein was not down playing acquiring knowledge, but rather suggesting high academic achievers are in a unique position to let their minds wander in light of what they have learned to "see" something significant others have overlooked that could shift academic exploration or perspective about something, which could lead to significant advances in what is thought to be.

    My view is more grounded in the hard sciences.

    I think intelligent people are more responsive to responsible behavior because knowing things tends to constrict one's willingness to buy into someone with an active imagination that often has a creative component, or agenda element less marketable to the more informed.

    We have plenty of "leaders" running around, and as to weather they are more useful in alleviating the human condition - perhaps if your just looking at popularity and financial success.

    Imagination can have incredible value as reflected in the arts. Isn't it interesting those masterpieces over the years appear to be most appreciated by the most intelligent among us?
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      Gord G

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      Dec 31 2013: Hi Dan, Your comment triggered a few questions in my mind.

      If the developmental succession is knowledge > intelligence > imagination, do you believe imagination is a higher order of thought? And if so, how could it be taught?

      I also believe Einstein's intention was to emphasize the importance of imagination in developing new ideas (in all areas of life, not just academic). I also think pure knowledge can be stagnating. It may serve the ego rather than foster innovative thought.

      Responsible behaviour is a matter of perspective...generally a group consensus. Does imagination need to be marketable? Marketability is based on past performance, imagination is the creation of new indicators.

      Leaders are always popular, or they wouldn't be leaders for long. It seems current society values financial gain regardless of moral or ethical ambiguity. Which of course means real change needs to begin with an engaged public that can imagine a world different than what current politically entrenched intellectuals are suggesting.

      And lastly... many "masterpieces" are not recognized or accepted in their time. The intelligent only take an interest after the work has been elevated to a status symbol by certified cultural purveyors (cultural mavericks). Do you believe this is different within the scientific community? For example, Gregor Mendel's work regarding biological variations was largely unrecognized after its first publication in 1866, it was rediscovered in 1900.
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        Jan 2 2014: Happy New Year.

        Imagination, to me is most commonly associated with curiosity and that native sense to explore, but can be tied to, or even triggered by gaining knowledge via open review.

        In my upbringing it was clear by parental dictates and tradition that there was a God that explained everything (bible) and I didn't need to concern myself about asking how and why thing are as they are. The more I was told how things were, the more I discovered there were other ideas about how things came to be.

        I was into natural history almost genetically, even as a kid! My sense of curiosity (imagination) opened up an entire new world of knowledge about biology and chemistry which in turn have shaped how I perceive the natural world.

        I don't know that it is as important to teach imagination as it is to allow and/or inspire it. Obviously how things are perceived can cause conflict within a family, a class, friends, colleagues, etc.

        Perhaps the most important thing to teach regarding one's curiosity or imagination is the value of being true to yourself and appreciating how sensitive other individuals can be regarding belief systems.

        In my case, I feel a direct link between imagination (curiosity) and learning new knowledge which hopefully has fostered my intelligence in the process.

        I think we make a mistake by looking at definitions too rigidly, or too encompassingly.
  • Dec 25 2013: I imagine a lot of things. Not that I got great knowledge of something, but it’s just fun to continue the story in my head. Sometimes it’s quite abstract. I can’t find a way to describe the obscure images of my imagination. One day, I happened to read a book written by some philosopher. It conveyed a clear logic to my mind. It was so intensely related to what I’d been just ’imagining’. I just thought, “If I had known this earlier, I would have been able to come up with more brilliantly structured ideas.”
    When both are combined together, your imagination becomes perfect.
    Imagine your childhood. We all have this kind of memory when we fear something for no reason but just out of “fear”. I believed there was a monster which feeds on people’s blood. I imagined its gross figure and how dreadful it would be to confront ‘it’. My parents assured me there’s no such thing and I didn’t need to worry about it. But it took me some time to get rid of the ‘belief’ from my mind.
    ‘Fear’ is also quite an abstract concept of your mind. Even if you have all the logical answers to the question, “is there a monster?”, that doesn’t mean your imagination can’t make you irrational. It can control your emotion and the ‘degree of your fear’—so to speak.
    A lot of people say that imagination is the source of creativity. That’s because imagining something requires expression in any way—could be drawings, writings, playing the piano, etc. But it could be still abstract to others. It needs at least basic knowledge to back up itself—to appeal to others. That’s where intelligence chime in—so that it gets more understandable when communicating with others, which is the key part of our lives.
  • Dec 25 2013: I think the subject matter of the first part of this question; namely, trying to determine the difference between Intelligence, and imagination, has been well covered.

    However, the second part of this question; namely, which is more useful in alleviating the human condition, has hardly been touched upon.

    Why because the term; "the human condition" is very broad in scope, and also covers a multiple of sins.Therefore it may be both interesting, and enlightening to address, what we each perceive the human condition to be; and perhaps in this regard, some degree of consensus may be found along the way.
    • Dec 30 2013: Let me take a crack at your original question, but also ending in the problem of the "alleviation of human conditions".
      First I would define the term intelligence as the ability to think or consider things logically and to connect different knowledge into some new knowledge or innovation. The latter part is also dependent upon one's imaginative power. However, this particular type of imagination is just a part of the general definition of "imagination". This general definition encompasses all the logical derivation or linking of intelligence and knowledge, as well as the dreams of all the people including the mentally deficient ones. In other word, really beneficial imagination could only be expressed and made practicable by the imagination of an intelligent person, the knowledge base is an auxiliary enhancement, but not an essential component, as commented by Einstein. Knowledge could be acquired, especially by the intelligent and diligent people.
      Now IMO, the human condition is alleviated more meaningfully by improving their living conditions by teaching or helping them to produce more life's necessities and comfort, rather than the temporary relief for food under the condition of starvation. Moreover perpetual avoidance of death is not necessarily a practical, or even an ultimate, solution. The development in medical sciences is advancing the process in regenerating almost all the internal human organs by stem cell transplant, but there is one organ; the brain, which could also be regenerated, but the regenerated one will not be able to retain all the ability of intelligence and memory. Thus when a human is completely "renewed",we are just replacing a new human with the same genetics, but lost all the innovation and imagination of the original copy, but with an infant stage capacity of the "original". Then, what would be the benefit of such eternal longevity compared with reproducing such human with his offspring who might be,on average,a better replica of him.
  • Dec 24 2013: What you mean here by "imagination"? And what you mean here by "intelligence"? When and where and for what subjects shall be comparison done?
  • Dec 24 2013: Heather, the point I was trying to make, is that the same comments/points are being made over and over by different people, and in effect, the conversation is simply going around and around in a circle. To the point I will keep an eye on the conversation, but think it has become bogged down.
  • Dec 24 2013: No I did not read all the comments,and will not as I do believe they go hand in hand,and you are born with it . I also believe everyone has in born gifts,but not always the same kind or type. Look at some of the mental deficient people who have great gift of one kind or another. I have read of one who can do math the average person would have a problem with even with a computer,and another who was a genus in connection to music.But I do not believe a person can have an imagination with out the ability to understand it. Heather
  • Dec 24 2013: In the beginning, the first awareness we have; occurs when an external sound, or contact with the womb, arouses our thought processes: Therefore In "theory" there can only be the emotional curiosity, of the developing thought processes, reacting to the various sounds of the mothers heart and organs. Therefore given that e.g. the heart has a regular beat, and the organs provide different sounds and rhythms of sounds and motion; so the developing thought processes begin to (ratio = math) rationalise and compare them to each other.

    Therefore (in theory) given that there is no history of knowledge or imagery; in regard to the external reality of the physical world; there are no visual, or knowledge based foundation blocks as yet, to stimulate the development of an/the imagination. However in reality (refer to www.Science 2.0 and Parenting) human and animal babies in the womb, do appear to show signs of dreaming.

    Personally, the far more important question for me was, where did my thoughts originate from?

    And in this regard, and after many years/decades of consideration, I have reached the unshakable and personal conclusion; that just as with our own mind and body, the Universe is both metaphysical and physical in nature: And I do not see any reason why, given that the intelligence of mankind has created here on Earth, the digital worlds of virtual reality; that there cannot be an Holistic Universal Intelligence/Sentience, that is responsible for the "Ever Evolving" and "CREATIVE UNIVERSE" surrounding us.

    Therefore I do not believe in a God, or any written or spoken words, that ordain that I should worship a God; as I have far too much respect for the Universal Intelligence; to believe that it is a megalomaniac, or that it needs my infinitesimal intelligence, and my ignorant being, in order to defend it.

    As to the BB theory; Energy may be converted but cannot destroyed; ergo the Holistic Energy of the Universe is Infinite Energy and Eternal.
  • Dec 24 2013: No Chris Kelly

    I have never reported a bully at any time during the 63 years of my life; despite being only 5' 2'' in height; why because I despise bullies, "but" they have always provided me with some of my most memorable, and greatest satisfactions; when either physically or verbally/mentally taking them down. And what bullies/cowards do not realize until its too late, is that the little guy, because of his size, has got a hell of a lot more practice in, in dealing with adversity and fighting, because of miscreants like them.

    However there are a great deal more, whose cards are marked, and I look forward to dealing with them in the after life.

    Grow up

    And if you are the person who was responsible for the three threats (viruses) to my computer since I joined this conversation, they were blocked; and even if they were not, annoying yes; but indeed that is always the case, when you raise the ire of the pathetic.

    Ps: Yes I am a pussy; A Leo born in the year of the Tiger, and in numerology, my number is 7
  • Dec 23 2013: I think the intelligence is not own by any one, but imagination is owned by every one, addition to that intelligence result almost true, but imagination result almost wrong.
  • Dec 23 2013: To have a goal, what ever that goal is, you need imagination. To achieve that goal you need intelligence.

    And maybe what Einstein realized, and why he used the word knowledge as an alternative to intelligence, is that part of the equation - knowledge - can be learned.

    Dream = Imagination * Knowledge ^2

    ..... Knowledge is squared, as it takes " time and effort "

    just for fun....

    Dream = Imagination * (time and effort ) ^2

    Dream = Imagination * time * time * effort * effort

    I think if you ask people who've had a dream and made it a reality - they might well agree - it takes lots of time and lots of effort.
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    Dec 23 2013: The only difference between the two is that imagination is unfathomable, mysterious but orderly; that's why beautiful as the universe ( maybe Einstein relate to the same thing) while to some extend intelligence is measurable (IQ,EQ). the similarity between the two is that both are evolving depending on the circumstances. In order to have better imagination you need intelligence. Imagination is innate in human beings, intelligence is acquired through the process of evolution and(wo) man-environment interactions, intelligence is ignited by the needs that one has to achieve, when intelligent search ends or exhausted, imagination begins based on what one have through intelligence. all i can say, it is a web of beautiful connotations, I don't know where, really and accurately one begins and ends, again, it's a matter of intelligence and imagination.
    Till now both intelligence and imagination has serve me well. Merry Christmas to all TED members.
  • Dec 23 2013: Gord G can people ever be intelligent without being imaginative? if so how?
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      Gord G

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      Dec 24 2013: I think intelligence is the successful application of knowledge. While imagination is the successful divergence from knowledge (synthesis). Which means there are a multitude of professions that prefer intelligence over imagination. For example a doctor applies knowledge intelligently to make a diagnose. He/she would only resort to imagination if he/she and his/her colleagues have exhausted reasoned options.
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    Dec 23 2013: My imagination as a kid helped me immensely in impressing my first girlfriend ,as I got older my intelligence helped me realize that I would never be smart enough to understand them ,
    so thats where my imagination came back into play .
    A circle I realise . Intelligence ... maybe
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    Dec 23 2013: First of all, define for us what your understanding of intelligence and imagination is before we can go any further.
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      Gord G

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      Dec 24 2013: My question is asking you to define and compare the words. No doubt I have an opinion, which I've expressed in other posts, but I'm interested in how other people make the distinction.
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        Dec 24 2013: The words, when compared, make more words. I am not interested in words, but in the action that the words point to. Therefor, no comment.
  • Dec 23 2013: Maybe the thing that Imagination is something so abstract and we can not put it in a box should make us wonder.....if imagination is not intelligence then intelligence is what?
  • Dec 22 2013: if a person has no imagination,where is the intelligence? You have to have the ability to see beyond what is here to make or live into the future.Light bulbs! space heaters! ice tea! get the picture?
    • Dec 22 2013: Heather: I don't think you took the time, to read through several of the previous comment/parts of the conversation; however;

      Q. If a person has no intelligence, where is the imagination/picture? A. There is no imagination/picture

      And if knowledge/data has not been acquired; you cannot apply, intelligence or imagination

      Get the picture?
  • Dec 22 2013: Laura: I think and seems to be a reasonable assumption, but not necessarily so: that the group of conditions that are encompassed by the term dyslexia, and others such as cases of autism etc; occur due to failure of one part of the neural system, to develop at its correct pace with other neural functions; and because of this, another aspect of the neural system will develop at a greater rate, and greater than normal extent, in order to compensate for this, "just an off the top of my head thought, regarding this.

    The most important factor is; that all types are studied, with a view to recognizing early childhood symptoms; and developing teaching methods, aimed at increasing the development rate, of the effected area of the neural system.

    And as children (and ignorant so called adults) can be, and often are cruel; ensuring that neither bullying nor discrimination, is inflicted upon the child.

    Sounds like you came out of it Ok, I am glad to say.
  • Dec 21 2013: "Everything you can imagine is real."
    -- Pablo Picasso
    • Dec 21 2013: Sorry cannot agree:

      If everything each, and every one of us, totalling more than seven billion soul's/psyches/id's/ego's, can and do imagine, were real;

      Then contrary to reality as I both perceive and I imagine it to be;

      Reality would be in such a state of absolute total chaos, that no living thing could exist within its mega trillions, of simultaneously occurring contradictions.

      And that is without my also having added;

      The dreams and imaginings, of the billions of other living creatures, that go into the rest of the animal kingdom, into Picasso's big picture.
      • Dec 22 2013: I get your point. There would be no space for all of the physical manifestaions of everyones' imaginings.
        But, we think, and our thoughts are real, tho they have no physical mass. So since imaginings are thoughts (and thoughts are real) then imaginings can also be real. Feelings are also real. I think we would all agree with that, having experienced these things.

        Real does not mean that a thing must have physical reality.
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          Dec 27 2013: "Real does not mean that a thing must have physical reality."
          Exactly. You could go further and say that the only real things are non-material things that last for ever (ie: are eternal, eg: love joy peace ...). Things that don't last for ever (eg: material possessions, the human body in its physical form, money ...) are NOT real.
          (Just a suggestion)
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          Dec 29 2013: Brilliant!! The only reality is love, peace and joy and every physical good comes only from this source. So I wish love, peace and joy for everyone on Earth. Have a great 2014!!

      • Dec 28 2013: Joshua, that is really deep and insightful. Since I believe (or so far, it makes the most sense to me ) in a spiritual realm in which we experience multiple lives {yes, re-incarnation} for the purpose of learning and advancing, what you say is about the truly most important things. Not posessions, human form or money, but love, peace and joy.
        Those are the things that really count. Those are the worthwhile things that are 'real.' Thank you for bringing that up. One does not have to believe in reincarnation to recognize that; it can be compatible with one life and heaven. It is what is important in our human/spiritual advancement.
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          Dec 28 2013: Hi Laura,
          Thank you for your comment. My comment about what is "real" was probably coming from being influenced either by "A Course In Miracles", or possibly "The Pathwork Lectures".
          To me, re-incarnation makes total sense, but I have no desire to persuade anyone else that it might be so. What's more important to me is to accept I am some kind of eternal spirit being on a never-ending journey of growing in consciousness - which I find exciting - and also relevant to the chop-wood-carry-water of my daily existence on planet earth.
    • Dec 21 2013: I am going to have to go with Chris Santen and Pablo Piscasso on this one. Before one sounds to looney here, one must operate within current state of reality. States of reality are establish by boundaries that compose of man-made constructs Space and Time. I call this Zero-point. Zero-point is when the observers in infinity try to rationalize their surroundings primarily for survival.

      Piscasso's statement should not be taken as instant to a confined space and time. In infinity all possible outcomes will occur, whether observers have opinions on this is irrelevant to what will happen, has happen and will happen again. Everything exists whether it is present to be verified that is a different story. You might say it is a conjecture. I would say this is not likely to be verifiably. For what we see in front us is made from constant change, constructs emerge from durations of extremely slow to instant. One might also argue your very presence is derived from total chaos.
      • Dec 22 2013: All living creatures operate within “their” perceived, discerned, and sensory fields/arenas/worlds; to the degree of their mental and physical limitations.

        Mankind apart from the ongoing effects of it doing its damnedest, to commit the genocide of every type of species, including eventually itself; has zero input in to those constructs
        Time is a geometric concept; based upon the Sumerian division of a circle into 360 degrees;
        (A diameter 120cm long multiplied by 3 = 360cm or 360, 1cm long degrees = to the length of three 120cm long right angles; of the square, of the original 120cm diameter length)

        Relative to the circumferential length of the Earth, divided into the elliptic length, of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (see post of 1 day ago regarding Einstein).

        However one can argue quite rightly that everything imagined is real; in the sense that all thoughts are constructed of energy; therefore as all energy is real, and all energy may be converted, but it cannot be destroyed; and all energy is of the holistic Universe that created us; so it follows that as the energy of our imaginings is real, then so are our imaginings.

        However Picasso’s statement is all encompassing, and does not differentiate; between physical and metaphysical realities.

        And indeed my presence is derived from chaos; as all physical constructs, are energy that has been sub atomically, and atomically combined into geometrical aligned structures; and despite our perceptions in regard to chaotic states; the same geometric rules apply within all states of chaos; which is why, all chaotic states are destined to, and are in the process of;

        Returning/metamorphosing, back in a state of geometrically/mathematically driven order/construction;

        A process we can all now observe as occurring within the interstellar dust clouds; e.g. the Pillars of Creation.
        • Dec 22 2013: I agree one must disguise realities. Though it is hunting, I still agree with Picasso, again to no reference to instant reality. We can only speculate what he really meant and where did that quote derive from. I don't really agree with the big bang theory more or less how it is presented to us coming from nothing and putting time and space construct to it. They say that universes comes in three varieties: circle, bell shape, and flat. Linear thinking. You will see as science progresses they will slowly turn the corner in regards to conversations relating to infinity, but this is another conversation.

          Imagination pushes the envelope of reality, what is possible and impossible. Our intelligence is constantly being challenged, forcing us to adapt from what seemed to be illogical to what is logical.
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    Dec 21 2013: A combination of exceptional intelligence and extraordinary imagination tempered by wisdom through many years of education and experience may be the key to solving many of the man-made problems we are facing today.
  • Dec 21 2013: I placed the word labeling next to diagnosis; because as you said, labels are thrown out freely, and interpreted loosely e.g. dyslexia, attention deficit disorder etc.

    When at school I suffered attention deficit disorder during every scripture lesson; I came 27th out of 32 in the exams (Disappointed I did not come last) whereas first in science, being the only child to ever answer 50 out of 50 questions correctly.

    Why because the science teacher was engaging, and was able to simplify down the subject matter, and communicate it well, by using simple terms, and using simple common language, so that our young minds could easily absorb the subject, while also being bound up in the enthusiasm, she generated in regard to her teaching of the subject.

    My point being that learning difficulties as you say, do not lie in what is being taught; but rather how it is being taught and presented; relative to different styles of learning and mental accommodation/memory.

    A Teachers main aim, should be to both simplify and communicate a subject matter, in a manner that is the most presentable according to the general age, linguistic, numeracy, auditory, visual abilities etc. of the pupils/students.

    However many teachers, and more so in the academic levels (I am neither); are more concerned with their own ego's rather than those of their students.

    When giving a talk; I always began by saying I will be asking questions, and then; however if you are the person who I am asking the question, I want you to know that I do not necessarily expect you to be able to answer the question. As it is easy for me because I already know the answer, so I am only asking you the question, because I think you may have already worked out the answer, and to keep up your level of interest; so if you don't know the answer no shame in that and no problem, just say so and I will explain it instead.

    And you could sense an immediate air of surprise, relaxation, and you had their attention
    • Dec 22 2013: I myself had a case of dyslexia long before there was much in the way of recognition in schools of this condition. It did not cause me problems with reading or spelling, but with math. Those numbers would just turn themselves into other numbers or reverse themselves and, tho I knew I had them wrong or mixed up, I could not straighten them out.

      I also had problems with left and right. It was not until I was in my twenties that I found out there was a name for all this, and that other peole had it too. If I am tired or stressed it can pop up again.

      But, here's the fun and impressive thing about this. When I was a child I found I could write backward very well with my non-dominant hand. When I was 48, I found I could easily and neatly write with both hands, at the same time, one forward and one backward, in sentences that someone else asked me to write. So - maybe it just counts as a "parlour trick" but it is rather neat.
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    Dec 21 2013: There is this famous quotation by Albert Einstein: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
  • Dec 20 2013: Sorry to disagree; with the emphasis being placed upon that of visual spatial learning, in regard to the condition of dyslexia, which is still a condition that is being investigated, and far from being understood.

    OED, Dyslexia: A general term for disorders that involve difficulties in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not effect general intelligence.

    And in regard to this list: e.g. Leonardo Da Vinci "Polymath - Inventor - Artist - Sculptor - Aero dynamics - Anatomist" and in regard to the latter Anatomy; it could be argued that he was the founding father of this subject; as his dissections of the human anatomy, and the sheer brilliance and clarity of his subsequent anatomical diagrams; even including his discovery and diagrams of the blood vortices of the heart: Certainly excludes any form of learning difficulty.

    Therefore I would beg the question in "each and every case"; when and who was responsible for diagnosing "Labelling" each of these famous people, as being dyslexic.

    And more especially e.g. given that Dyslexia was not recognised as a condition until 1881. Who was responsible for diagnosing (And by what right) such great and magnificent minds of history, as e.g. Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo as being dyslexic.

    And given such a list of history's most brilliant minds; I would diagnose that the failure of comprehension lay not within those brilliant minds; but rather the lack of comprehension, and the subsequently lacking interpretations, of the far from brilliant observers.

    And finally in regard to the historical, and endless chicken and egg controversy:

    Which came first the egg or Archaeopteryx - Microraptor - Andnornis which had feathers, and preceded the chicken: Or the Pterodactyl and Pteranodon which were dinosaur birds of a feather/family; but had none.
    • Dec 20 2013: No need to put labeling where is it is not needed.Labels are thrown out freely and are interpreted loosely. I agree on what you pointed out, however, like everything else it always needs further investigation. Dyslexia could be misdiagnosed with overlapping symptoms for people who are actually visual spatial learners.

      The learning difficulty does not lie in what is being taught, but in how it is being taught to different style learners. The use of imagination will vary depending on someones learning style. With this said, we live in a education system that is set up for auditory-sequential learners. This can also lead to people being mislabeled, as slow or just average.

      In regards to intelligence, I would repeat your words.

      "I would diagnose that the failure of comprehension lay not within those brilliant minds; but rather the lack of comprehension, and the subsequently lacking interpretations, of the far from brilliant observers." - Carl Dalton
  • Dec 20 2013: Many famous notable people in history have dyslexia which is linked to Visual Spatial Learning. Here is a list from Wikipedia, it is quiet interesting.

    Einstein, Tesla, Maxwell and Leonardo da Vinci are listed to name a few.
  • Dec 20 2013: Well visual spatial learners use a great deal imagination for they primarily think in pictures. The way we learn sculpts our intelligence.

    Thinks primarily in pictures
    Has visual strengths
    Relates well to space
    Is a whole-part learner
    Learns concepts all at once
    Learns complex concepts easily; struggles with easy skills
    Is a good synthesizer
    Sees the big picture; may miss details
    Reads maps well
    Is better at math reasoning than computation
    Learns whole words easily
    Must visualize words to spell them
    Prefers keyboarding to writing
    Creates unique methods of organization
    Arrives at correct solutions intuitively
    Learns best by seeing relationships
    Has good long-term visual memory
    Learns concepts permanently; is turned off by drill and repetition
    Develops own methods of problem solving
    Is very sensitive to teachers’ attitudes
    Generates unusual solutions to problems
    Develops quite asynchronously
    May have very uneven grades
    Enjoys geometry and physics
    Masters other languages through immersion
    Is creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted
    Is a late bloomer

    Thinks primarily in words
    Has auditory strengths
    Relates well to time
    Is a step-by-step learner
    Learns by trial and error
    Progresses sequentially from easy to difficult material
    Is an analytical thinker
    Attends well to details
    Follows oral directions well
    Does well at arithmetic
    Learns phonics easily
    Can sound out spelling words
    Can write quickly and neatly
    Is well-organized
    Can show steps of work easily
    Excels at rote memorization
    Has good auditory short-term memory
    May need some repetition to reinforce learning
    Learns well from instruction
    Learns in spite of emotional reactions
    Is comfortable with one right answer
    Develops fairly evenly
    Usually maintains high grades
    Enjoys algebra and chemistry
    Learns languages in class
    Is academically talented
    Is an early bloomer
  • Dec 20 2013: In regard to Einstein's assumption; that imagination is more important than knowledge; and also for that matter, relativity and time.

    Imagine that "unknowingly" you are dreaming, and in your dream, you are rather as when back in your mothers womb, naked and simply floating in space; and as you look around you, all that you can discern surrounding you, is an all pervading, diffuse light.

    What time is it?

    Where are you?

    What are you?

    You are no when - as there are no clocks or calenders, and thus no concept of time. You are no where, as there are no landmarks, or places to be seen. You are no one particular thing, as you do not know what you are.

    You only know that you exist, because you think you exist, and as you think you exist, so you know that you exist; and that is "your sum/all".

    Therefore it follows that;

    The absorption of data/gen/information/knowledge = learning, that precedes the development of your intelligence, that precedes your entry into the visual - "images" world; and hence the visual enhancements of your intellect, and thus the development, of the flowering realms of your imagination;

    lies in the future of your physical, and mental being; and not in your yet to develop, image - ination.

    And if we step back in time, to that of the primaeval singular cells which formed in the oceans, and given the same unknowing type of scenario; the very first form of sensory perception to intrude, from the external environment, would be vibration/sonar/hearing impinging on the outer cellular membrane (just as it does with the evolved tympanic membrane.of the ear); and later, the visual receptors and their retained and very close linkage to the auditory senses of tonality, and other senses would evolve.
  • Dec 19 2013: intelligence is quite often so arrogant.
    imagination is a nerdy geek in your mind; ready to surprise 'intelligence'.
  • Dec 19 2013: Intelligent people are more rational thinking, while imaginative people tend to use sensibility more. I think it varies from different conditions as to which is more useful.
  • Dec 19 2013: intelligence is a mental energy that is available with an individual whereas imagination is the capacity to create a new idea.
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    Dec 19 2013: Good & interesting question :)
    People with power of imagination is often considered to be dumb or crazy. To me it seems intelligence is something based on current level of knowledge / logic / reasoning and imagination goes beyond that to far future.....

    Imaginations bring breakthrough innovation where as intelligence seems comfortable with status quo....that's how I can think of differentiating these two right away...
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      Dec 19 2013: I had a quick look at this. It didn't really explain how the root races came about in the first place.
  • Dec 15 2013: I think these wiki entries are very good:

    I am not sure the human condition should be alleviated, I think it should be embraced.

    Intelligence increases our chances for survival and permits imagination. Intelligence is more useful, but I believe imagination might be one aspect of intelligence. Lateral thinking is something that calls on imagination, yet successful lateral thinkers might be intelligent. Imagination without bounds might be fantasy. Intelligence uses imagination and applies it to creative problem solving, expressions of art, or idle dreams, all at the command of the mind.
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    Dec 11 2013: Here's the formula:
    Knowledge + imagination = Intelligence
    • Dec 14 2013: Often one finds imagination in children; before their minds become clouded by intelligence. So, a combination is ideal but separately they're not as good as in combination.I.e. out of the mouths of babes, often truths are said.
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    Dec 11 2013: intelligence is the logical creativity while imagination is the more original and rare creativity.
  • Dec 11 2013: Intelligence is adapting one's acquired and inherited skills, knowledge and expertise to achieve a desired objective. Intelligence defines what is possible within given constraints making best use of the available resources. Imagination is the flight of the human mind without any constraints of "what is possible". Intelligence is useful in alleviating the human condition under conditions of depravity, scarcity where it can be used to achieve more with less. Imagination on the other hand is unconventional thinking with a much larger canvass where larger issues of human alleviation can be addressed. Intelligence in my view always follows imagination. As a person grows and is subject to biases, prejudices, life experiences and education he is likely to become more intelligence and less intuitive or imaginative.
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    Dec 11 2013: Intelligence deals with factors we have perceived; imagination forms new unpreceived factors. Why do we want to alleviate the human condition?
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    Dec 9 2013: I think intelligence is the capability to understand and make some good things happen to solve problems. Imagination is the ability to come up with some new ideas. I agree intelligent people always have a good imagination,but I don't think imaginative people are all intelligent, it depends on more subjective factors.For example: there're many artists who are very imaginative in painting something not understandable, but they may not have high IQ and not every person likes their paintings.
    • Dec 9 2013: Smart people follow the rules of logic, geniuses challenge the rules of which that logic stands on. If anything imagination is an abstract understanding of knowledge and intelligence is a more precised understanding of knowledge. However, useful knowledge is only applicable if it can be properly applied to a particular situation or problem. We must not be narrow minded and disregard one's thought process because we do not understand in the rules of which they operate. Also the same thing can be said to people who have a high IQ, if you have a great understanding on a particular subject and you can not fundamentally converse a message to the masses, then the message is lost. Your understand of knowledge might not be applicable to that person's situation or problem. Often coming across as unintelligible and socially awkward.

      One question, I ponder is How does Artificial Intelligence incorporate imagination? Also how can an A.I. system be smarter than humans if the rules and laws it is programmed with were incorrect since the programming is based on human logical thought. We are constantly changing our minds over the course of history. I do understand computers can compute faster than humans, but how does an A.I. system decide not to chase down a rabbit hole like try solve computational problem that has no end like pi to be absolutely precise?
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        Dec 9 2013: I agree that intelligent people's logics are often different from those of ordinary people. But their thinkings still have to be logical in a new creative way to make things truly work. And they also learn from their ancestor's normal logic to learn some basic things.They may be not good at articulating their thinkings but they can show in their ways to solve problems with their actions,drawings or objective results and make people think they're amazing and intelligent. What you talked about was EQ, intelligent people may have some difficulties in communicating with people, but this is also subjective. Different people may have different thinkings.

        And I don't think and hope one day robots can replace us to have its creativity like humans'. I hope they can help people just as dogs or machines do.
  • Dec 9 2013: I actually find this conversation related to intelligence very arbitrary. For this particular reason: For one problem solved, one is created.

    Albert Einstein — 'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.'

    Intelligence is practical to areas where that source of knowledge is applicable. However, imagination is the tool that helps transforms the illogical to logical, impractical to practical. Exam history and look at some of the World's greatest minds Einstein, Tesla, and most recent Nelson Mandela; to advance their intelligence they had imagine what was beyond logical beliefs of their time.

    The fact that you correlate these two terms is like discussing which side of the Ying and Yang we are starring at.
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    Dec 9 2013: Re: "One might say imagination is a subgroup of intelligence, but doesn't imagination often encompass the seemingly illogical?"

    You seem to imply that intelligence must be "logical". I'm quite sure that intelligence is not just the ability to rationalize and make logical conclusions. E.g. one can be intelligent in perceiving emotions which are inherently irrational.

    Quite honestly, I do not know how to define intelligence. There are "intelligent" people with very little imagination and there are "unintelligent" people with lots of imagination. I don't think that one is necessary for the other.

    What is more useful to alleviate suffering? That's another good question. Humans tend to believe that intelligence helps them survive. Is that so? Why then some plants live thousands of years? Why then some species survived almost unchanged for millions of years? It is known that many plants have almost twice as many genes as humans. This seems to make them more "evolved" than humans. Plants also respond to external conditions in a great variety of ways to aleviate their condition. I've seen discussions and research of "plant intelligence". I believe, we either need to redefine (or, rather, define) "intelligence" or agree that it is neither necessary for survival nor is the best way to survive.
  • Dec 9 2013: Gord:

    Your definition of intelligence- "intelligence references knowledge and rearranges it into new configurations based on existing data and processes." Describes the functioning of even the most rudimentary computer.

    I think that Intelligence and imagination are both attempts to define the workings of the mind.
    Intelligence is the mind focused on a task.
    Imagination is the mind unleashed.
    If we focus imagination on a task does it become intelligence?
    If intelligence is allowed to roam does it become imagination?

    If the mind were a horse then Intelligence is when the horse is harnessed and doing work while Imagination is when the horse is running free across the open prairie.
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    Dec 9 2013: One needs the other to be realized, I think. Virtually nothing exists without a connection to something else.
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    Dec 9 2013: I agree with Einstein's statement that imagination is more important than knowledge. The former is dynamic and the later is static. Without imagination knowledge would be marginalized; even with knowledge, we would not be nearly as effective at solving problems without the use of imagination.

    Intelligence would be next to useless without imagination to take it and transform it into something good. As Pabitra said, imagination is the fuel that turns intelligence into something useful.
  • Dec 8 2013: To me, intelligence is the main 'materia' that resides in each and every brain, and which is made of many and different skills which institute the bricks of that wall that forms your mind, while imagination is the way that intelligence may develop itself thanks to the creativity that the right-brain allows, and this particular predisposition, I would say, would be a sort of mortar that consent the wall not only to be established but to become a proper building; so intelligence is likely to be all those technical calculations and analitic formulas to form the main base of a project (Theory) and imagination is thinking outside the box (Art). They are an oxymoron in which they are the opposite, and yet have to coexist in the same sentence.
    (I apologise for every grammatical mistake that I might have done)
  • Dec 8 2013: Well said....but as i see it intelligence is noting without imagine a better feature and try to make those dreams as vivid as you can then you interpret it to smaller accomplish-able parts and that is the intelligence part but if you dont have the initial phase that is the imagination there is no point......."fallow your dreams for they some ho know what you truly want"
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    Dec 8 2013: I personally see inteligence as the hability to solve new problems, and measured by the speed and ease with which the problem is solved. On the other hand, imagination, for me, is the hability to conceive and formulate ideas out of non related facts. In other words: the hability to bring together facts with no apparent relation, that once merge constitute an coherent idea or an uncommon solution to a common problem.

    This way, intelligence uses imagination as an engine to the solving of problems, and as higher our imagination, higher should appear our intelligence.

    As for the role of intelligence and imagination in the alleviating of human condition it is, as far as I see it, of paramount importance. Only through the innovation, for which imagination and intelligence is neccesary, we will able to solve the impending problems of our times.
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    Dec 7 2013: "What's the difference between intelligence and imagination?" Imagination is the higher level / quality of intelligence.
    "Which is more useful in alleviating the human condition?" Both and neither.

    They are both capabilities ruled by kindness. Both intelligence and imagination are tools for alleviating human suffering (improving the human condition) when kindness is present. In absence of kindness, neither improve the human experience. So if we are not kind, it doesn't matter how much intelligence or imagination we have. History is filled with examples.

    Thanks for a brilliant question.
    • Dec 9 2013: Aap sahi keh rahin hain. Aap ka weechar kaabil-e-tarif hai aur sarv sreshth hai.
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        Dec 9 2013: I appreciate the wisdom you contributed. Please translate your beautiful words into English to extend your kindness to the hearts of those who may not know your language ( including myself). Thank you my dear global friend.
        • Dec 10 2013: Thanks for the appreciation. Here bellow is the translation :

          Aap=You ; Sahi=right ; Keh=say ; rahin=ing ; hain=are

          You are saying right.

          Aap Ka=Your ; weechar=Thought/Idea ; Kaabil-e-tarif=Praiseworthy ; aur=and ; sarv sreshth=best of all ; hai=is.

          Your thought is praiseworthy and best of all.
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        Dec 10 2013: Thank you so much. I appreciate that you spelled out everything in English so we can learn the pronunciation of words, as well as their meaning, both of which we couldn't otherwise even read in their native alphabet. Thank you. Please also tell me the name of the language.
        • Dec 11 2013: It is the Hindi Language , the National Language of India.
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        Dec 11 2013: Those alphabets are some of my favorites. Thank you for helping me learn.
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        Dec 12 2013: Before signing off here, I wanted to let you know that I find your statement absolutely brilliant!!

        "Please don't waste your valuable time in knowing me. Instead use your energy and time in knowing yourself and make this world a better place to live." (Santokh Saggu)

        Thank you.
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    Dec 7 2013: But, is it possible to be intelligent without having imagination?
  • Dec 6 2013: What's the difference between blue and colors?
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    Dec 6 2013: You seem to assume that intelligence is inherently logical. I know that's not what you're question focuses on, but it's something that is worthy of reconsideration.

    Part of the difficulty is that imagination and intelligence are such fluid concepts. Ok there is to a certain extent a standard for intelligence if we think in terms of IQ, but this is a flawed definition that doesn't capture all aspects of intelligence. Imagination takes many forms. Theory of mind - which I would argue is a form of imagination - is fundamental to effective human interaction, but I would distinguish between this and the ability to conceptualise what later becomes a work of art, or a new recipe, or an innovative piece of technology. And then there is imaginative play which is increasingly recognised as fundamental to cognitive development, to the extent that recent advice is to delay formal education to give young children more time to engage in this creative learning process.

    I'm not comfortable with the idea of of imagination as a subset of intelligence or that one may be more important than the other. I think they're two distinct but inter-dependent aspects of cognitive functioning that are equally essential to our capacity to engage with the world successfully.
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    Dec 6 2013: Did you cut the quote short for some reason, because Einstein captured it perfectly according to me.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." - Albert Einstein
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      Gord G

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      Dec 6 2013: Yes, Einstein eloquently stated the difference between imagination and knowledge. I'm asking what's the difference between imagination and intelligence. I think it's clear that imagination, knowledge and intelligence are interdependent... but which do you think is more important?
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        Dec 6 2013: Oh my, apparently I'm a sloppy reader.

        I can't give you an answer to that question, let me instead answer with a question.
        Which do you think is most important, your brain, your heart or your lungs?
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          Gord G

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          Dec 6 2013: My brain.

          The other two organs have artificial equivalents.
        • Dec 6 2013: At the moment, probably the brain, but so what? The brain is the organ of both intelligence and imagination, and all other mentation, perception, interpretation, cogitation, agitation for that matter.

          However, that my be a mere technical issue, if it is true that identity actually is not tied to specific cells or organs.
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        Dec 6 2013: I slightly expected you to say that...

        Whether it's your biological heart or artificial heart doesn't matter, you still need one, without it you would not function.
        The same goes for imagination, knowledge and intelligence and we can create all of them artificially (to a degree).
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          Gord G

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          Dec 6 2013: Jimmy you didn't ask which one I could live without. You asked which one was more important.

          But I think we're drifting away from my original question. Like Einstein's statement, it's a question of importance and differences. Though I feel the real purpose of his statement and my question is to inspire thought regarding the relationship.

          [But I'll let you have the last word. Thanks for commenting. Enjoy the day.]
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        Dec 6 2013: If you can't live without one of them then all are equally important, lose one and you lose all.

        No need for me to have the last word, I know that I've said that before and after just felt a desperate need to comment...

        When people do the definition thing here on TED I usually just post links to Wikipedia.


        Now, some people are not satisfied with Wiki since it's somehow considered cheap, and if they complain I usually post links to or the likes...

        Did my links give you a clear view of the differences between the words?

        And yes, it's a good thought experiment, one I've had many times before on TED, but I'm sure it made some people think of things they haven't before.
  • Dec 6 2013: Do not assume knowledge with intelligence. They are different, intelligence may use knowledge as a basis for decisions but may also realize what is not known and base the decision on assumptions based on imagination.
  • Dec 6 2013: I believe imagination is humans ability to create new concepts, and intelligence is humans ability to make concepts into real human benefits.
    Imagination comes about by our ability to connect two seemingly unrelated ideas to create another new idea.

    Simply put as an example: 2 + 2 is a concept (or idea). And 4 is the intelligent answer. Another example: Flying to the moon is a concept. Getting to and standing on the moon is done with intelligence.
    I think the two has a symbiotic relationship.
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    Dec 5 2013: I wouldn't choose one over the other. I've heard intelligence defined as "adaptative plasticity towards change". I agree. But, how could someone adapt/change, without the wisdom to recognize a "problem" or the imagination required to try something new? I think they are but two sides of the same coin, not to be judged/analyzed individually, much less preferring or selecting one over the other, because they feed on each other. The more imaginative you are, the more intelligent you get, and the more intelligent you get the more imagination you use....
  • Dec 5 2013: Imagination initiates debate. Debates should be guided by intelligence. Unfortunately they are not. Essentially debates of this nature and in fact most are guided by emotion.
  • Dec 4 2013: I think that both imagination and intelligence are learned from our experiences and perspectives. They are both shaped from our internal and external stimuli, nature vs. nurture experiences, and how we respond to those factors.

    I think they can be independent of each other (i.e. someone has high intelligence but low imagination), however, I believe that when they compliment each other (i.e. someone has high intelligence with high imagination) they become a new single, self sufficient entity.

    The only immediate difference that I see between the two concepts is the cognitive content they are associated with. Intelligence traditionally seems to be associated with logical concepts, where as imagination seems to be associated with abstract concepts. However, it seems it may be possible that both intelligence and imagination come from the same main "hub" if you will.

    The more I think about it the more I believe that intelligence and imagination are a part of a larger entity and that the real difference to be had is the amount of exposure a person has to certain ways of thought. The amount of logical thinkers and ideas a person has been exposed to versus the abstract and illogical ideas they have been exposed to. The one you feed is the one that wins.

    Awesome question here Gord G., I can always appreciate a truly thought provoking question. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
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      Gord G

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      Dec 6 2013: I'm really interested in what everyone else has to say. The multitude of perspectives on TED never cease to surprise and inspire. :-)
  • Dec 4 2013: Einstein was right . Imagination is more important that knowledge. A person intelligently uses his knowledge to transform imagination into tangible and visible reality and sometime intangible and invisible reality.

    I know one artist he is good at drawing and painting , he can even draw your portrait or anything you ask him. One day I asked him can you come up with an exception cartoon character.

    He surrendered and said , Brother , that thing I can't do, this you have to do for me or you show me an existing cartoon.
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      Gord G

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      Dec 4 2013: Interesting analogy Santokh.

      I work in the creative industries, so I'm familiar with shifting from the application of skills and knowledge (rendering existing environments) to imagining images that not only incorporate unique form but also convey intangibles such as psychological states and emotion to support a fictional narrative. The former doesn't ensure the ability to perform the latter (I believe it also draws the line between craft and art).

      It seems to me intelligence references knowledge and rearranges it into new configurations based on existing data and processes. So in the case of your analogy...your friend can apply academic drawing skills to preexisting form, where as original work requires the ability to imagine possibilities beyond the existing paradigm.

      Intelligence can manipulate knowledge to bring new ideas into existence, but is that imagination? For example, if we only used intelligence in prehistoric times, would we have invented the wheel or would we simply have invented a better leg?

      Can imagination be taught? It's often relegated to the murky world of the intuitive mind, which is then dismissed as a "gift" or "natural aptitude". Or is imagination an expression of metacognition? Can intelligence hamper imagination?

      (or to take a trip down the rabbit hole... is everything imagined and we intelligently choose our reality?)
      • Dec 5 2013: Gord ,

        If every human being can dream then he has the imagination power too.It is the Imagination Block,just like budding writers have writers block.Same is the case with most people. And this is due to the conditioning of their surrounding environment and society.

        Take for example of Edison, He invented bulb after 10,000 experiments . But, people only consider the final bulb which he invented and gave it to the world.

        Another example , In your childhood you may have bought a beautiful toy , and when you have seen the toy then you may have praised it how beautiful the toy is.

        But, at that time you were not aware of that from how many designs the design of that toy may have been selected.And also how many prototypes of the toy may have been designed and how many refinements have been done before final roll out of the from the factory.

        People do have the imagination but they think that the exceptional design will come at once with a lighting flash of images, and this is where the imagination block is created.

        People with imagination block don't acknowledge and accept that to come up with a final imagination they have to start some where. May be the first imagination be not so perfect, but if they start even if it is weird imagination.
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          Gord G

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          Dec 6 2013: I agree Santokh. Inventors build on other's work, and their inventions rarely emerge fully realized.