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Is imagination better than knowledge?

As many famous people have said, like Albert Einstein or Walt Disney, imagination gives you inspiration, possibilities and creativity. I’m not against that, but I think it couldn’t work without knowledge. If you were very creative but didn’t know how to write or speak, you would never be able to tell a beautiful story. If you were innovative but had no knowledge, your ideas would never be able to be put into work.
Knowledge can be seen as a stepping stone for a person to reach their creativity. Creativity is the product of imagination. So, both of them need knowledge to work and grow up together. Knowledge is static and creativity is changing, change is needed for new things to happen but to have change there must first be something to change; knowledge.
Imagination can be used but not without knowledge. A good example is to think about a caveman with a mobile phone, he wouldn’t know how to use it, no matter how much imagination he has. It takes knowledge to get imagination work. With enough knowledge I could build a house like my neighbor's house. With enough imagination I can imagine a house where you walk on the ceiling, but without enough knowledge you would never be able to make it so.
There's a reason people go to school for art. They have to acquire the skills to make their work better. Before you create a picture in your head, there must be a certain amount of knowledge about what you wish to create. Imagination takes you in circles, people sit on their couch all the time dreaming about having a pool in their backyard. To get that pool you must have a pretty steep income. Getting that income means using your brain to achieve that dream. Imagination means nothing without the means to put it into action.

  • May 3 2014: Confucius said : "Study without thought is vain: thought without study is dangerous."
    I think Imagination makes people more like mankind, knowledge helps people realize what they thought. So, two words seem to correlate.
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    Apr 26 2014: I think imagination DRIVES knowledge acquisition. If you are really passionate about a possibility you imagine (whether it's a better education system or a revolutionary scientific theory), you will seek out the knowledge needed to test it or to turn your vision to reality. Speaking of Einstein, did you know he initially didn't like Maths but he pursued it in order to prove the theories of physics he was passionate about?

    I think we underestimate our ability to be self-directed in acquiring knowledge. Today, we have an endless amount of knowledge accessibility with all the Youtube tutorials, wikihows and free online courses. We can choose what to learn, and rather than standardising knowledge distribution, that choice (of what to learn) can be driven by our imagination and what it leads us to be passionate about.

    I'd say it's not a case of imagination OR knowledge, but rather imagination driving knowledge acquisition.
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    Apr 21 2014: Both are necessary. Imagination drives inquiry and inquiry eventually leads to knowledge.
    With additional knowledge new levels of imagination become possible.
    Taking your caveman example:
    A caveman wouldn't be able to imagine a cell phone in the first place, therefore he could never make it to the next level of imagination, such as imagining novel features for the phone.
    Only after the knowledge about the cell phone was obtained, further imagination became possible.
    • May 8 2014: Yes, but knowledge of the cell phone could only be obtained through imagination. Hence, they are both by-products of each other.
  • May 8 2014: For a class final project, my peer and I were asked to pose a question or thought and reach out to as many people as possible. TED talks was the best way we thought we could do it! However, we have been waiting a few days and they have not approved our debate. I am asking anyone who reads this to please go to our Reddit page, read our post, and share their thoughts.

    Here is the link:

    The topic of this debate is: Do the Common Core Standards stifle creativity in the classroom?

    Your help is MUCH appreciated! Thank you!
  • May 8 2014: . There are some cases where knowledge underwent the process of becoming ' known '. In which case it would have to have been 'imagined' before it became knowledge. Therefore, imagination and knowledge are by-products of each other. So even when speaking of a 'straightforward' type of case so to speak, imagination would have to be more important than knowledge because its work has more use and meaning.
  • May 6 2014: ...imagination of one is the knowledge for many; and knowledge of many help one to reach one's imagination...they are inter-connected not alternate of one one level of time one must see the things without comparison and complimentary to each helps to develop a 360degree understanding...

  • Apr 27 2014: What you define as "imagination" it is known as "creative thinking", in a very simple way, is anything that your "mind" produces, be it real or fiction. The only way that your "mind" can "produce" something, is if it KNOWS about it. This has been researched a lot on dreaming, altered states by using hallucinogens, and directly electrically stimulating certain parts of the CNS (Central Nervous System). The creative part resides on ways of rearranging the way the world has been modeled for you by experience (cognition).

    "Imagine" you have been teached a particular way to set up Lego pieces, with a given set of rules for the pieces. Then you start to rearrange this rules and you end up with a whole different result.

    So answering your question, you can not have creative thinking without knowledge to base it upon. And the uses that you can find to anything is creative thinking, or do you think that the wheel was "invented" by thinking about it from no previous knowledge? like being able to move a "rounder" rock across the ground with less effort.

    One cannot work without the other...
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    Apr 26 2014: The thread of human civilization is made up of three strands: imagination, knowledge, and action. While Einstein considers imagination more important that knowledge, I believe without knowledge and action, imagination is of little value.
  • Apr 23 2014: i think that both are vital to be successful in life. you need an imagination to create original ideas, and the knowledge to make them come to life. neither is better than the other. it's like asking which is better; water or air? both are crucial and you can't just pick one.
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    Apr 21 2014: There is absolutely no knowledge without imagination.

    Knowledge is only a part of our Imagination and it is somehow supported by personal or collectively shared experience. Please do not confuse Fantasizing with Imagination. Imagination is a main driver in any types of thinking, and without it no thought/knowledge is possible.

    Moreover, our knowledge of all sorts is based on our Individual imagination, because when we think we create scenarious and images of the certain experience/knowledge in our own minds. If we cannot imagine we cannot memorize or know anything at all.

    p.s. Albert Einstein had his own tremedous imagination for building a foundation for his knowledge, but was not a good philosopher or psychologist to rely on his ideas on mind.
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    Apr 20 2014: I believe all of us have imagination, perhaps in varying degrees. What separates the best from the rest is what the best do with theirs.
  • Apr 14 2014: I think that you make a good point. Knowledge is important. But I would also like to add that the use of knowledge is more important. What good is it to know facts if we do not make use of them?
    I think that is part of what people mean when they talk about creativity. It does, in fact take the use of imagination to take the information that you are given and benefit sociaty with it. If we simply cram as many facts as we can into heads without teaching individuals to think for themselves, we create a sociaty of people who think themselves very clever, but who don't know what to do with themselves.