Is imagination more important than knowledge?

purplepeace59 08/13/2017. 26 answers
Arts & Humanities Philosophy

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

26 Answers

7Flightsup 08/06/2017.

Of all the people to make that statement when he should know that there is no end to what science discovers. Knowledge is infinite and so is imagination, but imagination isn't real and knowledge is.

Art 08/06/2017.

If you can't imagine nothing will change. Knowledge is just the stuff on which to base imagination. I am with Einstein on this one.

josh 08/06/2017.

Both are equally important

Leda 08/06/2017.

Many people would find it hard to prioritize imagination over knowledge, or vice-versa. The ideal is a combination of the two. Most likely we would never have heard of Einstein or Nietzsche, for example, if they had had little knowledge or none at all. If we extend this to countries or entire communities which never had the benefit of education because of poverty and/or geographical isolation, we would see that creativity or achievements will rarely emerge. Not because their minds lack the power of imagination or the power to achieve, but because the conditions for those to emerge are not there.

? 08/06/2017.

I would say imagination trumps knowledge, but the two are inseparable. Knowledge deals with what's known. Imagination is what makes the unknown known.

Without the initial spark of imagination, knowledge cannot exist. Without forming an initial basis of knowledge, imagination is groundless.

Imagination is the active or "living" aspect of the mind. The fire and wind. Knowledge is the passive or inert aspect of the mind. The earth and water. Earth and water are illuminated by fire and wind.

Without the active elements, the passive elements are unable to progress. Without the passive elements, the active elements have no basis in reality.

The Mind builds Reality much like a creator, sculptor or craftsmen fashioning Knowledge in the constructive fire of Imagination.

Raja 08/06/2017.

Of course imagination is more important but not than knowledge. Without knowledge you cannot imagine. You need fundamental knowledge to improve your thoughts and develop your power of imagination. This power of imagination helps you to discover new things and later this becomes a knowledge to others.

LexisA 08/06/2017.

Yes, Imagination allows you to think outside the box.

runningman022003 07/30/2017.

Imagination is more important than knowledge...but imagination+intelligence is the real key.

All hat 07/30/2017.

I personally don't like "choosing a winner" between two things like that - you immediately realize that both are important, how could you pick one and by implication abandon the other?

Raver Raver Raver 07/30/2017.

Imagination is necessary to make progress in science and thereby gain new knowledge. Nature doesn't tell us answers. We have to think them up ourselves, and test them by experiment. We can't find an answer if we can't imagine it, and we can't question what we think we know if we can't imagine alternatives.

That being said, if you don't have the knowledge, then imagination won't do you much good. It's easy for Einstein to say that his imagination helped him make discoveries which did not occur to other physicists at the time, but Einstein was not ignorant of the physics. He was extremely well educated, and already possessed the highest level of knowledge of physics at the time.

The knowledge has to precede the imagination. Science has to precede philosophy. Otherwise you will be unaware of what we already know to be true, and you will waste time imagining what we already know to be false.

I've spent a lot of time around people in the psychedelic community. They have the wildest imaginations of all. There is no belief so insane that they would not seriously consider it. But as the stereotype goes, they are often poorly educated in science, which means their imagination leads them into delusions. You just need to listen to Terence McKenna to know what I'm talking about. Or a conspiracy theorist such as Alex Jones.

I'll just provide the context for that Einstein quote. Here's an interview in 1929:

Einstein: “I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am. When two expeditions of scientists, financed by the Royal Academy, went forth to test my theory of relativity, I was convinced that their conclusions would tally with my hypothesis. I was not surprised when the eclipse of May 29, 1919, confirmed my intuitions. I would have been surprised if I had been wrong.”

Interviewer: “Then you trust more to your imagination than to your knowledge?”

Einstein: “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

And in his book published in 1931:

"At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact, I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research."

JORGE N 08/06/2017.

Considering the fact that I have little if any knowledge, I can only imagine what it is like to have more knowledge. I would say imagination is important but knowledge is far more important. From a knowledge base, one can imagine many things.

Jackboot 08/06/2017.

Imagining I could fly off the roof of a high rise might be fatal if I don't ALSO know I need the assistance of aerodynamics.

So, I dunno!

Like us the brain more important than the heart? I dunno!

Maximus Williamitis 08/06/2017.

All the knowledge in the Universe is useless without the imagination to use/apply it.

y 08/06/2017.

knowledge will buy you dinner while imagination will land you sleeping on the park bench. One needs both, one to see further then knowledge in the attempt to push the boundaries of knowledge, the other to pay the damn rent.

Mitchellly 08/06/2017.

I believe so. For some people, imagination is all they have.

Solar Wind 08/06/2017.

One of the effects of imagination is gained knowledge. Feynman was of the opinion science could not move forward without imagination.

Plogsties 07/30/2017.

Yes, I believe it is. Without imagination research would lead nowhere and we humans would be little more than robots. Yes, hard work alone occasionally yields fruit (Kepler) but this is VERY rare.

Mircea The Young 07/30/2017.

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." Why? Because the old generation relies on knowledge, whereas the new generation on imagination. That is where new truths come from.

Knowledge tells you what lies behind doors. Imagination opens new ones.

elj2017c 07/30/2017.

Essentially, knowledge means familiarity with facts acquired by personal experience, observation, or study. Jehovah is actually the basic Source of knowledge. Life, of course, is from him and life is essential for one’s having any knowledge.

Imagination is the ability that you have to form pictures or ideas in your mind of things that are new and exciting, or things that you have not experienced.


(1) Daydreaming at the wrong time or about the wrong things.

(2) Assuming that material riches can provide lasting security.

(3) Worrying unnecessarily about things that may never happen


(1) Foreseeing dangerous situations and avoiding them.

(2) Rehearsing mentally how to handle difficult problems

(3) Enriching your personal Bible reading and study.

Decide for yourself.

Eye Am Eternal 08/07/2017.

Both go hand in hand. the basis of knowledge stems from imagination in some cases Some imaginations comes into being through knowledge of the process of making it a tangible thing. Like this computer I'm on. Your house was an imagination first before being what it is today. Knowledge paves the way for imagination to exist.

When it comes to imaginations, I also look at dreamers and visionaries. Dreamers always dream and visionaries bring the dream to life. I think the seat to both is imagination. It has it's own laws

mary 08/06/2017.

Yes because without imagination you wouldn't be able to think of or invent new things.

say 08/06/2017.

actually , yes

Mr. Interesting 08/06/2017.

I suppose so as I would defer to Albert Einstein.

He certainly had more of both than I ever will.

Gerald 08/06/2017.

not if you have a gun then neither matters and that is the path we are on its called insanity I think

Nick 07/30/2017.

Yes, it's the catalyst of the extraordinary. People that emphasize knowledge, often fail to apply it.

Lapiz Dominoes 07/30/2017.

Imagination helps organise the knowledge you have to leap beyond it, toward discovery.

Ergo, both are important as our discoveries further the human race.