What's more important - imagination or knowledge?
This is the question posed by our Essay Rock Star student, Kayla F., in her persuasive essay shared below. Kayla is a homeschooled high schooler. We feel she presented powerful arguments in favor of imagination. Read her essay below and tell us what you think!
Kayla is currently taking our full semester Essay Rock Star online course.
by Kayla F.
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge,” Albert Einstein, the great genius, once said. In this quote, he brings up an interesting question. What is more important: imagination or knowledge? I think that Einstein is right. He knew that while knowledge is important. It wasn’t memorized facts and equations that helped him uncover the theories that changed the scientific community. It’s imagination and creativity that writes amazing stories, discovers scientific concepts, and invents technology we use today.
“There were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.” These words are the famous first lines to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Now that the classic tales have been adapted into three hit movies, most everyone knows about Mr. Tumnus, the lamppost, and of course, Aslan. However, when C.S. Lewis started writing this book, he only had a picture of “a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.” He didn’t have any knowledge of what this Faun’s name was or why he was carrying an umbrella or a package. However, he didn’t need knowledge to finish the story of the Faun. Lewis used his imagination to finish off the story and create the wonderful tales that we still enjoy to this day. With just knowledge, the wonderful and fantastical lands we enjoy reading about, like Narnia, would have never come into existence. To create fantasy, you can’t rely on knowledge. The creatures and people that live in those worlds can’t be studied or discovered, they can only be created by daydreams and imagination. Without imagination, we’d be living in a world of books filled with facts and dates instead of characters and fantastical lands.
Albert Einstein might be one of the most brilliant men to ever have lived. Almost anyone who has studied science has heard of his theories and ideas. Everyone knows the formula E=mc2, but when Einstein first published his special theory of relativity, it rocked the physics community with the idea that time is not constant. Einstein arrived at this theory and others in an unconventional manner. His theories couldn’t be tested in the bounds of the physical universe or the knowledge science currently had. Einstein used his mind and his imagination for his famous “thought experiments.” To see if his theories were valid, he would test them out in his imagination. His most famous thought experiment was one he created when he was just 16. Imagining himself chasing after a light wave, Einstein used this to lay the basis of what would become his special theory of relativity. It wasn’t Einstein’s impressive knowledge that developed these incredible theories. It was his imagination. Imagination allowed him to go far beyond the physical world, far beyond the realm of knowledge. Simply having knowledge wouldn’t have been enough. He needed to go beyond the realm of knowledge and into a world where anything can happen and be created. It’s this type of environment that allows us to create things that knowledge alone couldn’t have created.
“To boldly go where no man has gone before” were the words that started every episode of the classic TV show, Star Trek. Over the years, there have been countless episodes and movies of the franchise, and now it’s an integral part of American culture. One of the most recognizable parts of Star Trek is the technology. From holodecks to transporters, the technology of Star Trek is fantasy that is quickly becoming reality. In Star Trek, telepresence was used in a number of episodes. It’s when a holographic representation of a person is projected somewhere. Today, telepresence is being developed, and while it’s not exactly the same, Skype is a similar technology that is already part of our daily lives that was inconceivable in 1966, when Star Trek was first created. Another Star Trek inspired technology is the cell phone. In Captain Kirk’s days aboard the original starship Enterprise, the crew talked to each other using communicators which looked like a thicker version of a flip phone. It was these “flip phone” communicators that inspired Motorola, the maker of the first cell phone, to create the classic flip phone. Another Star Trek technology is the replicator. Food, clothes, and tools would materialize through a machine at just the touch of a button. Although we still have a while until we have a full-fledged replicator, the 3D printer is close. This printer uses plastic powder and “prints” out whatever you tell it to print. Tools, jewelry, and statues have all been printed using this primitive replicator. People have begun to experiment with printing using chocolate and cheese. Back when the idea for replicators was first dreamed up, no one had any knowledge of this technology or how it would work, but yet they dreamed up an idea and created a far better version than what knowledge has invented so far. Without the imagination of people like these, we wouldn’t have made the technological advances that we have with just knowledge.
Knowledge is something that we need. Without knowledge, we couldn’t write or test theories or invent technologies. However, there is something even more important than knowledge and that is imagination. Imagination is what allows us to make otherwise impossible scientific discoveries, create worlds that only exist on paper, and inspire new technology that makes our lives better. Albert Einstein was right when he said that imagination is more important than knowledge. After all, who better to know than the man who relied on his imagination to make the discoveries that he did?
http://www.destination-innovation.com/articles/how-startrek-inspired-an-innovation-your-cell-phone/ --- How Star Trek inspired the cell phone article