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Wong, Julia Mogridge IB TOK 1

December 3, 2012 Mr. Alvin Tan

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. (Albert Einstein)

I. Introduction Berlin, 1929. The poet and journalist George Sylvester Viereck has charmed an interview out of an initially reluctant superstar physicist. He asks: How do you account for your discoveries? Through intuition or inspiration? Albert Einstein replies: Both. I sometimes feel I am right, but do not know it. When two expeditions of scientists went to test my theory, I was convinced they would confirm my theory. I wasnt surprised when the results confirmed my intuition, but I would have been more surprised had I been wrong. Im enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination, which I think is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. (George Viereck, 1929)

Whatever a person can imagine, he can achieve if, and only if, the image lies within his human limits. Imagination and knowledge being two entirely different aspects are confluent and equally important to mankind.

More said, imagination is referred to as a person's creativity and ability to think and dream over the norms. It exhilarates either the development of a new concept, or the improvement of a pre-existing concept by the virtue of thought process. Imagination may have

no limits, which may be ascribed to the fact that a person's wants and needs are endless, and also the demands for improvement of a concept have no ambits. For instance, Albert Einstein was able to visualize his own universe (which according to him is inflatable). He visualized the difference between subatomic particles and other objects, and challenged Newtonian mechanics which, according to him, were not valid everywhere. As a result, he was able to beget a hypothesis.

On the other hand, knowledge may be defined as a person's awareness of the facts, and his ability to develop the concepts and improve them through calculations and manipulations. Knowledge equips a person to judge between right and wrong, and differentiate between an axiom and a fancy. Also, it checks the validity of a hypothesis or an idea. Citing the above stated example, Albert Einstein would have failed to prove what he believed if his hypothesis was just a thought, and all of his imagination would have gone in vain if he did not augment his hypothesis with adequate mathematical proofs. Thus, with the help of knowledge he was finally able to turn his hypothesis into a theory.

Hence, one can easily see that knowledge checks the validity of imagination, whereas imagination checks the boundaries of knowledge.

I would like to out a question here: Without information, can you utilize the ability to form images and ideas in the mind? Is knowledge more significant than the creativity of our minds? Or does imagination claim victor when it comes to value to mankind as Einstein proclaims?

II. Presentation A. Thesis Statement Personally, I believe that a good combination of the two is important. Everyone can imagine, but not everyone is highly intelligent. Some intelligent people arent as blessed with creativity or a broad imagination. When you find a person who is both intelligent and imaginative, then that is very special. However, if I were to agree or disagree with Einsteins view on imagination and knowledge, I would thoroughly agree.

Without imagination, our world wouldnt be the world it is today. Our world would still be like the prehistoric times when people wore fresh animal skin and manually built fires. Basically, nothing great would have been achieved, and our world would still be in that resting state waiting to reach its potential to prosper.

This powerful gift of imagination is what differentiates us humans from other living beings. It is a tool that leads to abstract thought. In an attempt to prove or disprove abstract thought, knowledge is gained. An intelligent imagination leads to knowledge. Therefore, imagination is the mother of all inventions and knowledge.

For instance, inventors like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison as well as influential leaders such as Buddha and Winston Churchill imagined the impossible and gave humanity the values, which are still universally relevant. Their message reinforced by their power of imagination helps us constantly to re-programme our lives.

Imagination is the only thing necessary to make things work. It was imagination that brought mankind out of the dark ages to the civilized world. Everythin g that is around us, like an iPhone created by man perhaps, was once imagination. Because Steve Jobs imagined it, it became real. Science fiction writers imagined a ray gun, which became a laser in real life. The laser is used for medical operations and has yet to become an effective weapon in its self all though it is used in ordinance guidance systems. People like Ford and the Wright brothers imagined a horseless carriage, electronic communications, flying, going to the moon, and space travel long before they had the capability to develop these things. As a result the first car, the Internet, airplanes, spacecraft, electricity, and even the discovery of America, was all the result of imagination.

However, because imagination is powerful, it is also dangerous. It is like a fire. If the fire is uncontrolled it burns and destroys. But if the same fire is controlled, it warms, it cooks, it lights and it also protects. The power of imagination should orient towards positive and not negative imagination. While positive imagination helps change lives for the better, negative imagination only results in false fears, prejudices, anxieties and fans mass hysteria forcing all of us to lose touch with reality.

B. Anti-thesis Statement

On the contrary, some people argue that without knowledge, imagination may not be developed. Some may say that first comes the knowledge, then the imagination. This is because the foundation of our capacity to imagine is built on personal experiences. When you lack experience, the mind imagines the missing components. It follows that, knowledge cannot exist

without information, and information cannot exist without data you learn from experience. Without prior knowledge, imagination loses its focus and is not always fruitful.

Even in the past, discoveries in sciences were not made without prior knowledge. Newton, Einstein, and Galileo were all capable and learned people. Einsteins greatest discovery of special relativity or energy was not merely a piece of wandering imagination. In fact, such an intricate mechanism cannot be developed without prior knowledge and observations on quantum physics. Hence, we can say that imagination is great instrument for coming up with ideas, but knowledge is necessary in acting on the ideas and putting them into action.

If we look at the example of The Revolutionary War, the British redcoats by far outnumbered the American revolutionary soldiers. Though the generals of the British army knew the number of troops the Americans had, they did not know the conditions of America. The British were not aware of the abundant woodland in America, which gave the Americans a huge advantage over them because they used the woodland as refuge and ended up winning the battle. If the British had known about the abundant woodland and had gotten used to it, the might have won the battle.

The example cited above is a clear demonstration of the importance of knowledge versus imagination. In reality, possessing knowledge, despite the fact that it is limited, can be vital in the success or downfall of something.

III. Conclusion At this point, we can see that imagination and knowledge appear to go hand in glove with each other and both of them are interdependent. Thus, one can easily infer that when imagination tends to go over the limit, then knowledge pulls it back, but when imagination ceases, then knowledge comes to a deadlock, or an abrupt stop.

Imagination and knowledge as stated above are therefore confluent, as on the one hand, imagination shows a red alert to knowledge and prompts it to grow. On the other hand knowledge gives a green signal to imagination and validates it with proofs.

We can conclude that knowledge is a prerequisite of imagination, however imagination is a catalyst for greater knowledge. From imagination, you can think outside the box, which makes it possible for innovation. Knowledge is something that you learn from an established source, and is already in existence, whereas, imagination allows you to break the barriers of common knowledge and think 'outside the box' thereby discovering new avenues and new types of knowledge. Then, progress is made.

Our world is full of imagination. It is our ability to imagine that enables us to give birth to our dreams. But for us to be able to achieve our dream, we will still need the knowledge to make it a reality.

Sometimes you do not need eyes to see the world or cues to get ahead. Your imagination can help make the invisible visible.

IV. Bibliography 1. Egan, Kieran. (1992). Imagination in Teaching and Learning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2. Lagemaat, Richard Van De. (2005). Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge University Press p. 48 3. Horowitz, Tamara; Camp, Joseph. (2005). The Epistemology of Prior Knowledge. UK. Oxford University Press. 4.Taylor, Kathleen. (2002). Is Imagination more Important than Knowledge? Einstein. The Times Higher Education. 5. Viereck, George. (1929). Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post Word count: 1,574