Einstein said; “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” He then added; “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
The common use of the term is in the process of forming new images in the mind that have not been previously experienced with the help of what has been seen, heard, or felt before, or at least only partially.
Carl Sagan wrote; ” “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”
Without the ability to imagine, I believe there would be very little progress made. It is my belief that having a good imagination starts with being an inquisitive individual. An inquisitive individual is a person that is interested in many things and is motivated to ask and know the whys and the hows. A characteristic that Einstein, appeared to have was that he was very childlike.
A child will constantly after an explanation given by an adult will say why. As the adult again tries to explain to the child what he thought the child was asking about the child again will say why. The child comes into the world not knowing that things cannot happen. He/she believes there is a magic dragon by the name of Puff and that there is an Easter Bunny. It is my belief that it is necessary for others to allow the child to imagine and build on this capability. One way of doing this is to spend much time with the child storytelling.
Too often what is done during the formative years is to teach the very young, open minded child that only certain things are possible. The result of this is the child will cut back on his/her abilities to imagine.
Many years ago I read a book entitled “The Crack in the Cosmic Egg.” As I recall the reading of this book there were many things within its pages that I did not agree with however a point made in it is still with me. What was written was that one must prepare oneself to recognize an inspiring thought that might appear. This is done by training oneself in the abilities that are fact-based. Certainly Einstein did this through his studies in mathematics and physics. When the inspiring imaginary idea appeared to him, he was able to understand the importance of it and build on it. His imagination took over his thought processes and what seemed impossible led to many new revolutionary concepts. Einstein was a good mathematician, not a great one history tells us. What he was able to do was to solve many problems with the use of visualization. As the story goes, he was able to understand time and speed by imagining himself running next to a vehicle moving at the speed of light which is 186,000 mi. /s. This led to him improving on Isaac Newton’s concepts. This led to his papers on Special and General Relativity.
This type of thinking was not new. Plato explored the nature of morality by asking how you would behave if you possessed the ring of Gyges, which makes the wearer invisible. Unimaginative scientists don’t produce radically new ideas. Visualization is not the only way to harness the power of imagination. Imagination is not limited only to seeing pictures in the mind. It includes all the five senses and the feelings. One can imagine a sound, taste, smell, a physical sensation or a feeling or emotion. For some people it is easier to see mental pictures, others find it easier to imagine a feeling, and some are more comfortable imagining the sensation of one of the five senses.
Our imagination and thoughts create our future. It stimulates creativity and innovation. It is my belief that in the present world we are training our young people to be more practical and functional then helping them to think out the box. It appears to me that with all the wonderful electronic devices that are now available our population is busy running away from boredom by playing video games, communicating on Facebook and Twitter and the like. What has come about is individuals too often do not go within their minds to imagine.