Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adjust the Volume in Your Mind

Imagination is an enriching, harmonious soundtrack playing in one's mind; worry is distracting, cacophonous background noise interrupting the mind. As you turn up the volume on imagination with the help of inspiring voices--of friends and mentors, authors, artists, Nature--who help you dance through life, you will simultaneously turn down the noise that paralyzes you.

The key to volume control is not just a good sound system, but a strong listening system, powered by intention. If you think of your life as a movie, you will intentionally choose a soundtrack to enrich the daily flashing images that constitute your life. Some moments require sounds of Nature, others require the harmony of artistic voices, and still other scenes beg for the sounds of silence. How you listen to those chosen sounds will determine how they affect your mood as the story pulls you along.

Right now, as I type, I hear harmony in the steady clicking of my keyboard, the birds twittering outside the open screen door, the scratching of my little dog, asking me to let him in ("Just a minute!" I call now, as a still smooth bridge section of my soundtrack)....

Suddenly, worry about the editing job I'm behind on blasts a jarring note into my head as I think about finishing this blog post, and forget about enjoying the process.

I'm tuning it out, adding this paragraph instead. And as I type these words, I hear my magical wind chimes start ringing outside, coincidentally, in a sudden breeze that has crept into the room and up my back. Sounds of imagination become multisensory....

I shiver, smile to myself now, and type:
End of post.
Off to dance now...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Was Einstein Right About Imagination Being More Important than Knowledge?

To analyze Einstein’s assertion that “imagination is more important than knowledge” requires definitions of “knowledge,” “imagination,” and “important.” Knowledge is an attribute gained by study, synthesis, and application of information and materials already in existence. Imagination is an innate ability exercised by creative impulses that bring new information and materials into existence. Knowledge requires information; imagination inspires information. The depth of our knowledge depends upon the strength of our commitment to study, and upon our memory. The depth of our imagination depends upon the strength of our creative impulses and our willingness to act upon our inspirations. Anyone with a functioning brain can develop knowledge, but not anyone can develop an imagination.
Imagination leads to evolution, a forward movement like swimming to a new shore, while knowledge leads to enrichment, which is less like swimming and more like treading water. For example, Einstein, dissatisfied with the body of knowledge available to him in his search for answers to perplexing problems of the universe, instead created entirely new theories within his own mind, countering established information, and leading to an evolution in physics itself. Since his creation of the theory of relativity, scientists have expanded upon the knowledge he created from his imagination, enriching his theories. Consider also the ancient invention of aspirin as a pain reliever and fever reducer, an invention that evolved from a scientist’s imagination (and historians still debate the identity of exactly which scientist invented aspirin). When the use of aspirin eventually revealed a side effect, blood-thinning, modern scientists applied their knowledge of aspirin’s effects to the modern-day prescription of aspirin in smaller doses for maintaining healthy blood flow. Invention obviously precedes new knowledge, but the new knowledge may then enrich our lives even more than someone originally imagined. Thus, while knowledge keeps us afloat and strengthens us, only imagination truly propels us forward.
If we define importance as “the potential for affecting the world,” then yes, imagination is more important than knowledge, as Einstein declared. If, however, we define importance as “value for the sake of personal growth,” then a balance of knowledge and imagination is more important than an abundance of only one. The pursuit of knowledge connects us with our predecessors by honoring their imaginations, whereas the exercise of imagination connects us with future generations who will build upon the knowledge we have established. The weighing of imagination against knowledge is thus affected by…relativity!