Albert Einstein once said that “imagination is more important than knowledge”. How does this apply to everyday life? We spend a major part of our lives gaining knowledge via formal education and other channels. The common notion is that knowledge equals power. One cannot dispute that. However, one’s power will be limited if he or she has knowledge but no imagination.
Imagination plays a key role in enabling a person to put his or her knowledge to good use. Technological innovations are an example of this principle. Hand-held mobile phones would not exist today were it not for the imagination of the person who invented them, Motorola researcher Martin Cooper (in 1973). The telephone had been in existence since 1876. Cell phone technology has allowed millions of people throughout remote parts of the Caribbean and Africa to have access to phone communication. The imagination of a handful of people has positively affected the lives of millions. Would it have made sense to just keep the knowledge of the conventional telephone and sit down? Used in a good way, imagination leads to the improvement of what is already known.
Efficient verbal and written communication requires a certain amount of imagination. Great leaders would not be able to deliver compelling speeches or write inspiring memoirs without it. The choice of words makes an artist’s song or poem special. Knowing all the words in the dictionary is no good without knowing how to use them.
Imagination is the stream out of which solutions flow. A head of state must use his or her imagination to propel his or her country to a better social and economic situation. Creativity provides options. Jamaica, as is the case with many developing countries, possesses extremely creative people. So why is it still a developing country? Part of the problem lies in the fact that, in the development discussion, more attention is given to the solutions suggested by holders of university degrees. The assumption is that they are the ones with ‘the knowledge’. What about the intelligent people who aren’t scholars? Entrepreneurs are the backbone of any capitalist economy. Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs never went to university yet their imagination led to the creation of businesses and jobs.
The current economic crisis has most societies at a crossroads. Many countries are facing the worst situations in decades. Textbook theories will not be enough to bring peace and prosperity. There has to be more interaction between policy makers and the imaginative people who have always been able to create their opportunities and survive. Creativity must become the order of the day on all levels of society. In the educational context, there needs to be a bigger promotion of arts in schools as it nurtures creativity. We all have an imagination but not all of us are tapping into it. Imagine what the world would be like if more people used their imagination in a positive way. There is no knowledge without creation.
Tags : Jamaica, imagination, knowledge, creativity, solutions
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