Dr. Albert Einstein once proffered that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, but imagination encircles the world.”
This is not to say that knowledge—the factual information we have accumulated during our lives—doesn’t have at least some importance. Knowledge can make life a lot easier and often more efficient. Knowledge runs the gamut of significance, from important facts like knowing which mushrooms not to eat to more obscure information that serves little purpose other than as party trivia with which to bore your guests to tears.
For example, a quilter can benefit greatly from knowing the geometry of the various pieces of the quilt and the process for assembling them with mathematical precision. But, knowing how indigo dye is made is not really all that important.
Knowledge—facts—also tends to be monotone. They are what they are and we generally accept them as such. Then we move on to the next fact. They are not dynamic. They will always be what they are now. Facts are always the same to everyone, every time. 2+2=4 and always will, no matter your age, location, experience, or anything else.
So, if facts amount to, let’s say…, sheet music, then imagination is life’s symphony. It is the process by which our inner self leaps out into the world and says, “This is me!” It requires no validation…no explanation…and, certainly no excuse. Our quilter can punch out more geometry than it takes to launch a moon rocket, but that’s not what “makes” the quilt. That comes from inside the individual and cannot be described simply with a litany of factual information about that quilter.
Imagination has spirit—a soul all its own. So, it can never be the same to everyone, any of the time. More importantly, imagination is essential—we can’t live without it. We can always work around a lack of factual knowledge, we humans being the crafty critters that we are. We don’t have to know the structure of the universe to wonder what’s out there. We don’t need an intimate knowledge of taxonomy to know that every living creature occupies its own unique place in this world. With imagination, there is no 2+2=4. There is a boundless universe, a frontier we can explore without any limits except those we set for ourselves.For me, imagination is what makes the quilt. Sure…, knowledge makes quilting easier, but imagination makes it possible.
Where knowledge is a handshake, imagination is a big, warm hug. And, that’s a fact!
Until next time….
Patti and Joe