Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Imagination is more important than knowledge"

This saying came printed on a large black and white poster of Albert Einstein that I purchased at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in June of 1999 in Washington DC, one month after I was told by my heart specialist that he had figured out that I had had a heart virus after 7 months of thinking I might die. Only through a process of elimination could he be sure that that was what I had wrong as it is very hard to diagnose and most people die before it is diagnosed. I was one of the very few lucky ones to survive it.

It is sort of like your heart has a flu and if you don't die of panic when you pass out over and over again because your heart can't properly oxygenate your blood then you just might survive. If you panic even once during improper oxygenation you are dead.

The poster of Einstein is three feet high and 2 1/2 feet wide and I hung it over my desk to remind me of the importance of this saying.

To me it means that the genius of life is asking questions, not necessarily the finding of the answers. Because if the right question is formulated someone of us WILL find the answer if the question is properly formulated no matter what the question is.

So then when a four year old asks, "Why is the sky blue?", there are scientific answers to that question. It is the sun refraction through the atmosphere, clouds and ocean that causes the sky to be blue. But as with most colors the color we see is the one reflected by what we see and not absorbed by it.

So, "Imagination is more important than knowledge" tells us to never stop asking questions. For in the formulation of the perfect question leads to the perfect answer to that question and on and on and on.

And so, for all students of all ages it is important to remember always that although answers are important, our survival depends more at this time on the continuous formulation of questions even more than the answers they bring. Because if you can ask the right questions, all your problems and the worlds problems, and the universes problems can potentially be solved.

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