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The History Of The Imagination Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1410 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Knowledge, on the other hand is the information, skills and understanding that one has gained through learning or experience which is termed as the best teacher. Plato described knowledge as ‘justified true belief’. For a person to know something he/she has to believe, be able to justify and be true. Knowledge can be divided into areas which are: Science, History, Arts, Ethics and Math. There are also some ways of acquiring knowledge which include: Sense, Perception, Reason and Emotion (Longman dictionary pg. 895).

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In this essay I agree that, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will be to know and understand’ (Albert Einstein). This is because; the notion of imagination contests our opinion of what we count as private and basically humanistic.  Imagination defies technology to survey what mass media can perform: how distant inside man can extend it and also how distant outside man can generate what is reflected as his internalized self? In almost everything that humans do in their day to day lives involves imagination. It also brings out the aesthetic in everything because it has no boundaries and it is free to everybody [1] .

In Aristotle, the imagination seals the breach between pictures and thoughts, suggesting that rational ideas takes place in the form of images, and are stored and combined in the imagination.  Thus, imagination is implied as tangible space in a person’s brain, and in this space it has a power to merge pictures and thoughts to perform the work of reason [2] .

Imagination can also be taken as being procreative due to its foundation in an assumed or experienced knowledge that is essentially reproduced to ‘shortcut’ the evidence theorized by the senses. For example, one is obligated to use his/her imagination ability to deductively purpose that even though he/she cannot see all sides of a cube in his/her imagination the six sides of a cube can be seen clearly. Based on the viewer’s experience, a cube factually and observably does have six sides. However, since the viewer has the faculties of his reproductive imagination, he need not rely on his senses. Thus if reality can be observed by senses, imagination puts through a certain no-man’s land between what is observably true and that which is considered fictive in some sense, imagination creates a shortcut. Imagination in this sense fills in what could in all likelihood be observed by the senses and apprehends a sense of reality based on the experience of the proof of his senses without the implemented proof [3] .  Remember as a child how you could imagine anything, invisible friends; a scribble on some paper could tell a life’s story, you could make anything and everything from a cardboard box and a toilet roll. Our imagination surpasses our gifts of reasoning and logic. For knowledge can tell us only what is impossible or possible.  Furthermore, according to Sartre, art is the expression both of the imagination itself and the higher truth conceived of by the imagination [4] .

‘There is a boundary to men’s passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination’ Edmund Burke [5] . From this statement, we can derive that Edmund’s thought were based on imagination not having any boundaries.

Another quote from Albert Einstein about imagination was, ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination’ Albert Einstein [6] .

Knowledge on the other hand is limited to what we know and understand as stated by the topic [7] . This means that knowledge only deals with what we know and nothing else. Imagination is within us while knowledge is learnt through teaching and experience.

Bringing this knowledge is to one of my real life experience is that I used imagination in one of the areas of knowledge. I was an art student during my O levels and one of the key things that were needed in doing this subject was imagination. Here we can see that an area of knowledge which is art relies on imagination for it to be complete.

Also imagination gives one motivation and courage to do a task. This can be put into a real life experience for example a soccer player and in this case the soccer player is me. Before every soccer match I have played, I imagine myself giving accurate passes, making runs past defenders, defending properly and even scoring. This always gives me the motivation to look forward to playing every match I am needed to play.

Another place where imagination is needed is in the area of theatre and acting. Recently our school hosted a musical and in which I was involved as an actor, and I remember during the rehearsals of the musical our supervisors always stressed on the point of using our imagination in acting rather than using our knowledge.

But also there is the bad side of imagination. This causes terrible consequences, like for instance Palestinians imagine Jews wish to humiliate them, so they live with hatred; Jews imagine Palestinians wish to slaughter them, so they live in fear. The result of this is a bloodbath spanning decades [8] .

Also when one is walking at night alone through a dimly lit alley or street and maybe a dustbin falls down. One will be grasped by fear because of the imaginations he/she is having in their mind. This shows the negative power of imagination. Such judgement is relatively harmless because it takes place for just a moment. But when the deception is permanent, imagination ceases to be a valuable ability and thus becomes a treacherous enemy.

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It takes as much imagination to create failure as to create success, to create confidence as to create fear, and to create joy as to create suffering. So, why wouldn’t we want to use this power for good? [9] You are what you imagine yourself to be. So, if you are unhappy with your present circumstances, it’s time to start imagining something far more positive. ‘Let your imagination release your imprisoned abilities,’ as one Robert H. Schuller put it [10] .

So personally I agree with Albert Einstein’s saying and my T.O.K essay topic, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will be to know and understand.’ This is simply because imagination is within us.


Dupagetherapy.com- The Dynamic Role of Imagination: The Interaction of the Sensitive and Rational Faculties- Daniel E. Lee, Psy.D, LCPC. Retrieved 5/7/2012 11:00am

Plato.stanfod.edu-quotes/topics-imagination.html. Retrieved 5/7/2012 11:30am

www.iep.utm.edu-quotes/topics-imagination.html. Retrieved 5/7/2012 11:30am

www.about.com. Retrieved 5/7/2012 11:49am

www.thinkexist.com. Retrieved 5/7/2012 12:01pm

http://www.personal-development.com. Retrieved 5/7/2012 12:01pm

http://www.chicagoschoolmediatheory.net. Retrieved 5/7/2012 11:30am

http://papahere.com. Retrieved 5/7/2012 12:01pm


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