“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” (Albert Einstein)
These words, attributed to German physicist Albert Einstein, are very often used and abused by whoever finds them comfortable to support his proper ideas.
With me, things this morning went the other way round.
I was thinking of this world and what we have made out of it.
I’m someone who loves this planet and its creatures and enjoys the richness and variety of nature as if they were the expression of joyful creativity of some unknown source. As I’m working on a science-nature media project, I’m every day in contact with the view on the world we have, what’s wrong with it, and the way we treat it, but also the way we treat our own species. And today I thought:
“It is actually bizarre that man enjoys so much the variety of nature, but wants the members of his own species to be all the same.”
Isn’t it like this? Weren’t we told already as children what’s right and what’s wrong and wasn’t already then a part of our actual personality cut off?
Now, a good education is something that not only helps to treat in an adequate way the world and the people around us, but helps also a lot to find our own way and to be at ease with our role in the society we live in and the people in our lives. Nothing bad until this point.
But what were we actually told? Weren’t we also told how to earn possibly much money? How to line up with mainstream opinions, mainstream behavior and mainstream requirements in order to live a “mainstream-life”, to match the picture that is being shown to us to illustrate how an ideal way of life should be?
During our youth time, the values of today’s societies have been transferred to us, sometimes unwillingly even from parents who basically disagree with many things. All these teachings possibly confined our choices in life, created the psychological picture of ourselves and set us on a path that maybe is not the one we would have chosen freely. The more we succeeded in being adapted, the more society rewarded us with success, excluding those who didn’t fit with certain social expectations.
But everything in the description above is linked to money: money for education, the financial possibilities of our parents, and the goals in life dictated by the system of our societies.
This system works on a very simple principle: there have to be the rich and the poor – not the richer ones and the poorer ones (I’m NOT a communist! And I stand for this statement!) – but there have to be the unimaginably rich and, the bad part, the unimaginably poor. If it were no longer so, this system would no longer work at all.
Useless to say, under such premises this system is actually unacceptable. But I don’t want to talk about poverty, wealth and the question of happiness. I want to talk about what is really being destroyed by this system: human creativity.
Creativity is what brings mankind forward. Creativity may refer to anything – science, technology, medicine art, even business. The more ideas man has, the more and the faster we find solutions for our problems.
So – creativity is part of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The more problems in life we have, the less time and money, the more pressure we have to stand, the less we can be creative. So watch the world: either people have a life where they have to function every day to be able to survive and support their families, so creativity is an optional for which very often there’s no more fuel after a day of stressful work. Or they are so poor that their creativity relates almost exclusively to the easiest way of getting food. Or they are so rich and powerful that their creativity is killed by egoism and comfort. Because, as German journalist Ken Jebsen said in his famous, very emotional speech some time ago: “Man can’t deal with power.”
Finally, what is really compromised in a system that creates such differences in the living standard and favors functionalism, is human creativity, which is furthermore considered an optional, something that only a few lazy weirdos pursue “instead of looking for a real employment”.
Where would we actually be if mankind, instead of wasting its energy in the often senseless creation of mass products to feed the rich, in fighting senseless wars for this and for that which again only feed the rich, were able to work together on their creative ideas, new views, and new standpoints? Where would we be if creativity was really backed up by our societies?
I personally think we would never have arrived at this point where we are now, behaving like parasites in a world not only ours, with self-created problems at a point of no return, and an unacceptable disregard for all other living beings and also our own species.
We need a change. And to achieve a change, we first need our imagination.
This is how suddenly Einstein’s quote popped up on my mind: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Oh yes. Certainly it is.
So, when you’re heartbroken because they’ve blamed you again for everything that’s wrong about you, just sit down and think beyond narrow minded teachings and ask yourself from your heart whether what’s wrong about you isn’t actually what’s right about you.