Is imagination actually more important than knowledge?
In 2022, with the current speed and reach of the internet, human knowledge is doubling, on average, every 13 months. To put it into context, in 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years. By the end of 1945, the rate was every 25 years. The “Knowledge Doubling Curve” was created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. The head of Google's AI division says we are on the road to doubling human knowledge every 12 hours.
But there is one area where AI, machine learning, technology, and even quantum computing will not be able to touch. And that is the area of human imagination and creativity. The world outside the binary.
What role does imagination play in our lust for knowledge and is our imagination actually more powerful than the knowledge we strive to consume?
Albert Einstein seemed to think so.
“I’m enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination, which I think is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
And he's not the only one. It turns out this is an important topic of discussion deep in the intellectual underground. Steve Jobs, undoubtedly one of our most prolific technology innovators was a huge proponent in the power of the imagination. He believed creative visualization and daydreaming existed as more than just a mechanism of play, but as an actual tool to unlock creative genius from the ether than connects us all. This becomes very clear when we remember that Jobs was one of the three founding fathers of Pixar, the global studio giant in imagination, animation, play, stories, and creation.
In his belief in the power of the imagination in unlocking creative genius, he shares company with Nikolai Tesla inventor of alternating electrical currents, David Lynch, famous American filmmaker, Lady Gaga, Jim Carrey, and so many more.
So, Scientifically Speaking, How Can We Make Sense of the Power of the Imagination?
What is Imagination?
Imagination is the visual experience of the contents of the heart. Letting go of logic, facts, rules of space & time. Like dreaming while awake.
I started down this path of belief shortly after my Mom died. In the weeks following her death, I had trouble grieving for I felt her incredible presence with me 24/7. I knew she was out of pain but was very much alive and with me. I could see her laugh in my mind's eye. I'd see license plates with special messages such as, "iluvELY" right as I was pulling into a parking lot to discuss her passing with a close friend. She is the only one who calls me Ely with that spelling. And I could see her nod of reassurance when I questioned it.
About two weeks into this afterglow phase, I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend, who is also very in tune with these things. Her father had passed years before, so she was there as a guide for me. I started to tell her my doubts and fears that I was making this all up in my mind. She was quiet for several minutes. At that moment, another song came on in the background of the restaurant and all my friend said was, "My father loved this song." So I listened more closely. The moment I tuned into the song, the lyrics came,
"If you believe, then I am more than fairy tale. I am real."
I cried. And nothing more needed to be said in that moment on this subject. I knew this was real. And I knew I wanted to understand more, but that even while learning, I could walk the path of faith and belief without knowing everything. Belief that this energy world was real and that I was safe to believe in it, even if I didn't have anything else figured out. And this began my journey.
The imagination is thought to be a solely unique human experience that allows us to explore ideas, situations, and outcomes without ever having experienced them or that do not even exist in our reality. For example, you may imagine how an important job interview will go before ever attending. You can see the chairs, desk, interviewer, and more without ever stepping into the room.
This style of imagination may help you prepare for the interview by simulating possible questions and outcomes while helping to calm your nerves as you have already experienced the interview in your mind.
Imagination is also said to be your creative side. The part of you that allows the creation of artwork and music and brings new ideas and thoughts to the center of your mind. Without imagination, there would never be anything new invented, designed, or created as no one would have the ability to see what doesn’t yet exist.
Imagination can also be defined through quantum metaphysics which to put it simply, explains the relationship between Mind and Matter. Quantum physics explains that matter is not made up of particles, but waves of energy that take shape through the power of our mind.
Everything we experience in our physical universe only comes into existence when the mind gives it form. Pablo Picasso said it best, "Everything you can imagine is real".
In other words, If you Dream It, It Will Come. In fact, a multitude of successful entrepreneurs swear by the power of imagination helping them achieve their success such as Steve Jobs.
Jobs, the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple, used the power of imagination to build an empire by tapping into his vibrational creativity.
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something." - Steve Jobs
Quantum Metaphysics would define this as seeing something that did not yet exist in reality through the vibration of imagination actually brought it into reality.
How to Tap into Your Imagination
As an adult, we often think of imagination, play, and visualization as something only children take part in. However, even waking in the morning and thinking about enjoying a hot cup of coffee that has been perfectly brewed is using your imagination.
By focusing on the coffee, you can almost smell it and taste it while also experiencing the joyful feelings that a cup of joe brings to you. Your mind is bringing everything that coffee reminds you of into reality. You will still have to get up and brew that coffee yourself as we are not talking about a coffee magically appearing in front of you, however, your imagination now allows you to brew exactly what you were dreaming of through the power of quantum mechanics bringing imagination to reality.
The same goes for your goals in life. Perhaps you dream of securing your dream job. Practicing the art of meditation and imagining the interview, how it would feel to secure that job, your life once working within that position, and how it would make you feel creates an energetic field of high vibration in your body, mind, and soul hereby bringing that dream into reality.
For example, Oprah Winfrey herself explained in an article published on Oprah.com, that
“Meditation is about getting still enough to know the difference between the voice and you. It's a heightened state of being that lets whatever you're doing be your best life, from moment to astonishing moment.”
She used the energy created through imagination and meditation to physically create the life she desired, and you can too!
How to Meditate
The art of meditating is not just a series of daydreams. It is a powerful mindfulness technique that allows you to visualize your dreams, reduce stress, harness and raise your vibrational energy, heighten your awareness, focus your attentions, and proactively create the life you desire.
During meditation, you develop intentional focus and minimize random thoughts about the past or future allowing you to clearly see your dreams and goals as a reality.
There is no one correct way to meditate as some may enjoy a silent meditation whereas other may become nervous or distracted in total silence. There are several different methods of meditation, five of which are listed below, and I recommend trying them all to discover what works for you.
- Mantra Meditation - Words have power. Each one with its own unique vibration which can be most explained through how you feel when you hear or see words such as love, peace, and kindness compared to words such as hate, anger, and war. You may be familiar with people repeating the sound ‘om’ during meditation. This word is used to focus your energy and harness the positive vibration around you.
You may not feel comfortable repeating ‘om’, but other words can have the same positive affect on your body, mind, and soul. Try repeating the words relax or breathe as it is the meditative state and vibrating of the word that brings calmness to your mind and allows you to focus.
- Walking Meditation - For those who are uncomfortable sitting in silence for meditation, take your meditation on the road. Walking while meditating on your dreams is a great way to connect body and mind while allowing the positive vibration of exercise, nature, and mindfulness to flow through your body to create the life you desire.
- Chocolate Meditation - Everyone loves chocolate, and this simple form of meditation is great for beginners to discover how to calm their minds by focusing solely on the experience surrounding the chocolate. Relax your body and take in the smell, the shape, the taste, the texture, and the overall sensation of that tiny piece of chocolate melting on your tongue.
Focus on each sensation. Notice the reaction of your body as you swallow, how your hand feels holding the chocolate, and how your muscles contract as you lift your arm to your mouth. If your mind wanders away, relax and refocus on the entire experience.
Now hold that experience and revisit it throughout your day to return to the sensations and move away from stress and anxiety.
- Breathing Meditation - Breathing is something we all do without thinking about it, but by focusing on each breath, noticing how your chest moves with each inhale and exhale, feeling the air rush in and out of your lungs, and sensing its energy reinvigorating every cell in your body allows you to clear intrusive thoughts, calm your spirit, and become more attuned with your body and mind.
Try sitting in a comfortable position, and inhale deeply while focusing on your chest and tummy expanding. Hold for 5 seconds then exhale slowly. Visualize your pain, stress, anxiety, and negative emotions leaving your body with every exhale.
Feel your muscles relaxing with each breath and remember that should your mind begin to refocus on the stressors of the day, simply bring your thoughts back to your breathing focusing on each and every vibration.
- Bath Meditation - The relaxing power of a soothing bubble bath is a wonderful time to practice your visualization and meditation. As the warm water helps soothe sore tired muscles, focus on the sensations all around you. The silky softness of the bubbles, the aromatic smells of aromatherapy added to the bath, the feeling of the humid air entering your lungs, and the sensation of feeling light as air.
Bath meditation is an extremely effective meditation technique so allow your attention to continue to rest in the present moment and should you notice your thoughts have drifted back to the stressors of the day, gently bring your mind back to the sensations all around you.
Visualizing your goals, the practice of meditation, and the power of imagination can help you harness your thoughts and focus your attention on bringing your dreams into reality. You can hold all the knowledge of the world but without imagination, you will never create the life you desire.
"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere." - Carl Sagan
 Journal Article - A Schlegel, Alexander - A Kohler, Peter J. - A Fogelson, Sergey V. - A Alexander, Prescott - A Konuthula, Dedeepya - A Tse, Peter Ulric - T Network structure and dynamics of the mental workspace - D 2013 - J Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - P 16277-16282 - V 110 - N 40 - R doi:10.1073/pnas.1311149110 - https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1311149110
 What Oprah Knows About the Power of Meditation - Oprah Winfrey - https://www.oprah.com/inspiration/what-oprah-knows-about-the-power-of-meditation