Imagination is more important than knowledge

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Imagination is more important than knowledge

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:25 am

A quote from Albert Einstein.
“I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am. When two expeditions of scientists, financed by the Royal Academy, went forth to test my theory of relativity, I was convinced that their conclusions would tally with my hypothesis. I was not surprised when the eclipse of May 29, 1919, confirmed my intuitions. I would have been surprised if I had been wrong.”

“Then you trust more to your imagination than to your knowledge?”

“I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Any thoughts? How much Buddhist agree with this?

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Re: Imagination is more important than knowledge

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:34 am

Taken literaly, that quote is dangerous, in the sense that it is the current "philosophy" behind education in Europe. "Let the children discover by themselves."

A man like Einstein could only be saying that beyond a certain point, imagination is more important than knowledge. That is a natural observation that he probably made because of comparing himself with other physicists.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Imagination is more important than knowledge

Postby dagon » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:27 am

I can only say what my understanding is – how this complies with the dhamma others may be kind enough to tell me, please.
Imagination is a way of exploring beyond conventional truths by letting the mind go wild, where it wants with little or no constraints.
Knowledge is information (data that has been processed in the mind) and the knowledge that we are interested in is that taught to us by the Buddha through the Dhamma. To get real value of this knowledge it need to penetrated deep within and be applied to this life.

Training rules help to purify the mind to allow us to see past knowledge to a point of understanding what is the ultimate truth taught by the Buddha. The training rules prepare us but realization has to come from within, normally through meditation.
Applying imagination to the Dhamma is likely to lead us away from truth under the influence of the hindrances; it is also likely to lead us to speculate on matter that Buddha has taught us not to bother with – at best will lead us to waste or time and effort.

We imagine that we are this body, this social status … that only lead to a continuation of the suffering as stated in the first noble truth. The knowledge that we have is that we are not self, I me. The deep understanding of this is what would allow us to escape from the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death. It is hard to see how imagination and mindfulness could coexist.

So my belief is that knowledge is necessary, understanding more important and given the human condition imagination is dangerous.


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Re: Imagination is more important than knowledge

Postby chownah » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:36 am

The path to awakening is filled with knowledge and imagination and both must be abandoned to reach the goal.......maybe.....don't know for sure......

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