“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
~ Albert Einstein

I’d heard this quote and, to be blunt, always thought it pretty stupid.

Sure, imagination is important. Spurs creativity and innovation. It’s fun, sparks your curiosity, all that neat stuff. But more important than knowledge? Come on, that’s a huge stretch!

There is another reason I did not like the quote.

While I’m certainly a big proponent of self-esteem, at times I am concerned that there is a tendency in America to hand out too many awards simply for showing up, a propensity to overlook the discipline, the dogged persistence, the commitment, the blood, sweat, and tears that is the usual investment required to succeed beyond the ordinary, to truly actualize one’s full potential.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” seemed to say something akin to “daydreaming is more important than hard work” and I just could not relate. Then I ran across the FULL quote:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Ahhh! That makes sense. That I can relate to. That is the Albert Einstein I thought I knew and respected.

Things can be taken or used out of context. Often, when things don’t make sense, it is because we don’t have the full story.

This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive, originally posted September 23, 2008.