Fantasy as Gift

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

I love that Einstein held fantasy and imagination in such high regard. I think its marvellous that a man of science and logic appreciates the immense capacity of the imagination and the power of fantasy to transform everyday life. I especially love that he knows it is a gift, a gift he values even more than knowledge. It seems strange at first, as though Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist the world has known, would prefer fantasy to fact, the unreal to the real.
Upon reflection it is not so surprising, however. We forget that to apply reason and logic to any situation, we first need the imagination as our testing ground – as a way of conceptualizing possible outcomes. For instance, how could we theorize that an atom exists without first imagining the possibility? For that matter, how could we theorize anything at all?
We compartmentalize everything we learn for the sake of simplicity. That is why we view the imagination as a separate and independent faculty from our ability to reason and apply knowledge, when really, they are a part of the same thought processes and not opposed to one another at all. The lion should be able to lie down with the lamb. Art is not really so far apart from Science and Math and the other disciplines. It drives them, pushes the boundaries, injects them with new expectation. Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best when he said: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” The gift of imagination can allow us to envision miracles and wonders. The power then comes when we believe.