Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge
The new year is upon us. This is a special moment, as the hands of time turn and begin the cycle anew, drawing our minds both to the past in reflection and to the future in resolution.
For several weeks now, I have found myself dwelling upon this quote by Albert Einstein. While this is not the first time that I have encountered these words by the brilliant physicist, this is the first time that I have begun to apply his words beyond the context of art or science. For some strange reason, in pondering this idea of imagination, I have begun to think about what life could be like if I approached imagination as a way of daily thinking — as a way of daily being.
I believe one of the hardest things about being a young adult is that uncertainty is never more terrifying that when we are at this stage of life. Not knowing key aspects of what our lives will look like tomorrow, next year, or five years from now is a source of anguish that I know I am not alone in admitting as a twenty-something year old living in the world today.
I am too young for wisdom. I look at my parents and grandparents and I see enviable strength and contentment that comes from lived experience. The fearlessness that comes from being able to say: I’ve been through this before and I emerged not only okay, but stronger and wiser.
Though I realize that I cannot control wisdom and that wisdom will come as I live, it becomes that much more vital that I not allow myself to become too old for imagination. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we, the young people of the world, dare to imagine the brightest tomorrows for our own lives, even if tomorrow looks dim. For where there is no wisdom and where there is no imagination, there is only fear.
I do not mean to say that every trouble goes away simply by imagining it away. No, there is no substitute for hard work — for waking up early, for studying, for eating healthy, for going to the gym, for practicing.
But I believe, at the foundation of all our New Year’s Resolutions, should be a resounding recommitment to wider imaginations. Imagination is more important than knowledge because imagination is the only thing that can open up our minds and our hearts to the possible — to the successful and fulfilling future we all envision for ourselves but that may seem out of reach because we currently don’t have the knowledge to see the exact path to that future.
This New Year’s, I challenge each and every one of us to think back to our inner child, back to the time when everything seemed possible. For if we are brave and dare to imagine the very best for ourselves, we will have taken the most important step towards empowering ourselves in the face of the unknown.
With a child’s heart
Go face the worries of the day
With a child’s heart
Turn each problem into play
No need to worry
No need to fear
Just being alive
Makes it all so very clear
- Stevie Wonder, “With a Child’s Heart”
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this piece and you would like to support my writing in other ways, please check out my first short work of fiction, Frederick Douglass and the John Brown Scouts, available now on Amazon.