The Power Of Imagination And Power Of Knowledge

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The power of imagination is, to a great extent, behind every development in the history of mankind. “Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world,” – this saying credited to Albert Einstein perfectly reflects the dual nature of every innovation. In order to create something new, successful combination of three different ingredients is necessary: the cutting-edge knowledge, a fresh original idea that often critically reviews the status quo of contemporary science and questions its dogmas and a bit of good luck. The role of science in the development of new achievement is usually perceived as indisputable, the contribution of imagination, instead, is not so obvious.

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Pure imagination applied without use of foundation stone of state-of-the-art knowledge can hardly create a viable invention: the piece of art, maybe, combined with a talent and creativity captured in art or literature as a book or painting, for example. The ideas too innovative to the contemporary level of technological advance can still return fruitful if some inspired scientist decide to realize them later with the new available means.

The productive capacity of knowledge-based mechanism, in turn, is limited due to the strict objective nature of the science: there are rigid borders of what considered scientifically proved, approved and, consequently, possible in accordance with the modern state of knowing. The expertise without imagination is like a powerful engine without fuel: it has a great potential, but doesn´t go too far.

The fragility and the limitation of the knowledge based on the human´s objective experience is well investigated in the book of Nassim Taleb “The black swan: The impact of the highly improbable”. Black swan is a highly improbable powerful und influential for the future developments of society event. It is an outlier that hard to predict due to its rareness and as a consequence of limitation of human´s learning form experience or observation. Moreover, with the appearance of Black Swan the entire systems, concepts or even world order can be broken or turn over, as it happened with the invention of the internet, with the terrorist attack of September 11 or by the global financial crisis. One single observation can annul or compromise the entire scientific area that was developed from the multiple observation of white swans. In this case the imagination can be the real trigger for eventual breakthrough: imagination doesn´t recognize the borders of possible and scientifically proved, it leads the thoughts beyond and makes possible the giant leaps in the evolution of human society.

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