2016 – Most Philosophical 5th Grader in America

Leigh Murphy, New York.


The Real and Unreal

     Imagination is the influencer, the shaper of knowledge. Knowledge is useful, but has its limits. Imagination, on the other hand, has no limits. It is boundless, and as such results in amazing new ideas, and adds on to the knowledge. Imagination, because of its flexibility, boundless limits, and superior usefulness, is more impactful on society than knowledge.

     Einstein, one of the world’s greatest physicists, the man who set the stage for almost every major discovery in physics today, was the forerunner of the thought experiment, an experiment that takes place completely in your imagination in the era when science had advanced so far it was hard to replicate it in real life. When interviewed in 1929, he replied, “Knowledge is limited, while imagination circles the world,” Meaning, that imagination has unlimited freedom and potential and that while knowledge can get you to a certain stage, you cannot build from there without imagination. Imagination and thinking up new ideas is the key to advancing society. Imagination is more flexible than knowledge, thus proving my point.

     If knowledge is clay, then imagination is the sculptor. They are intertwined, but imagination is the more important of the two. While knowledge is useful, imagination shapes knowledge and builds on it, until it produces a beautiful new form. Imagination has influenced almost every major scientific discovery. Many scientists have pondered certain subjects, and found the answer, using their imagination, thinking, what about this? What about that? and then found the right situation. Knowledge has potential and is moldable, but with nothing to bold it or use it. Imagination is unlimited freedom, and is the sculptor fashioning knowledge into many different things, building on knowledge. I have proved that it has superior usefulness and has boundless limits.

     Throughout history, from when the first early human ancestor found some stones and thought, “Gee, what if I made a sort of thing that chips at trees and knocks them down? Say…” to today’s discoveries about quantum physics and ponderings about quarks and electrons, imagination was the key to major discoveries in all fields of science and technology. Imagination is more flexible than knowledge. Sometimes in history, imagination and knowledge have battled it out, but with imagination always the victor. For example, Copernicus and Galileo, with their examination of what was generally accepted as knowledge, imagined as a sun-centric universe. Their battles against the church represented imagination vs. knowledge, imagination challenging the stiff boundaries of knowledge. Imagination is more liberal, to the future, always to the future. Knowledge is more conservative. Without imagination. How will the human race advance?

     Many achievements in modern physics have been purely imagination, and that many laws of classical physics do not apply in quantum physics, some situations in physics are based on imagination. I also said that if knowledge is clay, imagination is the sculptor. They are intertwined and go hand in hand, but imagination is the better of the two. Therefore, without imagination, knowledge can not advance. So, I have proved that imagination is more impactful on society than knowledge.




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