2016 – Most Philosophical 7th Grader in America:
Jade Haugen, Minnesota.
While some say knowledge is power, I say imagination is far greater. The dictionary defines imagination as the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful, but imagination goes way beyond that. Imagination inspires creativity, drives invention, and paves the way for knowledge. Imagination has a greater impact on society.
With imagination, we can go anywhere. As children we had incredibly strong imaginations. I could have a tea party with teddy bears, play with imaginary friends, or even be transported to another dimension to save the world! I remember as a child waiting for a package to be delivered. I knew the box would be huge. Then I heard the doorbell ring, DING...Mom raced to the door, yanked it open, grabbed the box, tore the tape, and retrieved the contents. When I hopped into that box it was magical. I cruised up and down the elevator a million times, blasted to Mars in my spaceship, and even traveled back in time! As we age, we still wait for the package, but focus on the contents. The contents are knowledge; the box is imagination. The contents have a set purpose; the box morphs into whatever we dream. Beyond inspiring creativity, imagination fuels invention.
Invention stems from knowledge, but requires imagination to grow. For example, Thomas Edison knew of lightbulbs but used his imagination to create a commercial bulb. Edison said “To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” He also said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He had no knowledge that it could be done but, with his imagination, accomplished it! Inventors like Edison use their imagination to light the path toward where knowledge should be developed.
Imagination paves the path for knowledge. Consider Nikola Tesla who said, “...we shall see and hear as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distance of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared to the present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” Although Tesla imagined it in 1926, we did not have the knowledge to make it a reality until 2004. Moreover, Tesla not only imagined the iPhone, he also imagined FaceTime that enables us to talk face to face no matter the distance. Imagination paved the way as it created a vision of what could be done; knowledge followed much later supplying the how.
Which is greater? Although knowledge provides the foundation for understanding how our world works, it doesn't drive us forward; it doesn’t make us better. Imagination guides our quest for knowledge, directing us where to look, what to investigate, and what to invent. Imagination does not have a set purpose. Imagination changes, changing us along with it. Imagination shapes society and the future. Where would we be without imagination? We simply don't know.
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