Imagine if we as a people were only to know knowledge. The act of individualized contemplation abandoned, humans around the globe would communicate only through drones of predetermined facts. Horace shares the equation of Newton’s second law of motion. Ethel blinks. Unhindered, Horace heart-wrenchingly replies with the case that 73,478,465,482,364,582 multiplied by 837,748,987,629,187,897,362,783,883,728,191 equals approximately 6.155651×10^49. By this time, Horace stands alone, Ethel having moved on to live out her monotonous life, preferably in the company of those less talkative. Despite that the calculation in completion comprises of merely 80 symbols, many would not have read the numbers in entirety, much less entertain such tedious conversation. The fundamental truth is that the reader simply doesn’t care. Knowledge alone remains an insipid string of symbols on a page, the artless memory of past invention incapable of influencing society. Only through imagination may the path toward distinguished civilization be made clear, wielding knowledge of the past to summon fantasy to the world of reality. Dull words of the page come to life in brilliant color when knowledge is give a purpose, and shaped into something new.
Despite the necessity of imagination in all fields, many still consider music to be a topic defined by flawless technique and mastery of one’s instrument. This understanding of music in its most basic, concrete form, however, is not what casts ones name into the heavens and history books. Not comprehension, but ingenuity, guided the legendary Ludwig Van Beethoven’s to use his previous knowledge of chord progressions to create a world of compositions in his mind. The music of his imagination thereafter was transcribed to live among the immortal selection of classical works for others in forthcoming generations to learn and know, superlative despite his deafness and distance from melody in the tangible realm. However, this memorization of sound is not why his name is still expressed with reverence; notes mean nothing to society without the ability to create from them. Beethoven is celebrated for the sheer genius in his work, not from an impeccable knowledge of chord progressions. It is imagination, the vital flame, bright and alive, over which the rudimentary block of knowledge is melded, taking shape to become the structural scaffold that all great civilizations are built upon. Just as steel cannot become sword without fire, so too knowledge remains formless without one’s originality. Imagination both creates and utilizes knowledge; it is in this way that knowledge achieves its full command, and because of this that imagination has a greater impact on society.
“What is now proved, was once only imagined.” The famous words of William Blake resonate in the paramount triumphs of culture: the great hum of the airplane’s motor, in the roar of the rocket taking off in search of new worlds. No longer are words on paper bland and meaningless, worn down through the exchange of hands. While imagination shines through, the world remains forever vivid: a stained glass, brilliant in its framework of knowledge.