I first got to know of this phrase as part of a quotation from Isaac Newton and I’ve actually posted it as one of my quotes of the day. You’ll find on Wikipedia many contemporary references to the phrase; the dialogue session I attended today reminded me of it.
It was a dialogue session between some 120 students and a panel which included Tony Buzan (of Mind Maps fame) and Kirpal Singh from Singapore Management University about the relevance of the junior college curriculum. This panel discussion was organised by and broadcasted live over News Radio 938 here in Singapore.
There are probably many good things to say about that experience but I was particularly impressed by how Tony Buzan was able to cite a few quotations, seemingly off hand, which were very apt and insightful. Maybe mind maps have really energised his power of memory or he was able to mind map his way in preparation for this discussion and make a list of potentially useful quotations. Kirpal Singh also had a few quotes and stories to share.
I really liked those quotations so I have searched for them on the Internet. Some of what I managed to find were variations of them from other thinkers, but they’re good anyway:
On having to take a contrasting subject:
The greatest Art is achieved by adding a little Science to the creative imagination. The greatest scientific discoveries occur by adding a little creative imagination to the Science.
In the sphere of thought, sober civilisation is roughly synonymous with science. But science, unadulterated, is not satisfying; men also need passion and art and religion. Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to the imagination.
The science of aesthetics is not the same as, nor even a proximate means to, the practice and appreciation of the arts. How can one learn to have an eye for pictures, or to become a good painter? Certainly not by reading Benedetto Croce. One learns to paint by painting, and one learns to appreciate pictures by going to galleries and looking at them.
Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy
On creativity and imagination:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
American Physicist who developed
the special and general theories of relativity.
Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
Where the two topics overlap:
Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of her wonders.
Francisco de Goya