Friday, December 15, 2006

Arguing with Platitudes on Posters

While running around during lunch, I saw a poster that said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

Is it?

I'm not so sure. Straight knowledge, with no imagination, is rather dull. But imagination with no knowledge is really useless. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak imagined a world where everyone had access to a personal computer--but without the knowledge of electronics (and physics and math and computer science), they would not have been able to build one and write the programming necessary.

There's probably some ideal combination of knowledge and imagination required to do great things. But to say one is more important than the other seems, on the face of it, rather absurd. And, yet, how many people will see that poster, read the platitude and say, "Oh, of course!" Then add it to their repertoire of Cliches for Suitable Occasions.