“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
― Albert Einstein
Einstein says it best. There is a great divide right now in our education system between those who are defenders of math and science and those who encourage a liberal arts education. There are also two types of academic training in our world today: education through rote-learning and education through creativity, exploration and asking critical questions. The former system trains the mind to think linearly while the latter is a much more profound learning experience that trains the mind to explore every possibility; in other words, the latter teaches that there are no limits to human creativity or imagination. Human intelligence is as much about logic as it is a tool to empower each one of us to create and imagine possibilities to leave the world a better place than the one we were born into.
What math and science teach you is logic and mostly deductive reasoning so that the world is always black and white. How many of us have actually enjoyed writing a math exam because the answers were so straightforward? Through training and hard work, I am certain that almost anyone can master mathematics. This is also one reason Asian education systems tend to place emphasis on mathematics and sciences. It creates conformity, exactly what authoritarian societies thrive on to maintain control over their students. Today, some of the highest math and sciences scorers on standardized tests are Asian men and women.
Logic is a powerful tool, but it can only take you so far. As Einstein brilliantly states, it is imagination that will take you to places never seen before. Recently, there has been much debate in our media about the value of a liberal arts education. My own response to this is that a liberal arts education will definitely open up your eyes. That combined with a solid math and science background can produce a new generation of Mark Zuckerbergs and Steve Jobses. Who brought us the beautiful font styles in Apple computers? Steve Jobs with his training in calligraphy. Somehow, he was able to connect calligraphy to technology. Zuckerberg’s understanding of human interactions through social media has roots in his psychology courses. Many things in life can broaden our horizons: a liberal arts education, a trip to the museum or art gallery, and visit to the bookstore. If we look around, there is much in the world that could set our imagination on fire. As I posted earlier, reading fictions can also light up your imagination. An education system that blends creativity with logical reasoning will go a long way in raising a new wave of innovators, not just scientists.
Einstein was a wise man, both in his contributions to the world and in his words. I will always keep this quote in my mind.