Albert Einstein | Creativity


For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. As he told one friend, "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge." Elaborating, he added, "All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration.... At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason." Thus, his famous statement that, for creative work in science, "Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Calaprice, 2000, 22, 287, 10).

But how, then, did art differ from science for Einstein? Surprisingly, it wasn't the content of an idea, or its subject, that determined whether something was art or science, but how the idea was expressed. "If what is seen and experienced is portrayed in the language of logic, then it is science. If it is communicated through forms whose constructions are not accessible to the conscious mind but are recognized intuitively, then it is art" (Calaprice, 2000, 271). Einstein himself worked intuitively and expressed himself logically. That's why he said that great scientists were also artists.

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