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Imagination is more important than intelligence

Human is a reasoning creature. Nature has furnished a human individual with the capacity to think and decide. Additionally, humans can imagine, which might require intelligence. Imagination acts as the nourishment for intelligence to work upon. Imagination leads to unique ideas beyond reality in present circumstances, but it could become feasible in the future with the development of better methods, technology & use of intelligence. Thus intelligence & Imagination are correlated and codependent.

imagination over intelligence

What is Imagination?

Imagination is the capacity of an individual to think beyond reality. Imagination could be logical, or it could be illogical, could be based on an individual’s past experiences, or it could be completely new, feasible, or beyond the bounds of the human capacity to achieve. Imagination leads to new & innovative ideas on which the human mind works to put it to constructive use.

E.g., Many Sci-fi-based books and novels have imagined ideas like a helicopter, submarines that have become a reality today.

What is Intelligence?

Intelligence is the total cognitive ability of an individual to gain information & to make decisions. It is an individual trait. It allows an individual to think & analyze different phenomenon which perceives & experiences through his perceptions. Intelligence could be an endowment of God, but it could be improved upon mental exercise within some limits. Intelligence can be used in both positive and negative ways by a person.

E.g., An individual can utilize his intelligence to make an extraordinary immunization for an infection or use it adversely to create a biological weapon with negative consequences for humanity.

imagination over intelligence

Imagination or Intelligence?

As kids, most of us have come across the common problem of shortening or increasing the length of a line without modifying it. The solution that we all know is to draw another line near to the bar in question. This problem demands more of Imagination than intelligence. Imagination is the ability to think beyond what is obvious or explicit. It takes both creativity and common sense to find innovative solutions for scientific, art, politics, and policies. Many discoveries, important inventions, and policy decisions have been the outcome of Imagination rather than just calculations or evaluations. Imagination provokes us to bring out simple ideas for a range of easy to complex problems in everyday life.

Imagination has been the guide since the commencement of humankind. The early man should be known as the father of Imagination. He had no idea of circles, yet he invented the wheel, discovered fire without the knowledge of friction. His way of life was to find answers to his problems purely relying on his ability to think and imagine. With the passage of time and civilization’s advancement, people began to consider and question everything around them. This could be religion, natural occurrences, art, music, and even governance. One of the most familiar and ancient civilizations in India was the Indus valley civilization. Their way of life describes how they were one of the earliest urban settlers. Their ideas of urbanization, love for art explicitly speaks for the kind of life they led. On the other, intelligence is more about thinking logically and drawing conclusions based on facts and reasoning. It helps in having good intelligence academically and in everyday life. However, intelligence does not guarantee innovativeness or wisdom, which are more attributable to thinking and Imagination. It was Imagination which prompted Ashoka to rethink about wars after leading a bloody battle in Kalinga. If intelligence was the only criteria to measure one’s capabilities, we couldn’t have been gifted with the rock-cut caves at Ellora or the mesmerizing paintings of Ajanta and Ellora.

imagination over intelligence

Intelligence justifiably follows Imagination, which is the start of ideas beyond the convention. Imagination fuels our thoughts and provides us the willpower to achieve what we feel is difficult or impossible. Most of us are born with average intelligence. Few people are brilliant. However, the imaginative power is a gift that doesn’t need academic excellence. Plain common sense is also a privilege, and Imagination takes us beyond common sense. For instance, flying had always been the fascination of man. From Montgolfier balloons to Hydrogen filled zeppelins to today’s space crafts and space stations, it was our Imagination that provoked us to find a way to fly and reach beyond the sky. It indeed took intelligence to build all of these, but it was Imagination that drove us to use the former in the first place.

imagination over intelligence


The power of Imagination has taken a whole different meaning in today’s world. It isn’t enough to answer problems; it is also essential to find an innovative solution that can save money, environment, and time.
Our daily life is also full of possibilities wherein a lot can be done to improve it. Children must be taught to think beyond textbooks. Their level of understanding depends on the freedom we give them to imagine. This will bring out their overall development. Education must foster better learning and thought processes at all levels, from primary to higher levels of education. Skills are better developed when learning is based on understanding the underlying concept.

Imagination had started our evolution and brought us to an era where wheels have given way to wings, conversations to chats, and kingdoms to governments. Intelligence is essential to bring such changes. But the ability to do so rests on thinking ideas and imagining them. Imagination brings out ideas beyond the conventional, and intelligence is needed to give real shape to them. So  Imagination more critical in the first place.


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