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Is Imagination More Important Than Research?

Which is more important – research or imagination? Maybe they are equally vital in survivorship!
PUBLISHED April 23, 2019
Jane has earned three advanced degrees and had several fulfilling careers as a librarian, rehabilitation counselor and college teacher. Presently she does freelance writing. Her articles include the subjects of hearing loss and deafness, service dogs and struggling with cancer. She has been a cancer survivor since 2010.

She has myelodysplastic syndrome, which is rare, and would love to communicate with others who have MDS.
I was shocked when I read recently that Albert Einstein, one of the biggest geniuses in the world, was quoted as saying, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Yet he is known for his brains, his contributions and his inventions that changed our lives.
Wait – but did he have to “imagine” these theories before he proved them? Of course he did, and that took being creative and well – imaginative.
I remember the hardest part of writing my dissertation was coming up with a hypothesis and stating what I was trying to prove. After a researcher does that, then the next step is to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
It is also a well-known fact that many inventions are developed when the inventor is trying to create something else. For example, Alexander Graham Bell is known for inventing the telephone, when actually he was looking for a device to help his deaf mother and wife.
This certainly applies to cancer. All the new drugs, clinical trials, immunotherapy and surgeries started with a dream. The researchers had to think how these treatments would work to prolong or save our lives. The imagination of these scientists is the reason many of us are still here today.
And we survivors can imagine too. I like dreams better than reality. Reality is that there is no cure for my type of blood cancer. Reality is I am past the expectant life span. Reality is I will most likely not live to the ripe old age of my parents and grandparents. Reality is I will always be on some type of treatment regime.
Imagination is there will be a cure someday for this type of cancer. Imagination is if I had been diagnosed 10 years earlier, it would have been a death sentence. Imagination is more and more treatments are coming out. Imagination is perhaps an immunotherapy will be developed for blood cancer.
It is so easy to become discouraged, depressed and feeling ill all the time. But when this happens, cancer survivors can think about Albert Einstein.
We can be knowledgeable, look up research studies and be searching for answers all the time. Or we can use our imagination to say “Maybe – sometime – in my lifetime – there will be a cure.” It is up to us to decide which we want to develop –knowledge or imagination. Honestly – I think I do a little of both, and there is nothing wrong with that!  
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