Knowledge, imagination and the self-help industry

Abstract

Einstein declared that imagination is more important than knowledge. Or is it? While it’s true that without imagination we cannot grow our knowledge. Yet without knowledge, we have no base from which to imagine. My research argues that we ignore either one to our detriment; that both knowledge and imagination, science and art, have equal importance. Why is this significant? I propose our greatest wisdom, our greatest contribution to humanity, is gained through an effective combination of both. In addition, I contend that the distinction between knowledge and imagination is a persistent illusion. One often reflected in a perceived dichotomy between science and the arts. My research examines how scientific and philosophical discourses are equally deployed in the multi-billion dollar self-help industry in ways that conflate knowledge and imagination, science and art. I propose that science and art are in fact telling the same story and my research explores this hypothesis through a mixture of practice-based research and discourse analysis. In particular, I investigate the concept that perception creates reality, how this notion is not confined to philosophy and the arts, but is equally prevalent in science, and how a balance of existing discourses are deployed in the self-help industry. My research is a mix of academic and creative practice, as the research provides content for a novel called The Red Pill. The entire project, therefore, is not only an examination of the ways in which discourses in science and art inform each other, and as such are equally important, but also a demonstration of this idea as exemplified in the self-help world

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