Knowledge and Imagination
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    Knowledge and Imagination

    Something I've noticed is that knowledge destroys imagination. The more you know, the less there is to question. The more you know about something, less you can play with it, and the experience of that moment and activity in combination with the object you're playing with diminishes. You know the feeling, surely? Maybe when you first found this site, there was a feeling. Or when you started playing a game of some sort?


    [edit]: If you're new to this thread, it's been discussed and opinions have changed. Please read to the latest comment before posting.

    Last edited by Max Challie; September 18th, 2008 at 11:02 PM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Knowledge destroys the mystery of those things that can be "solved". But there are many many many things that will remain unknowable forever.

    These are the universal themes of art. Love, death, life, the future, the past, adventure, conflict, emotions, the supernatural, etc.

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    Yeah. It kind of tells us that life is full of puzzles. Have fun with them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max A K Challie View Post
    The more you know, the less there is to question.
    If you truly believe this, then you don't know anything.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max A K Challie View Post
    The more you know about something, less you can play with it
    I would argue the exact opposite.

    EDIT: shit, Elwell beat me to it.

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    As the others have said, this idea of yours is total rubbish.

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    "Beliefs are rules for action"
    "Knowledge is proven in action."
    "It's use is it's meaning."
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    I was much less creative when I knew nothing.


    Fear kills imagination.

    SSG 37
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    Now that I think about it, yes. I find them both to be the case.

    But anyway, thanks for putting your rejection of an idea across in such a rude manner.

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    You see rude, we see honest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max A K Challie View Post
    Now that I think about it, yes. I find them both to be the case.
    Ultimate cop-out.


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    at least follow it through lol. Argue your point even if you think your wrong you must have some reason for feeling this way.

    My opinion

    I do understand what you are trying to get at but your not really hitting the nail you could say. When your are learning about art one thing you should keep in mind is that you are just looking at other peoples points of views, how people reach the goal they want to reach in there work. if you are talking about making things look real and learning about things like perspective etc. You should use this knowledge you have acquired as guidelines not as rules. Its great to find out "rules" like ones in perspective and see how far you can bend them. An opportunity to be creative which you wouldnt have if you didnt know the rules? Art is not about right and wrong its about what you feel is right.

    Peace keep at it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    You see rude, we see honest.
    I'm not sure. Are the responses always relevant to the subject, or do some people simply not like me because I don't post art?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Ultimate cop-out.
    When I get replies like that of armando's, it's not very encouraging to stick with the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Mason View Post
    at least follow it through lol. Argue your point even if you think your wrong you must have some reason for feeling this way.

    My opinion

    I do understand what you are trying to get at but your not really hitting the nail you could say. When your are learning about art one thing you should keep in mind is that you are just looking at other peoples points of views, how people reach the goal they want to reach in there work. if you are talking about making things look real and learning about things like perspective etc. You should use this knowledge you have acquired as guidelines not as rules. Its great to find out "rules" like ones in perspective and see how far you can bend them. An opportunity to be creative which you wouldnt have if you didnt know the rules? Art is not about right and wrong its about what you feel is right.

    Peace keep at it
    EDIT: Thank you! Haha, I was composing the following paragraph, and posted it, only to see this. I just get turned off by replies that are rude on the surface, from my point of view, even though they may be helpful. Some people will simply reject an idea out of it not fitting them; a teenage stereotype might reject the idea of doing art at home instead of going out to drink alchohol, because it doesn't fit into their mindset. I should continue things through to a certain point, and if it is still rejected, then drop it. But stick with it.


    Perhaps I just need to explain further. I can see that my first post was too quick and didn't leave a balance.

    I thought about this after exploring some of the water in Shadow of the Colossus. It's done in a way that gives the impression it's endless, with deep water noises and blackness. This fascinates me, so I explore it more often and wonder how deep it is.

    I started looking at the edges of the rock/ground, how they submerge into the water, looking at them as they descend to see how deep it is. I noticed that with a couple of bodies of water, the edges stop descending diagonally at some point, so that is probably the bottom. Now that I know this, I can't think about them as playfully as I did.

    On the other hand, without any knowledge what-so-ever, it's not possible to question either, is it? And sometimes, a new piece of knowledge is riddled with all its own puzzles that open so many more doors.

    Last edited by Max Challie; February 10th, 2008 at 09:59 PM.
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    I can remember one art class in particular where the teacher was practically tearing her hair out, because she had an otherwise talented student who scoffed at the idea of learning any art history at all. "I don't need it! MY style is absolutely original!" To which the teacher, grinding her teeth, responded, "But how will you know that? If you have no idea what your influences are -- and unless you've grown up in a sterile 10x10 room with no entertainment your whole life you DO have influences -- how will you change them? Defy them? Make them your own?"

    In point of fact, this girl's "style" was a combination of manga and Art Nouveau (mostly Mucha) and there was nothing original about it at all -- but she did not understand or seemingly want to understand that. Her ignorance certainly did not make her more imaginative or inspired than her fellows -- it handicapped her in the worst way.

    And don't even get me started on the number of beginning art students who have tried to argue to me that they didn't NEED to know anatomy because their "style" calls for a particular kind of distortion -- even though it was clearly evident from their work that they would have benefited greatly from the knowledge of what the rules of anatomy were before they made their caricatures.

    The more I know, the more I know I need to learn. The more I know, the more vistas open up to me, the more I see that beyond that horizon is another, more tantalizing distance beckoning. What I know now is that I will never know enough, and where in my youth that was frustration, now it the most exciting kind of wonder.

    It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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    I think what you're arguing max is that things are less mysterious and magical when you know more about them.

    Which I agree with. Christmas wasn't the same after santa clause left, and life doesn't feel mysterious or magical now that I don't believe in god.

    that's not quite the same as saying that because we know more, we cannot create more. Having more knowledge helps creativity rather than hinders it. If you know very little and it all feels so magical, you won't knwo the REASON why it feels magical in the first place, and will never be able to reproduce that feeling in your art.

    To be more literal, the more things I know about history and culture, the more I can mesh certain cultures, the more I can identify what cultural style is most befitting of a certian region etc. The more I know about muscles, the better I can create my own for some odd creatures. The more I know about landscapes the better I can create unique rock formation out of my ass.

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    Max, watch this:


    Last edited by Elwell; February 10th, 2008 at 10:32 PM.

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    I agree with most of the people here. When I didn't study the human figure, all my figures looked flat and bland (They still kind of do, but it's being worked on), but now they're starting to look a lot better.

    I know if I don't study landscapes, I can't create epic ones that I envision. If I don't study color theory, everything doesn't look right, and the art piece falls apart.

    Knowledge is the base of all art, and should be used to your advantage. Sure some of the things I wanted to do in my comic has changed because of science knowledge like physics and chemistry, but my comic has never felt more real which allows me to really feel what I'm drawing and writing.

    If you don't try to learn everything you can, it'll just hinder your progress as an artist.

    "Wake up. Work hard. Stop being a loser." -Dave Rapoza

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuartyi View Post
    If you don't try to learn everything you can, it'll just hinder your progress as a human being.
    Fixed.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Thanks for that Elwell, Horizon is the shit

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    You guys should watch all 5 parts. It's epic. I wish I had a relative like that.

    Lol, It sucks that I'm asian. I can't help it if I look like a million other people.

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    I think knowledge could hinders creativity, kind of when you know how something works and you lose the initial crazy idea you imagined about it.

    But then dismissing knowledge totally is pretty stupid, literally.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I adore Feynman. I just wanted to say that.

    Two of my favorite stories (yes I'm assisting in the hijack)

    How Feynman was hired for The Manhattan Project...

    How Feynman discovered the cause of The Challenger Explosion.

    I figured a tease would be a shorter and more effective way to get people to read more about Feynman...

    (Warning: The knowledge that I have attempted to manipulate you may have adversely affected your imagined version of me.)

    At least Icarus tried!


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    I really, really miss Feynman.
    And Jim Henson.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Max, watch this:
    Such a nice guy. His father must've been a clever man.

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    I understood quite differently what Max wrote in his first post. It's also something that was mentioned in Nick Pugh DVD about originality. The more you know and are passionate about subject connected with what you designs, there is less likeness that you will break into new territory and invent something new. Mostly beacause you're so immersed in what there is and you're so part of what has everybody done.

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    The more you know about something, the less you can play with it, and the experience of that moment and activity in combination with the object you're playing with diminishes. You know the feeling, surely? Maybe when you first found this site, there was a feeling. Or when you started playing a game of some sort?
    In case you're wondering why so many people pounced on you, its because of the way you set up the discussion. The thread title is too forceful, and that first line "the more you know, the less there is to question," was bound to ellicit a hostile reaction.

    The sentiment that you're trying to express is easy to write off, but you're also not the first person to venture into unstable epistemological terrain. You might check out Heidegger's "Question Concerning Technology", or "Totality and Infinity" by Emmanual Levinas. They explore the issue from different directions; the former with a heavy focus on ontology, the latter from an ethical perspective. Both offer broad ranging critiques of Aristotle, who is still the father of the sciences, even if most scientists don't bother reading him anymore. At issue in Heidegger, is not so much the knowledge drive per se, but rather a certain attitude towards the world or Being, which can develop as a result of it. Levinas goes further and discusses the knowledge drive as an act of violence. Feynman highlights the same issue, in his own way, when he discusses the difference between “knowing the name of a bird” and actually “knowing the bird.”

    Just remember, anytime you start to get too comfortable with something, when you think you really 'know' it, that's when you're probably running yourself into trouble.

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    Last edited by Jasonwclark; February 11th, 2008 at 03:41 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max A K Challie View Post
    Something I've noticed is that knowledge destroys imagination. .... when you first found this site, there was a feeling. Or when you started playing a game of some sort?
    Not really , i find that being well informed can help you allot, general knollage has nothing to do with imagination , in fact imagination is fed by the amount of information you gather , just look at the pre-renaissance painters , that tried to paint creepy/fowl and horrific beings , but all they got is some funny very human like with wings like sticks and ppaper and they looked like krap. Then folowed the renaissance with all the study and ... you get it

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    Non-physicists know and like Feynman ... people, I have new respect for you.
    Feynman was truly awesome.


    What Swan wrote.
    The more I know, the more I know I need to learn. The more I know, the more vistas open up to me, the more I see that beyond that horizon is another, more tantalizing distance beckoning. What I know now is that I will never know enough, and where in my youth that was frustration, now it the most exciting kind of wonder.
    The more knowledge you have, the more bricks you have with which you can play.

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    Jasonwclark - I felt at the time of writing the title that it was pretty abrasive. I've found over time that when you think you know something, the opposite smacks you in the face. I've found it on forums, in ideas and philosophy, etc.

    It seems that modesty and being sucked into the subject rather than thinking about how well you're doing brings the most success. When I step back and wonder how good I am or how a piece of my work is, it falls apart.

    A few months ago, I was taught not to try to fix a problem in a painting, and only to criticize it when it is finished, because I would fiddle with it otherwise.

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    I think, that if you now know more about a subject, you can then turn that into a different kind of imagination.....or what I'd like to call messing with kids.

    Say when you were little, you thought there was a ghost in your house. Now, you know it's just a cold draft going under the door making those sounds. If you're baby-sitting or have a little bro or sis, you can use the knowledge of it being a draft to freak them out more. You could say "you'll know it's a ghost, when you get a cold rush of air around the room, letting you know that they're here.". you know, something like that.

    Lol, It sucks that I'm asian. I can't help it if I look like a million other people.

    My Sketchbook: Critics and Comments would be AWESOME.
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=69016
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    I'm wondering how the tribal/ancient people thought up some really imaginative creation stories and myths, it seems almost impossible for modern people to thought up something close to that.

    It seems to be related to this idea, are they imaginative because of the lack of knowledge?

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