Cosmic Ruminations: The Creative Imagination, Imagined Experience, and the Lure of Distant Horizons

  • Saundra Tara Weiss
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 119)


This paper discusses the role of the creative imagination in the work of the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein and the daring artistic composition, Two Men Contemplating the Moon (circa 1830) of the German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich. It explores the different ways in which the creative imagination is used to explore singular (and even extraordinary) ideas about objects and phenomena that lie beyond the visible and, at times, even what seems the conceivable. Einstein’s use of creative imagination in his theoretical constructions, especially his brilliant use of “thought experiments” and “creative description” to limn new possibilities in theoretical physics are explored. As is the profoundly original visual artist Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon that had the consequence of fracturing the existing notions of landscape art; reshaping them and then extending creative pictorial representation so as to achieve a closer approximation as to how the most distant horizons of the universe truly appear. Such imaginative feats serve as stepping stones for new intellectual advances that enable truly visionary thinkers and artists to re-frame how we conceive of the Cosmos.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Albert Einstein


Theoretical physics and romantic landscape painting Einstein and Caspar David Friedrich The creative imagination Cosmic ruminations The lure of distant horizons Imaginary theoretical constructions in art and science 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English Department, Kingsborough Community CollegeCity University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

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