By Lou Marinoff
The seven core ideas and convictions of the Ikeda Center are admirable, achievable, and interconnected. My work as a philosopher shares, embraces, and elaborates upon them all. Our intertwining paths have led to close and fruitful collaboration with President Ikeda and the Center during the past decade, culminating in its publication of a dialogue with Mr. Ikeda in 2012. Herein I will comment briefly on four of the Center’s seven core convictions.
First conviction: Dialogue is indeed a vital and indispensable modality of human interaction. Dialogue furthers mutual understanding, deepens human relations, and serves many purposes: educational, therapeutic, diplomatic, motivational, and revelatory, among others. Monologue leads us nowhere; dialogue takes us everywhere.
Second conviction: Humanistic education is a necessary cornerstone of 21st century global citizenship. Only by a thorough appreciation of the universal essence of humanity can people fully develop their own potential, and also co-exist harmoniously. The Humanities themselves are under siege of late, partly because too many leaders and educators have come to believe that technologies alone will solve our human problems. That view being misguided, we must work with renewed vigor to heighten awareness of global humanistic values, and their diverse expression through humanities and the arts.
Fifth conviction: It has long been my view that external conflicts are manifestations of internal ones, and on every scale, from interpersonal disputes to international wars. Thus, the only way to bring about lasting peace is to uproot conflict at its source: the human psyche. The transformation of human society depends ineluctably upon the transformation of individuals. It cannot be imposed from above; it must spring from the grassroots of every human heart and mind.
Seventh conviction: As a corollary of Shakyamuni’s Second Noble Truth (which identifies suffering as the result of ignorance of truths such as impermanence) the doctrine of the interdependence of all phenomena has been known for a long time, especially by Buddhists. Globalization, however, has made this doctrine palpable to billions of people. The transcendence of global economic forces over local political ones has obliged us all to understand that no-one exists in isolation. That we are all connected economically and technologically can further compassionate causes, but can also be exploited by unscrupulous ones (such as predatory capitalism). It follows that globalization must include a component that teaches and implements the ethics of interconnectedness. This is vital to the morally wholesome evolution of the global village.
On this auspicious occasion of its 20th anniversary, I extend to President Ikeda and everyone at the Ikeda Center my sincere congratulations and profound appreciation for your tireless devotion to all seven core ideas and convictions. I look forward to our continuing collaboration, and to celebrating your enduring success in decades to come.
Dr. Lou Marinof is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at The City College of New York. He is founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association and his bestseller Plato Not Prozac! has been translated into twenty-seven languages. In 2012, our Dialogue Path Press published his dialogue with Daisaku Ikeda, The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy's Transformative Power.