Education & Philosophy, Hope

Core Conviction: The Power of Imagination

Ikeda Center Core Conviction Six

The Poetic Power of the Imagination Calls Forth Our Highest Potential

A key aspect of Daisaku Ikeda’s philosophy is his insistence that there is an aesthetic dimension to ethical behavior. This conviction, which has roots in the worldview espoused by the 19th-century Romantic poets and philosophers and which also resonates with Deweyan thought, runs headlong into the contemporary instinct to seek mechanistic solutions to problems of every kind: Education is best measured by test data; every illness has a chemical solution; environmental problems require an engineering of nature as opposed to a change of behavior. For Ikeda, the problems facing our world, including those relating to what has been called “the clash of civilizations,” depend for solutions on “the poetic power of the imagination, that which compels the poet to create portals of hope and discover entranceways for exchange in the massive walls that divide our world.” Poetic endeavors, by their very nature, not only express reverence for life and its mysteries but also help us to realize our potential as creative, compassionate, and discerning beings.

The poet creates portals of hope and discovers entranceways for exchange in the massive walls that divide our world.

Daisaku Ikeda, On the publication of Creating Waldens, 2009