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 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.

SUPPORTING DAISAKU IKEDA QUOTES

I contend that the key to such an endeavor [of dialogue] is 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. Crucial here is the poet’s unshakable optimism and faith in the inherent goodness of human beings. I was convinced it was necessary, more than ever, that we restore the poetic heart for the benefit of all humankind. (2009)

The bard’s role is to serve as what my friend Vincent Harding has called the “midwife” who assists people in bringing forth their true humanity. The poet’s special gift of creativity and imagination touches people's lives, inspiring them to fully realize their potential while strengthening their bonds with others. (2009)

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