Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts

Thoughts on Conviction 7:
"Interdependence Forms the Crux of the 21st Century Worldview"

By Stephen Gould

Each of the Ikeda Center “Core Convictions” stands alone and each one is important and powerful in its own right. However, I prefer to internalize these seven convictions as a cohesive, interdependent whole, because together they are greater than the sum of their parts. I wonder what the world could be like if all individuals chose to live by these seven core convictions. Would human nature change or do these core ideas represent human nature before we lost our way?

"What a wonderful world it would be," if we committed to understanding some essential things: interdependence versus competition; dialogue rather than war; respect and support as opposed to castigation and marginalization; imagination rather than replication; the embrace of the potential in others for good rather than the creation of protective walls of mistrust; reform of self before focusing on others. As a humanist educator, I reflect on these core convictions regularly and try to shape my behavior accordingly. I try to be the change I want to see. I find consolation that there are others whose behavior is also guided by these convictions. Committed to these convictions as individuals and as a community we can make the world a better place.


Dr. Stephen Gould is an assistant professor at Lesley University, where he runs the Educational Leadership Program, in which practicing K-12 school leaders pursue doctorates in educational studies. In addition to his more than 30 years experience as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, Dr. Gould has worked as a musician, songwriter, and composer of film scores.

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