Transforming the Human Race

We can look back with a little space between us and the Twentieth Century now. And looking back, we can see that in the bloodiest century in human history…in a time period marked and defined by epic struggles of good versus evil, there are two men who stand head and shoulders above the rest, two real, undeniable and unsullied heroes. Now heroes are tricky, they are after all only human beings, just like the rest of us, and often have feet of clay. But the Twentieth brought us two undeniable heroes. Two men whose greatness, looking back, was not even in the acts that they did, though those were considerable. Whose impact reaches far, far beyond the number of people that they helped and affected, though those are innumerable. Two heroes whose lives have changed not just the course of history, though they undeniably did. The greatness of these two men, in many ways student and teacher, does not lie in just their actions, but in their world changing idea. An idea so radical to the previous history of the human race that I unreservedly hold them up as not just heroes of the Twentieth Century, but as two men who have changed undeniably for the better, and hopefully forever, all of humankind. For they have in a way, changed the very definition of good and evil.

Today we celebrate the birth of one of those men. And the idea that bound them together.

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must

love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate

begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we

shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

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“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

 

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Dr King is known for fighting racism, Ghandi for fighting imperialism. But it wasn’t what they fought and overcame that is the most important part of the story, it is the way they fought it.

Good versus evil is a struggle that has existed as long as humankind has existed. Before King and Ghandi, the forces of good and evil, when they found themselves in inevitable conflict, would assemble and array themselves across a battleplain and, on the orders of their leaders, rush together and begin to slaughter each other.

The forces of “Good” would attempt to slaughter and maim and destroy as many of the forces of “Evil” as possible. So it had gone for all of human history.

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King

Mahatma Ghandi gave a lesson to the entire world, and Dr. King applied that lesson, forever proving its worth and effectiveness: You do not have to kill the enemies of good for good to triumph. You do not have to slaughter one group of humans to free another group. You do not have to kill for freedom and justice to triumph. There IS another way.

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

Martin Luther King

Both men achieved much in their short and violently ended lifetimes, but this is far and away their greatest achievement. One that has transformed the way we think about change, about justice, and about how to achieve them. These two men have transformed the human race forever. They have brought the lesson of nonviolent change, it is up to us now to bring their lesson into the Twenty-first Century and to continue the fight that they started. The fight for justice and equality and peace through non-violent means.

Let’s hope that we can learn their lesson and carry on their work, and let us not forget the gift that they were able to bring to all humankinkind.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

Martin Luther King


“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

Martin Luther King

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

78 comments

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  1. Photobucket

  2. “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”

    Martin Luther King

    • Edger on January 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Transform the whole human race???

    You don’t ask for much, do you?

    Is it ok if we do this, like… one person at a time, boss?

    • Viet71 on January 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    how non-violence can work to effect change today.

    Those who opposed King had faces.  We saw those faces on TV.

    The enemies of the American people today — and I mean the enemies right here in the Homeland — are faceless, by and large, and beyond confrontation.

    They work in corporate suites and live behind walls and, just like George W. Bush, don’t give a fuck what the American people think or want.

    As much as I see the truth in King’s approach, I believe although it worked 40 years ago, it but couldn’t work to effect the changes needed today.

    How do you protest effectively against Exxon and Halliburton?  

    • Robyn on January 21, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    …new story.

    When can I go up with my own piece about the day?

    Robyn

    • kj on January 21, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

    Martin Luther King

  3. reviewed here,  Nick Henck argues:

    Finally, I would argue that Subcommander Marcos represents the most advanced stage so far in the evolution of the revolutionary — a Homo sapiens in a world fo Neanderthals.  (367)

    the transformation of the human race?

  4. …I wish, when I was young and learning about these things, the word “expedience” had been used more, and “evil” less…

  5. he was. One of the timeless heroes of truth and love. Sadly in these days his words and actions are more relevant then ever. I am proud to have lived when he was here. His message is the answer to the darkness we have allowed to envelop our nation. While we argue identity/reality politics, national interests and winning our various wars we need to remember that evil is never insurmountable or reality, but can be overcome. Peace.

    “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

    Martin Luther King          

  6. shattering impact that they literally changed the way we viewed both the world, our lives, aand the very meaning and purpose for outr existence.

    In 1964 I was struck by the lightning bolt of one of those moments.  It was triggered by the murder of a young woman Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York.  She died at after midnight on her own street because her neighbours closed their eyes, shut their eyes and turned their heads away, leaving her to bleed to death from stab wounds in a dark hallway of her building.

    I was a new  wife, a young mother, alrready anxious over the political fears and fallout from the Cuban missile crisis, wondering if there would be a world in which i could bring my son up safely to manhood.  I was a product, as was my husband, of the bitter conflicts of WW2 and the Iron Curtain, both in a sense exiles, he as a refugee, me voluntarily because my ancestors had come to America before the Revolutionary War and i always considered myself to be both British and American. I was descended from Scottish warriors and feudal servants in Great Britain. In America I was descended from slave holders. I gave little thought to the past, I was pre-occupied with the future.

    But that night when Kitty Genovese died I suddenly saw my path illuminated  stretching into a future I could only imagine.  Very soon the dreadful assassination of the king of Camelot changed many other people too. Soon to lead to the death of many of our dreams and the twilight soon dimmed the brighness of the day into dark night.  The dogs of war were again howling in the abyss.

    But I clung to my dream of the true meaning of equality for all, and saw that through writing, making documentary films, communicating via radio, using the powerful new medium of television would help me to transform the world of Martin Luther king’s legacy into some small semblamce of reality. I may only be the size of a grain of sand but i sure learned how to irritate.

    My marriage did nto survive the stress of those bad times but my faith in myself and my purpose did.  I traveled to work in Africa, in India, in the Aboriginal reservations of Australia, to the West Indies, i was in Johannesburg when Nelson Mandela walked free. I am proud to say that I never gave up.  I am also proud to say that I never will.

    I believe that we are at another of those transformational moments of history when either a woman or a black man can help lead us back to the dawn of a better day and help us be better people.  We sell ourselves and our future short if we  do not respect that possibility through going back to the hatred and intolerance that led to the death of Kitty Genovese more than forty years ago.

    I am deeply saddened at the rising tide of generational, gender and racial intolerance that is beginning to permeate the polticical arena. In the end we are all responsible for what has been and what will come.

    We must be our brothers and sisters keepers and we must extend that accountability and rwponsibility on a global level. We are all connected.      

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