For the past two years I’ve shared Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes that have inspired me. Here are three more, plus one from Coretta Scott King. (See other quotes here: 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020.)
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Anytime that an argument can be made to withhold someone’s rights, that same argument can be made across the board for anyone else.
If you can dehumanize someone based on some arbitrary criteria, that same criteria can be used again and again.
I think that often people can’t see that because their own prejudices and fears prevent them from identifying with those who are being marginalized. Or they think siding with an oppressor will protect them. History has shown us that it won’t.
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Being a bystander to cruelty does not absolve anyone. If you watch something go down and do nothing at all, that implies complicity. This doesn’t have to just be about larger issues of evil actions. It can also be as “simple” as being in an environment (family, friends, work, etc.) where there are cruel actions perpetrated against others. Silence = consent.
This can be difficult to accept for those who want to feel like they’re “good people” and yet, they are wiling to rationalize and explain away cruel acts. No one is let anyone off the hook. There are no detached observers in this scenario. This leads a person to ask themselves, what am I willing to ignore? And can I still claim “moral high ground” if I turn away from actions that are reprehensible?
“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.”
Science and religion don’t have to be enemies. One is not a threat to the other. This is a refreshing outlook that is (unfortunately) not emphasized enough in the current climate. You can have belief in the unseen and belief in facts. Critical thinking (and perhaps a well-rounded worldview) can allow both things to exist.
Having a closed mind shuts down opportunities and closes you experiencing new things. There’s no need to fear other viewpoints. I think people who are always in fear are usually not secure about what they believe. They find safety in small thinking and that’s not any way to be (particularly if you’re entrepreneurial). Growth can only happen if you’re willing to be open.
“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”
This may seem like a pessimistic quote. But it really isn’t. Every generation has its challenges. Anyone familiar with history knows that. Humans evolve and grow and with growth will always come challenges and battles and things to be overcome.
What the quote says to me is, never be complacent. Complacency is stagnation. Every new challenge must be met, and through that process we become more than we were before. Through challenges we evolve.