Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that…. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thanks. It’s always nice to have another reminder of King’s wisdom and his skill as a communicator.
I was meditating on this while watching the bright snow fall from the grey New England sky. It’s hard to know where you are in the snow sometimes, because the features are all covered with a perfect white.
Yet though his imagery gives us strength, I am reminded of Camus from an essay perhaps 15 years earlier:
“Il n’y a pas de soleil sans ombre, et il faut connaître la nuit.” There is no sun without shadow, and is is essential to know the night.
Evil is manifestly evil, but I wonder if it helps us to understand the landscape and texture of the good and of the moral. Darkness helps us to understand when we are truly moving toward the light, or when we are simply misled by the spectral highlights of a shiny mirror, or the glare from a cheap chrome toy made of inferior material.
King’s death was surely evil, but we can learn lessons from that dark shadow also.