Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr.
What does that mean?
To me, this quote is about a fundamental truth of the universe, and the corresponding relationship in the human heart. It starts out stating the obvious. Darkness is a lack of light. More darkness cannot make it less dark, which is something only bringing light can accomplish.
Similarly, the quote tells us that hate cannot drive hate from your heart or the hearts of others. The only thing which can do that, according to the quote, is love. While the analogy breaks down a little with hate not being exactly equal to the absence of love, the premise is spot on.
In the end, hate will continue if left unopposed. The question is how to best oppose it. The quote states what I believe is one of the best and simplest methods. While no method is fool-proof or without risk, it is the best and most effective method I have seen or experienced.
Why is bringing love to fight hatred important?
If you’re going to try to drive out hate, you need to bring the love. It won’t be pleasant, but it’s the truth. Bringing the love doesn’t mean you believe as they do, or even that you like them. It simply means that you consider the human bond to be stronger than their hate.
If you match them hate for hate, the world will not be a better place for your effort. What little satisfaction you gain will be temporary at best, and will eventually be to the determent of everyone. That’s neither a good plan, nor is it much of a legacy for our children to inherit, a world filled with more hate than ever.
It is my belief that most hatred is based on inaccurate information, or on stories told about injustices of old. The hate can only be kept alive if the recipients of the hate act according to the script. The most disruptive thing we can do to the script is to show them love and compassion, and blow the narrative apart. Are you willing to try?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I would hope you would use this any time you felt hatred towards another, and also in response to anyone who showed hatred towards you. I would also hope you would apply it both to personal issues, as well as larger group issues, whether they are based on race, creed, religion, affiliation or any other aggregation.
In High School, I got a lot of grief because I was the exact model of a geek. I was a tall, skinny, glasses wearing, acne faced geek. I was even involved with the Chess Club (although not good enough to make the team) and a competitor in the Math Club.
I didn’t know about this quote back then, so I learned to ignore the haters instead of learning to feel compassion and love towards them. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference for them, as rational thought and teen aged boys aren’t always the closest of friends. But it would have helped me.
Where in your life are there haters, and what is it that they hate? Sometimes hate can be based on group rivalries (High Schools are really bad about that – nerds vs jocks, as an example). Other times it’s more specific to you as a person (romantic rivals or bullies come to mind).
However, even if you know that it won’t work on them, that’s still OK. The exercise is for you, not for them. Whether it is a hatred of them directly, or a hatred in return for their hatred, nothing will change until you can set your hate aside.
As with most things in life, you have no control over the other person. Once you realize that fact, this quote becomes an exercise of strengthening yourself, and of overcoming your own hatred, anger, and resentment. How much better would your life be if you could accomplish that?
Even if you never get to the point where hatred no longer exists within you, nor could any action stir it, I believe that it is a laudable goal. I believe the journey, however poorly we manage it, is a worthy effort. Even if it only reduces the hate on the planet by one person, it has proven valuable to all humanity.
And if, like the author of the quote, you can live this way and inspire others by your actions, then you will have accomplished far more than any law against hate. You will have lived it, and helped others to recognize the value of it. And that is truly a noble deed.
From: Twitter, @elimin8prejudic
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth101472.html
Photo by Skley
Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King, Jr, born 15 January, 1929.