5 Philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King Outside of Racism

I remember today as clear as back then, watching it all play out on the black and white TV screen. I was just 5 years old and at that time I didn’t understand the implications of what I was watching but I surely felt the vibe. It was the funeral procession of one of  21st centuries greatest humanitarian leaders - Dr. Martin Luther King - a man who would be a mentor for me for the rest of my life. Dr. King brought many great wisdoms forward with such an eloquent flare for speech, it reached out and consumed a span of cultures, religions and ethnicities to united them for a common cause. I don’t know what happened to us though, well over 40 years later a lot of the man’s practical wisdoms are still needed to be put into place and the consequences of not listening to his sound advice has left a gloriously diverse and talented  nation divided and struggling.

Dr. King was a man of justice. His philosophies encompassed the understanding that for all of us to have peace we all need to take personal responsibilities to ensure it, not only for ourselves but for our brethren as well, because we are all one! We all stand together or we all eventually stumble - together- as we are today! Here are 4 philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King that encompassed these ideals which we need to focus on today in order to ensure peace for ourselves, our families and those around us.

1) Question Capitalism!

 “In a letter to his soon-to-be-wife, Coretta Scott, he wrote, “I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human system it [fell] victim to the very thing it was revolting against. ...”

Man I could write an entire article on this subject alone, with the human cost that is attached to the price tags of most of our daily purchases. Not just high end labels like most people think  but your bargain brands in your favorite stores like Walmart. The lowest price is lawless! Slavery is more prevalent today than it ever was and not any less cruel or harsh either. In addition we have allowed large corporations to alter our foods,  toss out families from their lands in large land grabs and mortgage scams. We are faced with gigantic climatic changes resulting in devastatingly temperamental outbursts and at the back end, leaving us with a growing problem of toxic waste with additional devastating environmental impacts. Worse than this is hits home for us all... we have allowed capitalism to tell us who we are. We struggle daily with our media fed illusions of what it is to be attractive, wanted, employable, worthy and so forth. The problem is that consumerism needs to change it’s game on a regular basis in order to continually recreate purchasing desire. The clothes of yesterday that made you feel like you belonged ... well ..today they state you inability to keep up! 

We buy compulsively in order to keep up with the feel-good messages that are fed to us in the media. We do things not necessarily on the up and up in order to keep ourselves looking on top of  our game. The media has us running so fast, making decisions we wouldn’t had made had we took the time to actually slow ourselves down in the first place. So QUESTION CAPITALISM!. Question the motives! Question who benefits! And while you are at it... question why you think you are not worthy enough to stand on your own merits and  why a corporation who doesn’t know you or even care about you  for that matter has you running like a puppet on a string?

2) Foster Critical Thinking!

“ To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose... “ Dr Martin Luther King

Which leads right into the second teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King... discernment! Because that is what critical thinking is, learning to discern... reflective reasoning about beliefs and actions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. We understand that truth and knowledge is power but we rarely take the time to seek the truth. Yet it is within this  understanding of truth being power that we can exchange violence for the power of reasoning. Where we do not blindly accepting carefully spun PR spins lacking greatly in delivering results that are our own personal best interests.

Technically critical thinking should be part of the school curriculum but never assume it is. If you are a parent... teach your children well. It requires slowing things down a little in order to think and reflect. I don’t know about you but I sure have too many instances in my own life where I should have slowed my rear end down and thought before I acted. Consumerism does this to us all... it conditions us to be spontaneous, to run the wheel of the rat race 24/7 at a fast pace in order  to stay ahead - where critical thinking opposes this all and asks us to stop for a moment, think and ultimately save ourselves a considerable amount of lost time and grief!

3) Vocally Oppose War!

King pointed out that the U.S. military well over 40 years ago spent half a million dollars for every Vietnam soldier it killed, while only spending $53 on each American living in poverty 

Staggering numbers when you consider the economics of the 60’s... which pale in comparison with the numbers of today: Global military spending of $1630 Billion annually and 41 % of this number is owned by the USA! Back in the 60’s , during the Vietnam War era  people were well aware that corporate profiteering was a main motivation in waging war. Nothing has changed today!  So speak up! It is in the silence and inaction that has allowed things to get so far out of hand by a few costing the lives of so many!

4) Commit To Non-Violence

“It is not a method of stagnant passivity and deadening complacency… This method is non aggressive physically but strongly aggressive spiritually.” Dr. Martin Luther King

Finally and this is a great follow up from a call to being vocal and causing action. Make sure it is affirmative action! You can’t answer violence with violence - the flames will only get higher. Violence in an energy, a vibe with momentum. It has no resolutions in it. It does not discriminate and like a plague that if given opportunity, swallows the entire body until it is all but a dried up carcass. America is consumed in violence. The children of America systematically get desensitized to it on a daily basis compliments of  the media sources: video games, internet, music, television, movies and so on. Then we wonder why we see the prevalence of violence acts as school shootings and other outbursts in our children. Well because we were so busy chasing that dollar to buy the goods to bring joy and self esteem to our loved ones (as capitalism has taught us) that we had little alternative but to place them in front of our capitalistic baby sitters (the media)... who are pruning and gleaning our children for the inevitability of violent confrontation in war games! Transferring the on screen games of today to the real life battlefields on foreign lands tomorrow. Man we don’t even question this. Maybe it is time we started. Time to do a little critical thinking .. a little questioning. .. and a little resolving.

These philosophies of Dr. King are very relevant today! He left these teachings for you to live by as well because he cared about his brethren. Those footsteps are ultimately the way it is supposed to be you know. Us looking out for each other. So if you have the time -  take a moment to reason with yourself what Dr. King was saying, and what he gave his life up for! In those moments of reflection give thanks for a mans dedication towards the betterment of us all!