Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Love, Power and Nietzsche: Perspectives from Dr. King

Where have all the thinking people gone?...


So, working on my group's death penalty abolition and restorative justice journal.  I like to fill empty space in the journal with quotes.  In my search for quotes, I went back to "Where Do We Go from Here?: Chaos Or Community?" by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King is invariably a good source of quotes that aren't empty LOLcat-type blurbs, but actually mean something.

While glancing through it I hit the most wonderful quote.  It made me want to share it with the world, so here it is:

“Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice. One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, the philosopher of the "will to power," to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject Nietzsche's philosophy of the "will to power" in the name of the Christian idea of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” 

- Dr. King, "Where Do We Go from Here?: Chaos or Community?"

Where did all the people who think this way go?  It's subtle, it's meaningful, and I think he's right.  Not many people would connect Nietzsche to the Christian concept of love.

Really, really smart man.

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