Monday, January 19, 2009

Simple as Black and White

Black and White, Jebenhausen, Germany, January 2009, Nikon D40 with 18-200mm VR lens, Focal length 18mm, Exposure 1/250 sec @ f8.0, ISO 200, exposure bias -2/3 stop, no flash, circular polarizing filter, heavily post-processed in iPhoto © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

On MLK day, I thought a black and white photo was appropriate. Simply because of its integration into the whole picture. You cannot have one without the other. We are all brothers and sisters. We've learned enough in the past 40 years to reinforce the value of diversity. In our food, in our economy (and our stock portfolios), and in our species. Without diversity, you *will* die. That is just Nature's way, and our guarantee for change and growth through evolution.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that. And what was most beautiful about this person -- in my mind -- was that he held the strongest of convictions along side of the notion of non-violence. Imagine where we would be today if MLK had taken the path of the Black Panthers. Does anyone really believe we would have achieved more than we, as a nation, has achieved to date?

Non-violence is such a sophisticated and powerful approach. And in the end, it is the only strategy, I believe, that can unite us. And in the end, this is what we need. A recognition that we are not alone, not isolated, but together, and united, and whole.

MLK, as so many luminaries, gave his life for his beliefs and his convictions. We certainly owe him a debt of gratitude and honor, for helping to light the candle and not curse the darkness, and for showing us the way.


Pat said...

I listened to MLK's "I have a dream" speech again today, and am impressed again not only with his call to nonviolence, but also his call to insistence and soul strength. There is a world of difference between nonviolence and passivity, it seems.

Steven Crisp said...

I completely agree. HIs was a call to action, one might say a call to arms, but they would have to use those arms to hug their oppressor.

And I too love his "I have a dream" speech. Just take a look at this excerpt to reinforce your point:

" ... But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone."

Can you imagine that power, that conviction, that *true* leadership applied to many of our ongoing conflicts? Can you imagine those words spoken in the Middle East, for example? It's not that hard. May some wise, brave, charismatic leader emerge with a vision, built on the foundation of non-violence.

Thanks for the visit, Pat.

Avantika said...

I saw his speech again too. I loved the part in which he says something like - 'The bank of justice cannot become bankrupt.' Reminds me of another speech by another person who has said this country cannot afford to have an empathy deficit.
All very powerful words.

Steven Crisp said...

Hello Avantika,

Yes, these are the leaders we need -- the visionary, the principled, the inspirational.

But like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi, they need not be elected leaders. The will lead by their message. By the truth in it. By the justice in it. And by the wisdom in it.

May others arise and have their voices heard.