Martin Luther King Jr. and His Cosmology of Connection

January 20, 2014 | By Cassie Stiftl

Martin Luther King Junior

We are all familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring work for civil rights, his "I Have a Dream" speech, and the March on Washington. However, there is much more to his work than just what we typically celebrate.

According to writer Drew Dellinger, Martin Luther King Jr. developed a cosmology of connectedness—connecting racism, poverty, and war, and recognizing the interwoven nature of the universe and the connectedness of all peoples and movements—that was unique for its time. Dellinger says, “King identified systemic links between social justice issues that were largely viewed as separate, fusing them into a unified critique that fundamentally challenged the modern system.”

All Life is Interconnected 

Dellinger looks at many of King's speeches, sermons, and writings showing that King's worldview is one of oneness, interconnectedness, and interdependence. Here are some powerful quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrating this worldview:

  • "If we are to have peace on earth, we must have a world perspective."
  • "It all boils down to this: that all life is interrelated."
  • "We must see that whatever diminishes the poor diminishes everybody else. And the salvation of the poor will mean the salvation of the whole nation. For we're all tied together in an inescapable network of mutuality. We are tied in a single garment of destiny."
  • "The Universe is on the side of justice."
  • "We have cosmic companionship when we stand up for righteousness."
  • "It would be foolhardy for me to be concerned about integration and not be concerned about the survival of the world in which to be integrated."

Having the Resolve to Not be Stopped

In addition to his interconnected worldview, Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't let anything stop him from working toward his vision—not even the dangers associated with his work, not even the fact that there were so many obstacles to overcome—nothing. This is the kind of resolve that is necessary to creating system-wide change.

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