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[VIDEO] Two Visionary Icons: Martin Luther King Jr. & Gandhi

January 21, 2013 | By Dina Buck

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes. -Mahatma Gandhi

We live in a world where aggression; racism and xenophobia; socio-economic gulfs; and "us vs. them" thinking remain commonplace.  At the same time that globalization and technologies like the Internet seem to promise increased awareness of our shared humanity, human behavior around the globe too often demonstrates that we find our differences scary and intolerable, continue to think it's okay for some of us to experience vastly more rights and privileges than others, and believe violence is often necessary and justified to affect the changes we wish to see.

And so, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we can turn to the man himself, and one of his great influences, Mahatma Gandhi, to see that, truly, it is possible for us to choose differently.  Neither one of them could stop themselves from resisting racism and injustice.  They stood up to it, passionately, but that passion never turned into hatred or an excuse for violence.  They showed us that one can protest injustice, and still live in love and compassion.  And they showed us that, when we commit to nonviolence, practice nonviolence, insist on peace, there can be enormous influence in this.

King, in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech said, " I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up."  In honor of MLK Day, consider turning this into day into an other-centered day and give service to your community, or lend support to someone you know, or a cause you believe in.

Read King's most famous works (truly inspiring!):

Learn more about the extraordinary man Gandhi was:

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