In 2011 the monument to Martin Luther King, Jr, on
the mall in Washington, DC, was completed. His presence has now been
added for posterity along with Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin D Roosevelt, and others.
I am often downtown. This last week I took the opportunity to visit
this monument along with Albert Einstein’s and be moved by their power
and grace. They are quite different.
The statue of King is majestic. His face takes on different qualities
depending upon the perspective from which you view it. He literally
emerges from the rock he is carved from, conveying power and authority.
The quotes on the surrounding walls are excellent examples of his
are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single
garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all
truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This
is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive
out hate, only love can do that.”
Einstein, by contrast, sits rather than stands. His
clothes are rumpled. He is encircled by trees in a garden, darkened by
the shade. Rather than bright white granite he is daubed together by
what look like individually placed pieces of dark brass, which seem to
absorb light rather than provide it. At his feet is the sky. He is
clearly in repose with one of his feet lying on its side.
Einstein’s brilliance was best expressed through his formulae,
writings, conversations, and lectures rather than large scale public
oratory. His unique way of looking at the world was typified by his
relaxed appearance, and yet he changed the world profoundly nonetheless.
King’s statue is large and the best one can hope for in terms of
contact is to walk up to its base and touch the raw rock from which the
man is carved. Einstein’s statue is much more accessible – children
often climb on it and I have seen more than one adult pose in
Einstein’s lap for a picture!
Living inside the beltway in the Washington DC metro area affords me
with the opportunity to regularly visit places that inspire with
dramatic impact. But, I also take advantage of inspirational resources
that are even closer to home by going for walks with my dog, Betsy, and
admiring her behavior. Or regularly jogging along the C&O canal to
watch the seasons change. I even enjoy the rain, sleet, and snow when
it comes my way (as long as I am dressed for it).
When I was a child my father took me camping regularly.
The two of us went on many journeys into the wilderness, had long talks
that changed my life and exposed me to the interiors of his thinking
through the warmth of his fathering. He never shirked from inclement
weather and passed that along to me as a treasure I hold dear.
I remember one of our last forays up in the mountains of Tennessee
where he now resides, hiking high over rocks amidst the clouds. A storm
moved in right where we were climbing. The mists swirling around us
became surreal. We did not turn back, but instead took in the
breathtaking artistry of nature. I felt the enormity of his presence in
my life, soul to soul, brought into sharp contrast by the spectacular
display of wind and sky only witnessed by us two.
Where do you go for inspiration? What carries your soul and causes you
to look with different eyes upon the world? How will you lift yourself
today? By elevating your mind and perspective, you will change
the quality of your actions and alter history in the process.
We are caught in
an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of
destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.