Monday, January 10, 2011
DREAMER BY CHARLES JOHNSON
Dreamer is the only novel (to my knowledge) in American literature that explores King's life and his philosophical vision. During his 14-year public ministry he was the nation's preacher, this country's most prominent moral philosopher, and its most influential private citizen.
In Dreamer, I isolate the main ethical points of his vision for attaining the "beloved community," and list them as (1) Nonviolence, not merely as a strategy for protest, but as a Way, a daily practice; (2) Agape, the ability to love unconditionally, a teleological love that sees beneath a a thing or person's surface to its potential; and (3) Integration as the life's blood of Being itself.
Then I use three words to sum this up: "Others first. Always."
Although he only lived for 39 years, it seems to me that King's life and vision are capacious and rich---as well as historically important enough---for many, many imaginative novels.
Posted by Ethelbert Miller at 8:15 AM