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Martin Luther King on the Primacy of Idea over Material

Photo credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel via Unsplash.

I hope you are enjoying a meaningful Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s a necessary effort to stop oneself from longing too much for the great men and women of the past, even just the past century. In today’s public life, our own powerful people seem so small by comparison. King’s greatness extended beyond civil rights and racial equality. He also thought deeply about the nature of reality. A new brief video from Discovery Institute notes his reflection on the design behind nature:

He cited physicist James Jeans (1877-1946), a philosophical idealist, in an address delivered in 1934 and published in Jeans’s book Physics and Philosophy. The larger quotation from Jeans is: 

I incline to the idealistic theory that consciousness is fundamental, and that the material universe is derivative from consciousness, not consciousness from the material universe… In general the universe seems to me to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine.

It’s a beautiful idea — and the primacy of idea over material fits well with Dr. King’s advocacy, unfashionable today, of character over skin color. Enjoy the video and please consider sharing it widely.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



charactercivil rightsconsciousnessDiscovery Instituteintelligent designJames JeansMartin Luther King Jr.Martin Luther King Jr. DayNaturephilosophical idealismPhysics and Philosophyracial equalityskin coloruniverse