This excerpt of Martin Luther King speaking (in 1967) provides a wonderful example of how he was a systems thinker. Here he discusses the interconnected nature of reality, the foolishness of war and the interdependence that binds the human family together…
“Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete… If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional.
No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world… and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools…
Yes, as nations and individuals we are interdependent. It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.
Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander.
You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese.
Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured in your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker.
And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, it is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality…”