Many famous thinkers have actively contributed to the betterment of society from various spheres of influence. It is imperative to point out that these thinkers have lived in different periods. Their contributions to the society reflect issues affecting the society in different ways. Some of the areas these thinkers have actively contributed to include; religion, slavery, civil rights, health issues, peace and racism. This paper discusses the contributions made to society, by Dr. Martin Luther King and Andrew Cohen.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on 15 January 1929. He was given the name Michael Luther King Jr. but decided to change his first name from Michael to Martin. Martin Luther grew up in a religious family. His grandfather began the family’s tenure of pastor hood at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta. Like His father and his grandfather before him, he too was a minister in the church. This shows that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. life was shaped by strong Christian values as he grew up. It is also imperative to mention that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. schooled in segregated public schools located in Georgia. He acquired his B.A degree from Morehouse College that was a Negro college in Atlanta. His father and grandfather had also graduated from the same institution. Schooling in segregated schools influenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. life because the schools exposed him to racial discrimination (King Jr., & Street, 2005).
The political atmosphere that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in was highly segregated in that whites were the only people who were allowed to occupy political positions. African Americans were denied the opportunity to participate in any political matter. The whites looked down upon the African Americans in every aspect.
All the above factors contributed to the creativity of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in different ways. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contributed to the society as a civil rights activist who was against racism, slavery, and poor pay and living conditions. His upbringing in a Christian family helped him acquire Christian values that helped him become creative in handling issues that affected people within the society. Despite the environmental challenges, he considered all people equal before God. His childhood in political, educational, social racist and segregated environments helped him become creative by enabling him to learn the best ways of addressing the most pertinent issues in society. Education also aided him to be articulate when addressing crowds on different issues and challenges affecting his society. The environment played a vital role in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. creativity since all his contribution to the society ranging from racism to poor living conditions were influenced by both the environment he grew up in and the environment he came into contact with when contributing to the society as an adult (King Jr., & Street, 2005).
Andrew Cohen was born on 23 October 1955, in New York. His family was an upper middle class household. Despite the fact that Cohen became a spiritual teacher, the family he grew up in was secular. He was educated in good schools because his family could afford to pay for it. The social life that Andrew Cohen grew up in was of a secular nature and contributed to his creativity judging from the fact that he is an independent thinker. The political environment he has lived in has influenced his creativity in the sense that it allows individuals to develop their own thinking as long as it is within the law applied in the society. The political system of the US, since the birth of Andrew Cohen, does not interfere with individuals’ development as thinkers because it provides freedom of expression (Cohen, 2010).
Andrew Cohen has creatively developed insights as a thinker because the personal, social and political environments have allowed him the freedom to do that. Despite the secular exposure from his family, his passion for spirit developed when he was sixteen years old. This was after a spontaneous revelation of cosmic consciousness exposed him to a different dimension of life. His parents did not interfere with his decision. The social and political environments have also helped him develop his creativity by providing freedom of expression and decision making as seen in his decision to become a musician and later becoming a teacher (Cohen, 2010).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contributed in many different ways to the society. First, he provided the much-needed leadership to the African American society. He led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as well as. He provided leadership matching to Montgomery fighting for the African American right to vote. He also organized a rally at Mason Temple to address blacks and encourage them to fight for their rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on behalf of the African Americans against racial discrimination, meagre wages and poor working conditions among other issues. His leadership, in these issues, culminated in the reforms leading to equality between African Americans and whites. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was renowned for his civil rights activism. He was the activist of peace and justice in respect to the Vietnamese War. He argued against capitalism and communism that concentrated on object-oriented society to a person-centered society. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. actively fought for the equal treatment of all human beings irrespective of color or the position they occupied in the society. His ideologies also sought to solve the problems of racial discrimination, poor conditions of living, individual freedoms, political representation and peace issues (King Jr., 1992).
Andrew Cohen has contributed to the society as a spiritual teacher. He has dedicated his contribution to changing the cultural view of the purpose and importance of spiritual enlightenment. In his work, as a spiritual leader, Cohen has been able to unite leading thinkers including materialists, philosophers, mystics and psychologists through synthesizing contemporary spiritual truths found in the East and the West. Cohen has created a new environment for understanding and appreciating enlightenment as a human imperative that is evolutionary. He has integrated different visionaries including Don Beck and Ken Wilber in order to define and create an understanding of a thought culture that puts spiritual transformation at the core of the transforming world. As a thinker, Andrew Cohen has tried to solve the problem of spiritual individualism, in a world that is integrated in other aspects of life and constantly transforming. Andrew Cohen has integrated the thought processes involved in spiritualism in order to create a different spiritual, but integrative world (Cohen & Wilber, 2009).
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s solutions and creative processes to the problems that faced the society then were implemented through civil rights movements. He actively pushed for reforms in the education, social and political spheres of life. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participated in protest marches and demonstrations that included members of the African American society. This was the only way the issues he was advocating for would be heard (King Jr., 1992).
On the other hand, Andrew Cohen has addressed and implemented his ideologies through writings and teaching. He has written about human consciousness in the field of evolutionary spirituality. He is widely known for his EnlighenNext magazine among other writings. Cohen has integrated other thinkers and philosophers, such as Don Boek and Ken Wilber, to add on to his contributions. He has conducted his teachings in different parts of the world to inform people about his ideology (Cohen & Wilber, 2009).
These two thinkers have engaged people who shared their opinion and ideologies. Andrew Cohen has engaged people like ken Wilber and Don Beck while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. engaged people like J.F Kennedy on the push for equal rights. This shows that they gave an audience to the contribution of other persons who had or have similar ideologies to their contributions to the society
However, they also differ in their way of implementing their ideologies. While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose to actively implement his ideologies through protests and demonstrations, Andrew Cohen chooses to implement his ideologies through writings and teaching.
The creative processes of the two thinkers reflect on the importance and the magnitude of the issues under their sphere of influence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s creative process was required because of the sensitivity of the issues he addressed and the environmental states then. His ideologies were meant to push for a change of system. On the other hand, Andrew Cohen chooses his means since the issues he is addresses are more of personal choice than the whole society. This means that his methods are meant to convince individuals to take action, as opposed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that required the whole society to take action.
The ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King were excellent just like Cohen’s but the ideas have shortfalls. Andrew Cohen’s ideologies are about spirituality meaning that they are of personal interest. The shortfall of his spiritual ideologies is that they only integrate issues from the East and from the West. It would have been more effective if Cohen would engage other spiritual groups all over the world before considering a final ideology to present to his audiences. On the other hand Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s ideologies were excellent but they were heavily inclined in favor of African Americans. He probably would have been more inclusive to other races and persons who were segregated and suffered similar challanges.
Cohen, A. & Wilber, K. (2009). Freedom in the face of Fear. EnlightenNext, 44(8): 44, 46-52.
Cohen, A. (2010). The Evolution of Enlightenment: An introduction to the philosophy and vision of Andrew Cohen. Retrieved from www.andrewcohen.org: http://www.andrewcohen.org/media/downloads/Cohen_The%20Evolution%20of%20Enlightenment_2010.pdf
King Jr, M. L., & Street, J. (2005) Martin Luther King Jr.
King Jr., M.L (1992). This Is Not Just’: A Revolution of Values on the Jericho Road. General
Interest Periodicals–United States, 1-5.
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