It's Week Two of Curious Quotes & Universal Themes. This week we take a look at CONFLICT. These days there's more than enough of that to go around. This post is being published on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday in 2021. So, let's start with a BONUS quote from MLK that focuses on an opposite of conflict -- peace.
As we consider the universal theme of conflict, let's first ponder these four generalizations. As I was collecting quotes, I identified peace as a reoccurring opposite of conflict.
Since this post is being released on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, it is only fitting to begin with this quote. While Dr. King does not use the word conflict, he does use tension. Let's consider how conflict and tension are similar in nature. This comes from Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story published in 1958. It is also a quote that appears as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial that you see here. I included Dr. King's signature at the base of the monument. There is something that I love about seeing people's signatures.
The quote from Dr. King is quite similar in structure to this one from President Ronald Reagan from a commencement address at Eureka College in 1982. You can see a video clip of him saying these words here. Yet, Reagan and King are not the only ones to have used this phrasing.
Consider this quote from Dorothy Thompson from 1938. We see that Thompson might be the source and inspiration for the two previous quotes. But who was Dorothy Thompson? In this Mental Floss article she is described as The Journalist Who Warned the World about Adolf Hitler. In 1939, Time Magazine recognized her as being equal in influence as Eleanor Roosevelt. Let's just say that there is a lot to discover about this incredibly interesting individual that you probably did not know.
Now with three quotes similar in structure, you can play a bit of Who Said It Best? Consider the time that each of these are from. Also, consider how each of these quotes might reflect events of today. You might also try doing an Internet search using the phrase "peace is not the absence of conflict". You will find that there are many others who have used this as well.
Let's move from one powerful woman to another with this quote from one of my favorite First Ladies, Abigail Adams. Wife of President John Adams and mother of President John Quincy Adams, Abigail Adams holds an interesting place in history. Here Adams emphasizes the importance of being able to examine a situation with multiple perspectives. I especially love the wit and sly nature of this quote. Well played!
I wanted to switch things up quite a bit with this quote from John Dewey which offers a somewhat positive view of the potential that conflict can provide for us. While it may be as annoying as a fly, conflict can move us to action. There's some pretty interesting vocabulary to unpack here. Be sure not to overlook the opportunity to connect gadfly with Socrates.
Since the MLK quote does not actually use the word conflict, I felt obligated to add in one final quote. Let me start by saying this is way more words than I like to see on a single slide. That being said, it does provide a great example of digging deeper into the context of a quote. I could have very easily put "the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph" and been done with this. However, here we are able to see the opening section to Thomas Paine's "other" well known publication, The American Crisis. Let's also consider the date that it was written and what was happening at that time. We also get to see that the passage begins with another well known quotation. Seeing this in context provides a much richer meal on which to feast.
Do you have a favorite quote about CONFLICT? Be sure to share it below! Did you share this with your students? How did it go?