March 30, 2020

Be Maladjusted!

In some ways, the alte zeyde (grandfather, if you will) of this blog, or rather, the ongoing title of this blog, was none other than the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Except I did not know it until this past week.

While going through my books and files, I found a sermon that Dr. King delivered, in which he spoke about the need to be creatively maladjusted.

These are his words: “This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of atomic annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; truth lies prostrate on the rugged hills of nameless calvaries; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism…human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” (American Sermons: The Pilgrims To Martin Luther King Jr.).

Dr. King delivered that sermon from the pulpit of Temple Israel in Hollywood, California.

It was not the last, nor probably the first, time that Dr. King used that spectacular image of “creative maladjustment.”

He used it in an address to psychologists. Noting the profession's fondness for children being well adjusted, he told them: “There are some things in our society to which we should never be adjusted. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence…”