Monday, January 20, 2014

The MLK of Igorotdo

When it comes to speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., most people only know his “I Have a Dream” speech.  They don’t know the other lesser-known, yet powerful ones. One of his most underrated speeches is the one about the “Three Dimensions of Life that Make Life Complete.” The three dimensions come from the twenty first chapter of the biblical book of Revelation. They are: 1) the length of life, 2) the breath of life, and 3) the height of life. 

MLK describes the length of life as “accepting ourselves and our tools.” The breath of life is the “outward concern for the welfare of others,” and finally, the height of life is the “upward reach for God.” In his words, “Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.”

Upon listening to his speech, which I’ve heard many years ago, I couldn’t help but reflect on my novel, “Igorotdo: The Enlightened Warrior Within.” Throughout the entire process of writing the book, MLK’s speech never came to mind. Yet, like the ebb and flow of tides; its words splash onto the literary shores of my story and pull its themes back into its body of meanings. When seen through the perspective of MLK’s speech, the novel bears strong similarities to the three dimensions of life.

In the book, Alex, the protagonist, encounters and inhabits various characters. These people help him re-connect to his estranged cultural heritage, resulting in the understanding of his “length of life.” These same characters, particularly the enlightened samurai, also help him discover the self-centeredness of his being and guide him to his “breath of life.” As both dimensions become a part of him, Alex’s “height of life” comes naturally, thus allowing him to become “complete.”

Read MLK's "Three Dimensions of a Complete Life" here.

The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life from Sweet Speeches on Vimeo.

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