Helix of the moral universe

Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” – Theodore Parker, 1853

Perhaps the shape is not an arc but a helix. Theodore Parker said in his sermon, “Of Justice and the Conscience”, that he can divineĀ “the curve and complete the figure” of the moral universe by conscience. The verb to divine means “to discover by intuition or insight”. I do appreciate Theodore Parker’s and Martin Luther King’s intuition and insight but each of us must do our own divining of the moral universe and not simply rely on the divinations of others. My conscience desires justice but does not always intuit the moral universe bending towards it. Perhaps the moral universe bends along the spiraling path of a helix with justice as its axis. Or maybe a double-helix ?

Note: 1853, Ten Sermons of Religion by Theodore Parker, Of Justice and the Conscience, Start Page 66, Quote Page 84-85, Crosby, Nichols and Company, Boston. (Google Books full view) Link

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