You’re Invited to Drew Dellinger’s Ph.D. Dissertation Defense!
(This is the abstract for my doctoral dissertation. I am finishing a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion, with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, at CIIS — the California Institute of Integral Studies.)
The Mountaintop Vision:
Martin Luther King’s Cosmology of Connection
This dissertation asserts that Martin Luther King Jr.’s social justice vision was based on a worldview of interconnection. This work examines cosmological and ecological dimensions of King’s thought that have been largely overlooked in previous King scholarship.
King’s vision connected racism with war and poverty, stressed the unity of peoples and movements around the planet, and recognized the interwoven nature of the universe, which he described as, “the interrelated structure of all reality.” His holistic view of the cosmos and society is the hallmark of what I call his Mountaintop Vision.
In the last years of his life, which I call his Mountaintop Period (1966-68), King identified systemic links between social justice issues that were largely viewed as separate, fusing them into a unified critique that fundamentally challenged the modern system. This work articulates six aspects of King’s Mountaintop Vision: (1) connecting justice to the cosmos, (2) emphasizing economic justice, (3) confronting systemic racism, (4) challenging U. S. militarism, (5) exemplifying the prophetic path, and (6) building a global movement.
King’s worldview constituted a cosmology of justice in which interdependence and compassion are woven into the fabric of the cosmos itself. In King’s view, “the universe is on the side of justice.”
This dissertation examines King’s speeches, sermons, and writings to demonstrate his vision of radical connection. I argue that King’s view of existence as a “network of mutuality,” in which “all life is interrelated,” should be recognized as an early expression of systems thinking and ecological consciousness. King’s Mountaintop Vision linked social justice, cosmology, and ecology in a way that may yet provide guidance for our future.