#3: Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King was profoundly influenced by the compassion, wisdom and writings of Mahatma Gandhi, and it’s that love of mankind in general that shines through here.
That’s a surprisingly (and sadly) rare quality among the most popular love quotes on the Internet.
The statement that darkness cannot defeat darkness isn’t unique to Dr. King, of course—it was Gandhi, after all, who said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” and that’s the essence of King’s statement here.
It’s King’s addition of love that makes this quote special and causes us to include it among our love quotes. One of the signs of a great author or artist is the ability to build upon the past, which is precisely what King does here, taking the central idea from Gandhi’s quote and adding to it.
Gandhi tells us how reciprocal or, in his case, a cycle of sectarian violence can leave us blind, and King adds that love is the healing antidote which might allow us to regain our moral sight
The religious symbolism of a blind man learning to see would’ve resonated strongly for King and Gandhi alike, is prominent in everything from Judeo-Christian ideology to Greek myth to Indian legend—and the central themes of this entry in our series of love quotes are likewise universal.