— Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968
1950s, Conquering Self-centeredness (1957)
Context: I look at my little daughter every day and she wants certain things and when she wants them, she wants them. And she almost cries out, “I want what I want when I want it.” She is not concerned about what I think about it or what Mrs. King thinks about it. She wants it. She’s a child and that’s very natural and normal for a child. She is inevitably self-centered because she’s a child. But when one matures, when one rises above the early years of childhood, he begins to love people for their own sake. He turns himself to higher loyalties. He gives himself to something outside of himself. He gives himself to causes that he lives for and sometimes will even die for. He comes to the point that now he can rise above his individualistic concerns, and he understands then what Jesus meant when he says, “He who finds his life shall lose it; he who loses his life for my sake, shall find it.”’ In other words, he who finds his ego shall lose his ego, but he who loseth his ego for my sake, shall find it. And so you see people who are apparently selfish; it isn’t merely an ethical issue but it is a psychological issue. They are the victims of arrested development, and they are still children. They haven’t grown up. And like a modern novelist says about one of his characters, “Edith is a little country, bounded on the east and the west, on the north and the south, by Edith.” And so many people are little countries, bounded all around by themselves and they never quite get out of themselves. And these are the persons who are victimized with arrested development.