The tumbling of the World Trade towers, the war on terrorism and the prospect of war with Iraq all press home the same question: What ways of life would render the world more secure?
Every answer includes the recognition that we've all become more vulnerable in a world too small to put anyone out of reach.
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. described this condition with the image of a new "world house." In a book aptly titled Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? and written in 1968, the year he was assassinated, he pictures the world house this way:
Some years ago a famous novelist died. Among his papers was found a list of suggested plots for future stories, the most prominently underscored being this one: "A widely separated family inherits a house in which they have to live together." This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great "world house" in which we have to live together — black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu — a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.
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