Which is the Greatest Tragedy?

Which is the Greatest Tragedy?
In the United States of America we officially recognize and observe the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday of January every year. Many people all around the world are familiar with the non-violent protests and related efforts spearheaded by this activist which ultimately resulted in the passing of the Civil Rights Act. It was a tragic day in America, when he was cut down by an assassin's bullet.

To celebrate his birthday and honor his memory, I am sharing a statement he made that has taken root in my psyche. It inspires me to be fearless and dream the dream he dreamed.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. King's statement provokes additional questions for further thought and exploration.

Which is the greatest tragedy?

  • To do things that you should NOT have done. -OR-

  • To NOT do things that you should have done.





I Have A Dream Hardcover by Martin Luther King Jr..

I Have a Dream



Silence of the People

For people to be silent in the face of discrimination and evil is the worst sin I think. I think it is just one fo the problems we face in today's world. I think that people need to speak up when they see a wrong.
Posted by kgord on 01-13-2018


When one ideology takes over another. That is something going to affect a lot in such case. And the tragedy stuff is that people don't understand where things can go wrong. And we have to be really understanding of that part.
Posted by overcast on 01-17-2018


I agree that the appalling silence of the good people is the greatest tragedy. The good people should have spoke but they didn't and so the bad people continued to do evil. It is better to speak and have no one to listen to you than not speak at all.
Posted by mildredtabitha on 01-11-2018


No one has disagreed yet, be the first!


I think the greatest tragedy for individual is not doing those positive things that you are expected to have done.
Posted by babyright on 01-11-2018
Wow. Tough question. I'd have to say NOT doing the things you SHOULD have done. It's like when you argue with someone and something witty comes to your mind AFTER the argument is over. There was a situation in my life when I was 22 and should have taken a stand on an issue. But I was more worried about what "people" would say than doing what was right. To this day at age 45 that STILL haunts me.
Posted by Anonymous on 01-11-2018
To do things you SHOULD NOT have done. It pretty much means you wasted times, made hasty decisions, or showed poor character and judgment.
Posted by NickJ on 01-11-2018
I think the greatest tragedy is not doing things you should have done.

When you did things you should not have done, you did them because you thought it was the right thing to do. But when you know you have to do something and also had the chance to do but you chose not to do , it is tragedy.
Posted by mildredtabitha on 01-11-2018
The greatest tradgedy is not doing the things that you should have done. The cause is maybe of fear or you don't to do it because you don't believe in it. If people would do their part then I think some issue will be resolved.
Posted by Scarlet on 01-12-2018
“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” – Myles Monroe. A life without a purpose is a life without a destination; you don’t know where to turn to. Our purpose in life is to find and do the things that make us smile, laugh and forget time with God on our side. Even if we aren’t sure yet, we have to move into the exploration and experimentation phase of our life and enjoy the journey.
Posted by Anonymous on 01-12-2018
For me, I think the greatest tragedy is not doing things you should have done. The reason why we don’t act on the things we have to be done is being afraid of the consequences might be. And realized later on, that we are sorry and frustrated of the things turn out so badly.
Posted by Anonymous on 01-12-2018
I think the greatest tragedy is not doing things you should have done. Too often, we don’t achieve the success we want because we are not willing to act for it. Surely, it requires some courage because we do face the possibility of being rejected, but the ever looming ‘what if’ will be much harder to live with than any turn down will. We ask ourselves what’s the worst that could happen if we don’t act on things. If it’s a simple denial it should never hold us back.
Posted by eavalderama on 01-12-2018
I believe it leaving very important life things to focus on what would not make much or no sense at all.I remember when I failed to start my art courses on time and pursuing entertainment stuff, by the time I realize what I was doing time as gone pass by and I'm struggling now to make it up and it becoming very difficult since I have to tend to a family with it.it hasn't been easy.
Posted by lovely on 01-12-2018
The greatest tragedy is to have not done something that you should have done. Not all deeds are bad so doing something that you should not have done can be rectified anyway. Yet, if you were meant to do something and didn't complete it then that is a failure and a tragedy in itself.
Posted by JMS on 01-13-2018
I think the greatest tragedy is never finding the love. Lot of people go through that. And it makes things a bit odd. And it can be really different for many of us. I guess we learn from our experience. But the thing is that love happens but sometimes you have to find it.
Posted by overcast on 01-13-2018
I think that one of the greatest tragedies is living in a world and having to embrace the lack of love from one human to another. The older I get, the more it is hard for me to swallow the atrocities of some of mankind's actions, past and present. When I observe acts of human compassion and kindness, they are so moving to me because the are so infrequent, at least in my experience. This is a very sad predicament. Also, whenever ANT of our great peacemakers or peace-bringers is assassinated or brought down, it is the worse tragedy because that one man or woman was truly inspiring many others, maybe even thousands of others, and thus dreams run the risk of truly dying in the minds of many, if we are all not careful.
Posted by JoeMilford on 01-14-2018
MLK is also one of my greatest inspirations. He was definitely ahead of his time. I love his speeches because he encourages all of us to have healthy self-esteem and to respect and love ourselves as people. He is the best advocate for being kind, but not taking any rubbish from anyone. The greatest tragedy is not doing things you should have done. It is said that the wealthiest place on earth is the grave yard because of the many dreams buried with the dead. I believe in living your life to the fullest no matter how many mistakes you make. In fact the more mistakes you make the better, as this means your learning.
Posted by jaymish on 01-15-2018
Normally, I don’t buy into conspiracy theories, but in the case of MLK I’m willing to endorse a “not proven” verdict on James Earl Ray being the sole plotter and shooter. This was done in order to squeeze his movement and ruin the momentum that he had. One should read the book by William F Pepper that's called " An Act of State" where the facts are stated and are an eye opener for those who remain silent.
Posted by muaaz.93 on 01-15-2018
I admire King. The America society that we know today is the giving of King. America is a multi-cultrural society and King helped to share up today's America. In my opinion, the greatest tragedy is To do things that you should NOT have done
Posted by vinaya on 01-15-2018
I don't see either option as a tragedy because we all have choices. As much as we wish to do something sometimes things prevent us, and as for doing things we wish we hadn't, that's called life. Everyone makes mistakes because that is how they learn. While one may desire to do something, why is it a tragedy if they don't do it. Some prefer dreams because sometimes doing things leads to disappointments.
Posted by Alexa on 01-16-2018