Albert Schweitzer citations

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Albert Schweitzer

Date de naissance: 14. janvier 1875
Date de décès: 4. septembre 1965

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Albert Schweitzer, né le 14 janvier 1875 à Kaysersberg et mort le 4 septembre 1965 à Lambaréné , est un médecin, pasteur et théologien protestant, philosophe et musicien alsacien.

L'hôpital qu'il développe dans la forêt équatoriale au bord de l'Ogooué à partir de 1913 le fait connaître dans le monde entier. En 1952, l'attribution du prix Nobel de la paix lui apporte la consécration et une visibilité médiatique considérable.

Personnage marquant du XXe siècle, « homme universel », il est en même temps une figure emblématique de l'Alsace, de la théologie libérale ou des admirateurs de Jean-Sébastien Bach. On voit parfois en lui un précurseur de l'action humanitaire, de l'écologie, de l'antispécisme et du désarmement nucléaire.

La notion de « respect de la vie » et son indignation devant la souffrance sont au cœur de la démarche d'Albert Schweitzer, qui s'est voulu « un homme au service d'autres hommes », tourné vers l'action.

Nourri d'une double culture allemande et française, il bénéficie d'une aura internationale, mais, à l'exception de son Alsace natale, son œuvre reste peu connue en France où elle a été diffusée plus tardivement. L'auteur prolifique a laissé de nombreux travaux, sermons, lettres et documents, pas encore tous exploités. De leur côté, témoins, disciples et détracteurs, en Europe ou en Afrique, apportent des points de vue contrastés, que la recherche s'emploie à mettre en perspective.

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Citations Albert Schweitzer

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„Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Variant translation: Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace. Variant translation: Until we extend the circle of compassion to all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.

„The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: When Christianity becomes conscious of its innermost nature, it realizes that it is godliness rising our of inward constraint. The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery. Neither knowledge nor hope for the future can be the pivot of our life or determine its direction. It is intended to be solely determined by our allowing ourselves to be gripped by the ethical God, who reveals Himself in us, and by our yielding our will to His. p. 102

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„It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life.

„In no other fire than that of the mysticism of reverence for life can the broken sword of idealism be forged anew.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: The way to true mysticism leads up through rational thought to deep experience of the world and of our will-to-live. We must all venture once more to be "thinkers," so as to reach mysticism, which is the only direct and the only profound world-view. We must all wander in the field of knowledge to the point where knowledge passes over into experience of the world. We must all, through thought, become religious. This rational thought must become the prevailing force among us, for all the valuable ideas that we need develop out of it. In no other fire than that of the mysticism of reverence for life can the broken sword of idealism be forged anew.

„The ethic of reverence for life constrains all, in whatever walk of life they may find themselves, to busy themselves intimately with all the human and vital processes which are being played out around them, and to give themselves as men to the man who needs human help and sympathy. It does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful to the community in so doing. It does not permit the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many by its means. It refuses to let the business man imagine that he fulfills all legitimate demands in the course of his business activities.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: The ethic of reverence for life constrains all, in whatever walk of life they may find themselves, to busy themselves intimately with all the human and vital processes which are being played out around them, and to give themselves as men to the man who needs human help and sympathy. It does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful to the community in so doing. It does not permit the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many by its means. It refuses to let the business man imagine that he fulfills all legitimate demands in the course of his business activities. It demands from all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives for others. In what way and in what measure this is his duty, this everyone must decide on the basis of the thoughts which arise in himself, and the circumstances which attend the course of his own life. The self-sacrifice of one may not be particularly in evidence. He carries it out simply by continuing his normal life. Another is called to some striking self-surrender which obliges him to set on one side all regard for his own progress. Let no one measure himself by his conclusions respecting someone else. The destiny of men has to fulfill itself in a thousand ways, so that goodness may be actualized. What every individual has to contribute remains his own secret. But we must all mutually share in the knowledge that our existence only attains its true value when we have experienced in ourselves the truth of the declaration: 'He who loses his life shall find it. p. 267

„There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it, and that we ought all of us to feel what a horrible thing it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it, and that we ought all of us to feel what a horrible thing it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness. And this conviction has influenced me only more and more strongly with time. I have grown more and more certain that at the bottom of our heart we all think this, and that we fail to acknowledge it because we are afraid of being laughed at by other people as sentimentalists, though partly also because we allow our best feelings to get blunted. But I vowed that I would never let my feelings get blunted, and that I would never be afraid of the reproach of sentimentalism. p. 275

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„All profound world-view is mysticism, the essence of which is just this: that out of my unsophisticated and naïve existence in the world there comes, as a result of thought about self and the world, spiritual self-devotion to the mysterious infinite Will which is continuously manifested in the universe.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Affirmation of the world, which means affirmation of the will-to-live that manifests itself around me, is only possible if I devote myself to other life. From an inner necessity, I exert myself in producing values and practising ethics in the world and on the world even though I do not understand the meaning of the world. For in world- and life-affirmation and in ethics I carry out the will of the universal will-to-live which reveals itself in me. I live my life in God, in the mysterious divine personality which I do not know as such in the world, but only experience as mysterious Will within myself. Rational thinking which is free from assumptions ends therefore in mysticism. To relate oneself in the spirit of reverence for life to the multiform manifestations of the will-to-live which together constitute the world is ethical mysticism. All profound world-view is mysticism, the essence of which is just this: that out of my unsophisticated and naïve existence in the world there comes, as a result of thought about self and the world, spiritual self-devotion to the mysterious infinite Will which is continuously manifested in the universe.

„Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now — always, and indeed then most truly when it seems most unsuitable to actual circumstances.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now — always, and indeed then most truly when it seems most unsuitable to actual circumstances. Care for distress at home and care for distress elsewhere do but help each other if, working together, they wake men in sufficient numbers from their thoughtlessness, and call into life a new spirit of humanity. Ch. XI : Conclusion (1956 edition) http://books.google.com/books?id=t_AYAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Truth+has+no+special+time+of+its+own+its+hour+is+now+always%22&pg=PA117#v=onepage

„Christianity has had to give up one piece after another of what it still imagined it possessed in the way of explanations of the universe. In this development it grows more and more into an expression of what constitutes its real nature.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Christianity has had to give up one piece after another of what it still imagined it possessed in the way of explanations of the universe. In this development it grows more and more into an expression of what constitutes its real nature. In a remarkable process of spiritualization it advances further and further from naive naiveté into the region of profound naiveté. The greater the number of explanations that slip from its hands, the more is the first of the Beatitudes, which may indeed be regarded as prophetic word concerning Christianity, fulfilled: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." p. 102

„To the man who is truly ethical all life is sacred, including that which from the human point of view seems lower in the scale. He makes distinctions only as each case comes before him, and under the pressure of necessity, as, for example, when it falls to him to decide which of two lives he must sacrifice in order to preserve the other.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: To the man who is truly ethical all life is sacred, including that which from the human point of view seems lower in the scale. He makes distinctions only as each case comes before him, and under the pressure of necessity, as, for example, when it falls to him to decide which of two lives he must sacrifice in order to preserve the other. But all through this series of decisions he is conscious of acting on subjective grounds and arbitrarily, and knows that he bears the responsibility for the life which is sacrificed. p. 269

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