Albert Schweitzer citations

Albert Schweitzer foto
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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.

„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.“

— 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.

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„Don't let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Don't let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.

„Let me give you a definition of ethics:“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life — it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion. As quoted in Albert Schweitzer : The Man and His Mind (1947) by George Seaver, p. 366<!-- also in Come to Judgment (1980) by Alden Whitman, p. 5 -->

„It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: I do not want to frighten you by telling you about the temptations life will bring. Anyone who is healthy in spirit will overcome them. But there is something I want you to realize. It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won't realize until it will be too late.

„My life carries its own meaning in itself. This meaning lies in my living out the highest idea which shows itself in my will-to-live, the idea of reverence for life. With that for a starting-point I give value to my own life and to all the will-to-live which surrounds me, I persevere in activity, and I produce values.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Reverence for life, veneratio vitæ, is the most direct and at the same time the profoundest achievement of my will-to-live. In reverence for life my knowledge passes into experience. The simple world- and life-affirmation which is within me just because I am will-to-live has, therefore, no need to enter into controversy with itself, if my will-to-live learns to think and yet does not understand the meaning of the world. In spite of the negative results of knowledge, I have to hold fast to world- and life-affirmation and deepen it. My life carries its own meaning in itself. This meaning lies in my living out the highest idea which shows itself in my will-to-live, the idea of reverence for life. With that for a starting-point I give value to my own life and to all the will-to-live which surrounds me, I persevere in activity, and I produce values.

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„It belongs to the nature of mysticism that it is timeless and appeals to no other authority than that of the truth which it carries within it.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: We await the Indian thinker who will expound to us the mysticism of spiritual union with infinite Being as it is in itself, not as it is set down in the ancient texts or according to the meaning read into them by their interpreters. It belongs to the nature of mysticism that it is timeless and appeals to no other authority than that of the truth which it carries within it. The pathway from imperfect to perfect recognised truth leads through the valley of reality. Ch. XVI : Looking Backward and Forward, p. 256

„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.“

— 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.

„Many a truth has lain unnoticed for a long time, ignored simply because no one perceived its potential for becoming reality.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: The only originality I claim is that for me this truth goes hand in hand with the intellectual certainty that the human spirit is capable of creating in our time a new mentality, an ethical mentality. Inspired by this certainty, I too proclaim this truth in the hope that my testimony may help to prevent its rejection as an admirable sentiment but a practical impossibility. Many a truth has lain unnoticed for a long time, ignored simply because no one perceived its potential for becoming reality.

„Every world-view which fails to start from resignation in regard to knowledge is artificial and a mere fabrication, for it rests upon an inadmissible interpretation of the universe.“

— Albert Schweitzer
Context: Resignation as to knowledge of the world is for me not an irretrievable plunge into a scepticism which leaves us to drift about in life like a derelict vessel. I see in it that effort of honesty which we must venture to make in order to arrive at the serviceable world-view which hovers within sight. Every world-view which fails to start from resignation in regard to knowledge is artificial and a mere fabrication, for it rests upon an inadmissible interpretation of the universe.

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