Albert Schweitzer


German Theologian, Musician, Missionary, Philosopher

Author Quotes

The tragedy of life is not… in the fact of death itself. The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.

It is only an ethical movement which can rescue us from the slough of barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.

The view of Reverence for Life is ethical mysticism. It allows union with the Infinite to be realized [through] ethical action.

It’s supposed to be a professional secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within.

To enable it to do its work naturally, every new idea must be in some way embedded in what is old.

A new public opinion must be created privately and unobtrusively. The existing one is maintained by the Press, by propaganda, by organization, and by financial and other influences which are at its disposal. This unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness for new truth.

All living knowledge of God rests upon this foundation: that we experience Him in our lives as Will-to-Love.

All the kindness which a man puts out into the world works on the heart and thoughts of mankind.

As long as we look at our own existence as meaningless, there is no point whatevr in desiring to effect anything in the world.

As the sun makes the ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing. One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

Have you ever considered how dreadful it would be if our lives had no appointed end but went on forever? Can you imagine that as far as the eye can see into the future we should remain enmeshed in all the desires and troubles of this life and that all the ensuing envy, hatred and malice, our own and other people’s should continue to pile up undiminished? If you have ever considered how intolerable the burden of our life would be without the understood certainty that it has an appointed end, you know that death comes to all, even the most fortunate, not as an enemy but as a deliverance.

I must practice unlimited forgiveness because, if I did not, I should be wanting in veracity to myself, for it would be acting as if I myself were not guilty in the same way as the other has been guilty towards me.

Ideals are thoughts. So long as they exist merely as thoughts, the power latent in them remains ineffective.

In a human context, love means sharing an experience, showing compassion, and helping one another. But our love of God is akin to reverent love. God is infinite life. Thus the most elementary ethical principle, when understood by the heart, means that out of reverence for the unfathomable, infinite, and living Reality we call God, we must never consider ourselves strangers toward any human being.

A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.

A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellowman, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.

One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

One truth stands firm. All that happens in the world history rests on something spiritual. If the spiritual is strong, it creates world history. If it is weak, it suffers world history.

Reverence for life does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful to the community in so doing. Reverence for life does not permit the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many by its means... Reverence for life demands for all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives for others.

Reverence for life is the only sound basis for viable ethics.

Science has led us from knowledge to knowledge but also from mystery to mystery. Mystery alone can lead us on to true spirituality, to accept and be filled with the mystery of life in our existence.

The abdication of thought has been the decisive factor in the collapse of civilization.

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German Theologian, Musician, Missionary, Philosopher