Albert Schweitzer


German Theologian, Musician, Missionary, Philosopher

Author Quotes

The main concern of philosophy is to make men better.

By the spirit of the age... the man of today is forced into skepticism about his own thinking, in order to make him receptive to truth which comes to him from authority... Truth taken over by skepticism which has become believing... is not capable of uniting itself with him to the very marrow of his being.

The only road to a fuller grasp of Reality is the exploration of 'super-normal' perception.

I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

The power of ideals is incalculable. We see no power in a drop of water. But let it get into a crack in the rock and be turned into ice, and it splits the rock; turned into steam, it drives the pistons of the most powerful engines. Something has happened to it which makes active the power that is latent in it.

Medicine is not only a science, but also the art of letting our own individuality interact with the individuality of the patient.

Thought is the strongest thing we have. Work done by true and profound thought - that is a real force.

My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine... Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.

Truth has not special time of its own. Its hour is now - always, and indeed then most truly when it seems most unsuitable to actual circumstances.

No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it wakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to live to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith.

Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage. The way in which power works is a mystery.

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.

You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.

Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live.

What we call love is in its essence Reverence for Life. All material and spiritual values are values only insofar as they serve the maintenance of life at its highest level and furtherance of life. Ethics are boundless in their domain and limitless in their demands. They are concerned with all living things that come into our sphere.

All the kindness which a man puts out into the world works on the heart and thoughts of mankind, but we are so foolishly indifferent that we are never in earnest in the matter of kindness. We want to topple a great load over, and yet will not avail ourselves of a lever which would multiply our power a hundredfold.

What you owe the world is this: to move all goodwill to an enthusiastic, personal, and sensible commitment. Therein lies the great problem. Whatever you do toward this end will arouse people of goodwill throughout the world and encourage them to lend a hand in other countries.

All work that is worth anything is done in faith.

Whatever you have received more than others - in health, in talents, in ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of home life - all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for your good fortune, you must render in return some sacrifice of your own life for another life.

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red light... The truly wise person is colorblind.

Wherever there is lost the consciousness that every man is an object of concern for us just because he is a man, civilization and morals are shaken, and the advance to fully developed inhumanity is only a question of time.

Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.

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German Theologian, Musician, Missionary, Philosopher