Before he was 30
years old, Albert Schweitzer had earned an international reputation as a
concert organist and an acclaimed author, in addition to being a pastor and a university
professor. But when he read an article in 1904 about the lack of doctors in Africa, he decided
to get a medical degree so that he could dedicate his life to help alleviate human suffering
through "direct service to humanity." Starting out in nothing more than a converted chicken
coop, Dr. Schweitzer and his wife opened up a hospital in French Equatorial Africa (now
Gabon) in 1913. He ran the hospital for the next 50 years, leaving to occasionally travel the
world for speaking tours and concert performances to raise money for his hospital. By the early
1960s, it had grown to over 70 buildings and had attracted medical professionals from around
the world. Albert Schweitzer received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work.
In the 1950s he became concerned about the nuclear arms race and in 1957 made a radio
appeal that was heard in 50 countries, urging nations with the bomb to stop testing and reduce
their arsenals. Albert Schweitzer believed in a reverence for life, and the example of his life of
compassion continues to be an inspiration to many who have dedicated their lives to alleviate
suffering and make the world a better place.
"In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace. When the
true spirit of
peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities.
Only when this really happens-- when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession
of men's hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing."
"the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought
found how to serve." -- Albert Schweitzer
"A man can do only what a man can do. But if he does that each day he can
night and do it again the next day." -- Albert Schweitzer.
"Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose."
"What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty
The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct
our hopes and our intentions to the coming era in which war will have no place. This
hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, though a change in spirit, that superior
reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal".
"Only when an ideal of peace is born in the minds of the people will the
up to maintain this peace effectively fulfill the function expected of them."
"Because I have confidence in the power of truth, and of the spirit, I have
the future of mankind".
"It is not enough to merely exist. It's not enough to say, 'I'm earning
enough to live and
support my family. I do my work well. I'm a good parent.' That's all very well. But you
must do something more. Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every person has
to seek in his own way to make his own self more noble and to realize his own true
worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it's a little thing, do
something for those who have need of a man's help, something for which you get no pay
but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don't live in a world all your own. Your
brothers are here too."
"You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it's a little thing,
do something for
which you get not pay but the privilege of doing it".
"Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living
things, he will
never, himself, know peace."
"Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying
"Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed
to cruel instinct.
Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore,
are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity
protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by
thought. Let us work that this time may come."