Friday, June 19, 2009
Revisiting Albert Schweitzer Portrait
Dr. David Satcher narrates at
the World Premiere on May 9, 2009
"When I hear a baby's cry of pain change into a normal cry of hunger, to my ears that is the most beautiful music."
This is what Albert Schweitzer said:
"Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter-- to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way."
He was born in a small town in Germany that after the war became part of France, and was awarded degrees in theology, philosophy, and music. An urgent appeal for physicians in French Equatorial Africa inspired him to study medicine and surgery at the University of Strasbourg. Schweitzer later wrote:
"I wanted to become a doctor in order to be able to work without words...My new occupation would be not to talk about the gospel of love, put to put it into practice."
In Africa, while traveling up the Ogooué River from his Lambaréné hospital, his thoughts crystallized into a new philosophy. He wrote:
"There flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase 'Reverence for Life'...The iron door had yielded. The path in the thicket had become visible...I knew that a system of values which concerns itself only with our relationship to other people is incomplete and therefore lacking in power for good. Only by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and humane relationship with both people and all living creatures within our reach. Only in this fashion can we avoid harming others, and, within the limits of our capacity, go to their aid whenever they need us..."
For contradicting the common wisdom of his time, Schweitzer was branded a radical.
But the spirit to serve was the bedrock that sustained him. This is what he said.
Albert Schweitzer said,
"One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life."
He urged young people to "grow into your ideals so that life can never rob you of them."
Albert Schweitzer received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 and in his acceptance speech this is what he said:
"We now know how terrible an evil war is in our time, and we must spare no effort to prevent its recurrence. Only through the spirit can this be done. A humanitarian spirit abides within all men like tinder ready to be lit, waiting only for a spark. May the nations, in their efforts to maintain peace, do their utmost to give the spirit time to grow and to act."
This is what Albert Schweitzer said, this is what he said:
"A human being is never a total and permanent stranger to another human being. We belong to one another. We can no longer live for ourselves alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life."