Thursday, December 20, 2007

More on Scweitzer's Reverence for Life

Reverence for Life

Man's ultimate redemption through beneficent activity--the theme of Part II of Goethe's "Faust," a metaphysical poem much admired by Albert Schweitzer--threads through this extraordinary man's long, complex and sometimes curious life. With Faust himself he could join in saying:

...This sphere of earthly soil
Astounding plans e'en now are brewing:
Still gives us room for lofty doing.
I feel new strength for bolder toil...
The Deed is everything, the Glory naught.

"You must give some time to your fellow man," Schweitzer counseled in paraphrase. "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."

Also like Goethe, on whose life and works he was expert, Schweitzer came near to being a comprehensive man. He was theologian, musicologist, organ technician, physician and surgeon, missionary, philosopher of ethics, lecturer, writer and the builder and chief force of the famous hospital at Lambarene, in Gabon, the former French Equatorial Africa.

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