The Next Renaissance: Coming Soon?

200px-Albert_Schweitzer,_Etching_by_Arthur_William_HeintzelmanThis post continues a focus on Albert Schweitzer’s life and his philosophy. I consider his life important to review again because he was grappling with the very issues we still struggle to understand today: what is the ethical basis for living?

Consider the following premise by Albert Schweitzer, one found after a lifetime of study and thought.

Civilization as we know it today is incomplete. It has brought us material progress but without being joined with the positive embrace of life itself. By realizing that we are each a life that wills to live, among every other person, plant or animal that also wills to live, we affirm all life as having value. This positive affirmation of life – the ethical basis for living – when combined with the will toward material progress – Schweitzer contended will lead on to the next human cultural Renaissance–a civilization that has learned how to live in peace.

Schweitzer’s autobiography, Out of My Life and Thought, is an excellent way to learn more about the evolution of his understanding, and eventual arrival at the principle of Respect for Life. Reading it again helped me see more clearly the task of Americans as we get ready to elect the next President, and as we are in consultation with all nations in Paris for the protection of all life on Earth.

Other Resources to Explore:

Nobel Prize Biography – Also includes a comprehensive bibliography

Unedited and Restored Film – this is a priceless film with many interviews with him in Germany and in Africa at his clinic. Listen to Schweitzer play a Bach organ piece in the church in his hometown. I ordered a copy for my children as a legacy gift that provides a compass for humanity no matter the age in which they may live.

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