The Life and Work of Albert Schweitzer

By Zeen Elghusein   Published on 2 October, 2015

Albert Schweitzer

The life and work of the German-French theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), is both interesting and important.

When he was 21, Albert Schweitzer made a momentous decision:

..."I would consider myself justified in living until I was 30 for science and art, in order to devote myself from that time forward to the direct service of humanity".

In his book Out of My Life and Thought, Albert Schweitzer wrote about the motives that led him to study medicine. It was his belief in the ethical and affirmative position of his reverence for life that gave him a firm footing and a clear path to follow; he considered the period into which he was born a period of spiritual decadence that can only be defied by idealistic individual actions.

For the rest of his life, Albert Schweitzer worked as a physician in Lambarene, where he had a hospital for helping needy African patients.

In his philosophical book, The Decay and the Restoration of Civilization, Albert Schweitzer emphasizes the importance of world-view:

"…The greatest of all the spirit’s tasks is to produce a world-view… which can answer questions like: …What significance have the society in which I live and I myself in the world? What do we want to do in the world? What do we hope to get from it? What is our duty to it? The answer given by the majority to these fundamental questions about existence decides what the spirit is in which they and their age live".

One can see that Albert Schweitzer asked simple, yet fundamental questions that are addressed to people, especially to those who are aware of their duty to give and participate in building a happier world.

Albert Schweitzer undoubtedly asked himself these questions and found the answer in the satisfaction he received through helping the people in Africa.

About the Author
T.S. Eliot

Zeen Elghusein holds a BA in English language and literature.

Article picture: Albert Schweitzer, Etching by Arthur William Heintzelman.

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