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Out of My Life and Thought (Schweitzer Library)

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  20 reviews
" "Out of My Life and Thought" shatters the old myth and allows us to glimpse the real Albert Schweitzer, a man whose moral example is as relevant and compelling in the 1990s as it was in the 1930s on first publication. Eloquent and heartfelt."-- "Los Angeles Times"

Of the many highly esteemed books Albert Schweitzer penned in his life, he valued his autobiography the most.
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 14th 1998 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published 1931)
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Dana
Albert Schweitzer was undoubtedly a genius. He was a trained theologian and organist who published scholarly works in a variety of disciplines. At the age of 30, he decided to devote his life to the serving humanity. He wanted to go to Africa as a doctor, so he resigned his faculty position and enrolled in medical school. Over the next 50 years, he spent much of his time in Africa. His wife and daughter mostly stayed in Europe. The conflict between Schweitzer's devotion to his practice and his f ...more
Josiah
Two quotes I leave you with. On why he went to Lamberene:

"It is unthinkable that we civilized peoples should keep for ourselves alone those means for fighting sickness, pain, and death that science has given us. If there is any ethical thinking at all among us, how can we refuse to let these new discoveries benefit those in distant lands who are subject to even greater physical distress than we are? In addition to the physicians who are sent out by the governments, and of whom there are never en
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Ron Henderson
As an autobiography, uneven and disjointed. I admire his emphasis on social action and reasoned thought as opposed to tradition and external control in religion. However, in this my first exposure to his writing, I find him just a touch too arrogant when he describes his philosophy, a little too confident that he has answered all questions. It's as if coming up with the phrase Reverence for Life suddenly settles every philosophical question. Then, in another moment, he's a self-proclaimed expert ...more
P.J. Sullivan
A philosopher and mystic argues for rational thought and what he called reverence for life. "I am in complete disagreement with the spirit of our age, because it is filled with contempt for thought." The primary issue of philosophy was to achieve an active ethic, a realistic confrontation with reality. His active ethic was to serve the poor and the sick in West Africa.

"Rational thought boils over into mystical thought. Mysticism is knowledge of the infinite. Mysticism is not the flower on the p
...more
Val
Love, love, love Albert and all his wonderful accomplishments, however, this particular book didn't make the grade for me. His command of English prose cannot be denied, but I was hoping for highlights and insights rather than tedious description of reminiscence and recollections, whole paragraphs of which a good editor would have tossed out today. For example, pages of painstaking description of his Hebrew studies finally got to the point which was why he persevered in these studies and its eff ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 05, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Einar & Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: biography
Self-actualizers, particularly young ones, take note: Albert Schweitzer had degrees in musicology, philosophy, theology and medicine, practicing throughout his life as both an organist and as a physician--mostly as a medical missionary, his musical performances and many publications supporting his aid work. Beyond this he was both a peace and environmental activist. Polylingual, he did charitable fundraising and political work throughout much of the world and throughout virtually all of his life ...more
Sean Howard
This book was part of an exercise a friend gave me. He had me take my Myers-Briggs and then to search for famous people with the same final profile.

What grew on me as I read this book was a realization that the traits I most downplay in myself were actually Albert's greatest strengths. He even spoke openly of them. Which made me realize they are my greatest strengths as well.

And I fell in love with his yearning to not only be in service but to redefine civilization to unite ethics with a real vi
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Spencer
Certainly an interesting guy with lots of fingers in different pies. Probably better as a philanthropist than a philosopher. He certainly seems to know his way around an organ.
Craig Robertson
Well worth reading. Schweitzer is a commanding character of the early 20th century, an humanitarian of the highest class. The book reveals may personal insights and glimpses into his soul. We read of a pious missionary, a dedicated physician, and a staunch anti-war advocate. We also glimpse his mania and his religious zeal. Much can be learned from an excellent man such as Schweitzer and hearing it in his own voice is a precious gift. The book is definitely dated in its style and he does writing ...more
John
I read this book when a freshman at the University of South Florida in 1960. About the only thing I remember is the phrase “Reverence for Life.” This time I realized our much fuller of ideas and experience this book contains. Whether one is religious or not Schweitzer impresses me with his thought and the process he goes through in developing his ideas. Most impressive are his many accomplishments during these early years, ranging from his religious, philosophical, music to his medical studies.
Les Wolf
An introduction to the life and thought of a great missionary, doctor to the tribes of Equatorial Africa, man of letters and theologian who was also an expert on the music of Bach and played the world's greatest music on the world's greatest church organs. From the simple truths he learned from everyday living to the deeper truths he discovered through extensive research, the book is filled with wisdom.
Philip
This book made a profound impact on my life when I encountered it as a teenager. Schweitzer's philosophy of 'reverence for life' struck a chord that inspired me even though it has been a difficult standard to try to live by.
Nancy
I really enjoyed this book.
It wasn't an easy read because of his philosophical/theological ideas. It was hard to totally understand what he was saying. But he was an amazing man and it was worth the effort.
Michael
A memoir by a great thinker and a great humanitarian. Not always interesting; but when it is, it ascends to heights of astonishing clarity rarely attained by even the greatest classics. A rewarding read.
Jeremy
Wow. Truly an amazing man, but I used this book to help me fall asleep at night. Just a page, page and a half would do it. I'd sleep like a baby.
Sarah
See, I put this book in a lot of categories because if there ever was a renaissance man, Albert Schweitzer fits the bill. Brilliant.
ara133photography
This is a really wonderful book; so inspiring. This book is the reason I've been a vegetarian for 18 years!
Valerie
recommended...I can't wait to reread this after recently reading "Things Fall Apart"
Peter
Dec 10, 2012 Peter marked it as to-read
Recommended by Roman Krznaric.
Carl Hesler
Inspiring, then sad.
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Albert Schweitzer, M.D., OM, was an Alsatian theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaisersberg in Alsace-Lorraine, a Germanophone region which the German Empire returned to France after World War I. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of historical Jesus current at his time and the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus who expected the imminent end of the ...more
More about Albert Schweitzer...
The Quest of the Historical Jesus Reverence for Life: The Words of Albert Schweitzer The Philosophy of Civilization: The Decay & the Restoration of Civilization/Civilization & Ethics J.S. Bach, Vol 1 The Primeval Forest (Schweitzer Library)

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“By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive.

Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

- Albert Schweitzer”
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“But merely accepting authoritarian truth, even if that truth has some virtue, does not bring skepticism to an end. To blindly accept a truth one has never reflected upon retards the advance of reason. Our world rots in deceit. . . . Just as a tree bears the same fruit year after year and at the same time fruit that is new each year, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually created anew in thought. But our age pretends to make a sterile tree bear fruit by tying fruits of truth onto its branches.” 12 likes
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