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Archive for June, 2008

Albert Schweitzer

I want to work in this world to help people to think more deeply and more independently. I am in complete disagreement with the spirit of our age, because it is filled with contempt for thought. We have come to doubt whether thinking will ever be capable of answering questions about the universe and our relationship to it in a way that would give meaning and substance to our lives…Man today is exposed throughout his life to influences that try to rob him of all confidence in his own thinking. He lives in an atmosphere of intellectual dependence, which surrounds him and manifests itself in everything he hears or reads. It is in the people whom he meets every day; it is in the political parties and associations that have claimed him as their own; it pervades all the circumstances of his life. From every side and in the most varied ways it is hammered into him that the truths and convictions that he needs for life must be taken away from the associations that have rights over him. The spirit of the age never lets him find himself. Over and over again, convictions are forced upon him just as he is exposed, in big cities, to glaring neon signs of companies that are rich enough to install them and enjoin him at every step to give preference to one or another shoe polish or soup mix. By the spirit of the age, then, the man of today is forced into skepticism about his own thinking, so that he may become receptive to what he receives from authority. He cannot resist this influence because he is overworked, distracted, and incapable of concentrating. Moreover, the material dependence that is his lot has an effect on his mind, so he finally believes that he is not qualified to come to his own conclusions.

Only a person who finds value in any kind of activity and who gives himself with a full sense of service has the right to choose an exceptional task instead of following a common path. Only a person who feels his preference to be a matter of course, not something out of the ordinary, and who has no thought of heroism but only of a duty undertaken with sober enthusiasm, is capable of becoming the sort of spiritual pioneer the world needs. There are no heroes of action – only heroes of renunciation and suffering. Of these there are plenty…Great ideals are lost at every moment because we miss opportunities, but the ideals that are turned into will and action constitute a richness that must not be undervalued.

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Sunday Night Inspiration

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