QuotationsAlbert Schweitzer
Quotations Archive From all-creatures.org

This Quotations Archive contains words from famous and some not so famous people who have expressed a sense of love, compassion, and respect for all of God's creation: for people, for animals, and for the environment. They speak of our teaching methods and philosophy. They speak of a lifestyle of non-violence. They seek to eliminate cruelty and suffering. They seek to wake us up. They seek to give us hope.

Weeds by Mary T. Hoffman

Albert Schweitzer
(1863-1965)
Physician, Clergyman, winner of Nobel Peace Prize

"A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life he is able to assist and shrinks from injuring anything that lives." 

"After almost being pressured by other boys to sling rocks at birds.... From that day onward I took courage to emancipate myself from the fear of men, and whenever my inner convictions were at stake I let other people's opinions weigh less with me than they had done previously. I tried also to unlearn my former dread of being laughed at by my school-fellows. This early influence upon me of the commandment not to kill or to torture other creatures is the great experience of my youth. By the side of that all others are insignificant." 

"There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it, and that we ought all of us to feel what a horrible thing it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness."

“We need a boundless ethic which will include the animals also. The ethics of respect for life makes us keep on the lookout together for opportunities of bringing some sort of help to animals, to make up for the great miseries men inflict on them.”

"Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives."

"We must never permit the voice of humanity within us to be silenced. It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man."

"The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret.....It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind." - Nobel Peace Prize Address, "The Problem of Peace in the World Today"

"The man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the reverence for life that he gives his own.

"Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy."

"The quiet conscience is an invention of the devil."

"The time will come when public opinion will no longer tolerate amusements based on the mistreatment and killing of animals. The time will come, but when? When will we reach the point that hunting, the pleasure in killing animals for sport, will be regarded as a mental aberration?"

"Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come wherein humanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come. The quiet conscience is an invention of the devil. Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. It is man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man."

"Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live. At the same time the man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give to every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life in his own. He accepts as being good: to preserve life, to promote life, to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life, to repress life which is capable of development. This is the absolute, fundamental principle of the moral, and it is a necessity of thought". - From: Out of My Life and Thought

"It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such... Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life."

"It is not always granted to the sower to live to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in ---FAITH."

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

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