Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (quotes)

  • [Science is] piecemeal revelation.
  • The best servant does his work unseen.
  • The Amen of nature is always a flower.
  • Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
  • Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
  • Science is the topography of ignorance.
  • Man has his will, but woman has her way.
  • Learn the sweet magic of a cheerful face.
  • Have the courage to act instead of react.
  • Don’t be ‘consistent,’ but be simply true.
  • Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
  • O, might I vole to some umbrageous clump,–
  • Me wretched! Let me curr to quercine shades!
  • Effund your albid hausts, lactiferous maids!
  • Death tugs at my ear and says, ‘Live. I am coming.
  • America is the only place where man is full-grown!
  • Beware how you take away hope from any human being.
  • Youth longs and manhood strives, but age remembers.
  • Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.
  • Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.
  • Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
  • Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.
  • Rough work, iconoclasm, but the only way to get at truth.
  • A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
  • You may have genius. The contrary is, of course, probable.
  • Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
  • Letter to Julia Ward Howe on her 70th birthday, 27 May (1889)
  • I hate paying taxes. But I love the civilization they give me
  • But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
  • Medical Essays ‘Current and Counter-Currents in Medical Science’
  • Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.
  • Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.
  • Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
  • Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
  • Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.
  • Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.
  • A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.
  • A child’s education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.
  • I would never use a long word, even, where a short one would answer the purpose.
  • Stillness of person and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding.
  • Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way – and the fools know it.
  • For nothing burns with such amazing speed, As the dry sticks of a religious creed.
  • It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.
  • Simple people… are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.
  • Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
  • Leverage is everything-don’t begin to pry until you’ve got the long arm on your side.
  • Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.
  • It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
  • No families take so little medicine as those of doctors, except those of apothecaries.
  • A woman never forgets her sex. She would rather talk with a man than an angel, any day.
  • See how he throws his baited lines about,/And plays his men as anglers play their trout.
  • Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
  • Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have – Cincinnati sounds worse.
  • Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise.
  • Yes, child of suffering, thou may’st well be sure He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor!
  • The world’s great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
  • Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.
  • The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.
  • To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
  • A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.
  • Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.
  • The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
  • The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.
  • Life as we call it, is nothing but the edge of the boundless ocean of existence when it comes upon soundings.
  • Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.
  • Trouble makes us one with every human being in the world – and unless we touch others, we’re out of touch with life.
  • People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be ‘consistent’.
  • To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.
  • The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.
  • Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear.
  • A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
  • I like children; I like ’em, and I respect ’em. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by them.
  • There is no friend like an old friend who has shared our morning days, no greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise.
  • Don’t you stay at home of evenings? Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?
  • Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.
  • I hate facts. I always say the chief end of man is to form general propositions – adding that no general proposition is worth a damn.
  • Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
  • The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library,’The medicines of the soul.
  • A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!
  • Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.
  • Memory is a net: one that finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.
  • The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.
  • Why can’t somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?
  • Whatever comes from the brain carries the hue of the place it came from, and whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.
  • The Indian is but a sketch in red crayon of a rudimental manhood. To the problem of his relation to the white race, there is one solution: extermination.
  • The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
  • Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.
  • The truth is that the whole system of beliefs which comes in with the story of the fall of man … is gently falling out of enlightened human intelligence.
  • The sea drowns out humanity and time. It has no sympathy with either, for it belongs to eternity; and of that it sings its monotonous song forever and ever.
  • What a blessed thing it is, that Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left!
  • Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else – very rarely to those who say to themselves, ‘Go to, now, let us be a celebrated individual!’.
  • Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.
  • It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times. If you are presently without, hurry without delay to the nearest shop and buy one of mine.
  • Valedictory address to medical graduates at Harvard University on March 10, 1858. The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Volume LVIII, No. 8, p. 158, March 25, 1858.
  • Man is born a predestined idealist, for he is born to act. To act is to affirm the worth of an end, and to persist in affirming the worth of an end is to make an ideal.
  • I firmly believe that if the whole material medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be better for mankind-and all the worse for the fishes.
  • Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The Angel of Life winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection.
  • I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
  • For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.
  • What we most want to ask of our Maker is an unfolding of the divine purpose in putting human beings into conditions in which such numbers of them would be sure to go wrong.
  • We call those poets who are first to mark, Through earth’s dull mist the coming of the dawn, Who see in twilight’s gloom the first pale spark, While others only note that day is gone.
  • What refuge is there for the victim who is oppressed with the feeling that there are a thousand new books he ought to read, while life is only long enough for him to attempt to read a hundred?
  • When I think of talking, it is of course with a woman. For talking at its best being an inspiration, it wants a corresponding divine quality of receptiveness, and where will you find this but in a woman?
  • Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that – one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery.
  • Don’t flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.
  • Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground-floor. But if a man hasn’t got plenty of good common sense, the more science he has, the worse for his patient.
  • A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.
  • Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
  • We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were early implanted in his imagination; no matter how utterly his reason may reject them…
  • Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good mental machinery ought to break its own wheels and levers, if anything is thrust among them suddenly which tends to stop them or reverse their motion. A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
  • The year is getting to feel rich, for his golden fruits are ripening fast, and he has a large balance in the barns, which are his banks. The members of his family have found out that he is well to do in the world. September is dressing herself in show of dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.
  • As we grow older we think more and more of old persons and of old things and places. As to old persons, it seems as if we never know how much they have to tell until we are old ourselves and they have been gone twenty or thirty years. Once in a while we come upon some survivor of his or her generation that we have overlooked, and feel as if we had recovered one of the lost books of Livy or fished up the golden candlestick from the ooze of the Tiber.
  • When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe… that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas– that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment. As all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge.

 

 

Albert Schweitzer (quotes)

  • Example is leadership.
  • My life is my argument.
  • Love is a living reality.
  • Let your life be your argument.
  • I must forgive without noise or fuss.
  • Constant kindness can accomplish much.
  • Thought is the strongest thing we have.
  • Aim for service and success will follow!
  • The doctor of the future will be oneself.
  • Preservation of life is the only true joy.
  • One person can and does make a difference.
  • My life carries its own meaning in itself.
  • The great enemy of morality is indifference.
  • You ask me for a motto. Here it is: SERVICE.
  • Your soul suffers if you live superficially.
  • Set a great example. Someone may imitate it.
  • Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.
  • There is no higher religion than human service.
  • Do something good and someone might imitate it.
  • Animal protection is education to the humanity.
  • Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.
  • The destiny of man is to be more and more human.
  • I decided that I would make my life my argument.
  • A good example has twice the value of good advice
  • All work that is worth anything is done in faith.
  • Don’t blame, forgive, All healing is self-healing
  • Sincerity is the foundation of the spiritual life.
  • To work for the common good is the greatest creed.
  • The quiet conscience is an invention of the devil.
  • Reverence for life is the highest court of appeal.
  • Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.
  • Every patient carries his or her own doctor inside.
  • Only through love can we obtain communion with God.
  • Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.
  • Soldiers’ graves are the greatest preachers of peace.
  • World-view is a product of life-view, not vice versa.
  • If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  • Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.
  • What we call love is in its essence reverence for life.
  • That’s my private ant. You’re liable to break its legs.
  • A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.
  • It is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest.
  • Knowing all truth is less than doing a little bit of good.
  • Grow into your ideals so that life cannot rob you of them.
  • An idea is, in the end, always stronger than circumstances.
  • A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him.
  • We need a boundless ethics which will include animals also.
  • If you truly desire happiness, seek and learn how to serve.
  • Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
  • From naive simplicity we arrive at more profound simplicity.
  • The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.
  • Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation.
  • Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.
  • The spirit of the age is filled with the disdain for thinking.
  • Not only is example the best way to teach, it is the only way.
  • Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always.
  • Let us rejoice in the truth, wherever we find its lamp burning.
  • Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.
  • We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.
  • You don’t live in a world all alone. Your brothers are here too.
  • Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.
  • I am life which wants to live admidst of lives that want to live.
  • Ethical existence [is] the highest manifestation of spirituality.
  • Renunciation of thinking is a declaration of spiritual bankruptcy.
  • Good is that which promotes life, evil is that which destroys life
  • Love . . . includes fellowship in suffering, in joy and in effort.
  • Reverence for life affords me my fundamental principle of morality.
  • For those who sincerely seek the truth should not fear the outcome.
  • The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery.
  • Be faithful to your love and you mill be recompensed beyond measure.
  • The city of truth cannot be built on the swampy ground of skepticism.
  • I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.
  • Love is the only thing that increases twofold every time it is shared.
  • There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
  • We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
  • Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose.
  • Think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flames within us.
  • We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government.
  • Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.
  • Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
  • Even if it is a little thing, do something for those who have need of help.
  • It is a man’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.
  • Don’t let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.
  • Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice
  • Only those who respect the personality of others can be of real use to them.
  • The only ones who will find real happiness are those who find a way to serve
  • The African is my brother but he is my younger brother by several centuries.
  • Search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
  • If you own something you cannot give away, then you don’t own it, it owns you.
  • I too had thoughts once of being an intellectual, but I found it too difficult.
  • The ethic of Reverence for Life is the ethic of Love widened into universality.
  • He who does not reflect his life back to God in gratitude does not know himself.
  • Serious illness doesn’t bother me for long because I am too inhospitable a host.
  • If you study life deeply, its profundity will seize you suddenly with dizziness.
  • Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
  • In resigning ourselves to our fate without a struggle, we are guilty of inhumanity.
  • The most difficult thing I have ever had to do is follow the guidance I prayed for.
  • Every person I have known who has been truly happy has learned how to serve others.
  • To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted.
  • There can be no Kingdom of God in the world without the Kingdom of God in our hearts.
  • Hear our humble prayer, O God. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to the animals.
  • It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed.
  • Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.
  • Bach is thus a terminal point. Nothing comes from him; everything merely leads to him.
  • As we acquire knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible, but more mysterious.
  • The only way out of today’s misery is for people to become worthy of each other’s trust.
  • By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive.
  • For us the great men are not those who solved the problems, but those whodiscovered them.
  • In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.
  • The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used to failing.
  • There is much coldness among men because we do not dare to be as cordial as we really are.
  • Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.
  • Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.
  • The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.
  • Help me to fling my life like a flaming firebrand into the gathering darkness of the world.
  • The three most important ways to lead people are:… by example… by example… by example.
  • The interior joy we feel when we have done a good deed is the nourishment the soul requires.
  • The gratitude ascending from man to God is the supreme transaction between earth and heaven.
  • The only thing of importance, when we depart, will be the traces of love we have left behind.
  • The Christ of Theology is not alive for us today. He is wrapped in the grave cloths of dogma.
  • Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality.
  • The stronger the reverence for natural life, the stronger grows also that for spiritual life.
  • If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.
  • A thinking man feels compelled to approach all life with the same reverence he has for his own.
  • All the kindness which a man puts out into the world works on the heart and thoughts of mankind.
  • The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics.
  • We are united with all life that is in nature. Man can no longer live his life for himself alone.
  • By ethical conduct toward all creatures, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the universe.
  • Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility with regard to everything that has life.
  • No one may shut his eyes to think the pain, which is therefore not visible to him, is non-existent.
  • Does my behavior in respect of love affect nothing? That is because there is not enough love in me.
  • Ideals are thoughts. So long as they exist merely as thoughts, the power in them remains ineffective.
  • Thought is the strongest thing we have. Work done by true and profound thought – that is a real force.
  • The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not.
  • At that point in life where your talent meets the needs of the world, that is where God wants you to be.
  • Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.
  • One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.
  • Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.
  • We cannot possibly let ourselves get frozen into regarding everyone we do not know as an absolute stranger.
  • The thinking man must oppose all cruelties no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo.
  • Because I have confidence in the power of truth, and of the spirit, I have confidence in the future of mankind.
  • All people are endowed with the faculty of compassion, and for this reason can develop the humanitarian spirit.
  • The result of the voyage does not depend on the speed of the ship, but on whether or not it keeps a true course.
  • Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
  • I am conscious that meat eating is not in accordance with the finer feelings, and I abstain from it whenever I can.
  • The harvested fields bathed in the autumn mist speak of God and his goodness far more vividly than any human lips.
  • A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day.
  • At 20 everyone has the face that God gave them, at 40 the face that life gave them, and at 60 the face they earned.
  • The highest proof of the spirit is love. Love the eternal thing which can already on earth possess as it really is.
  • The greatest living person in the world is some individual who at this very moment has gone in love to help another.
  • The true worth of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colours and textures that come alive in others.
  • Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life it is bad to damage and destroy life.
  • It seemed to me a matter of course that we should all take our share of the burden of pain which lies upon the world.
  • Our age is bent on trying to make the barren tree of skepticism fruitful by tying the fruits of truth on its branches.
  • I have always held firmly to the thought that each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.
  • Therapy is the boat across the river, but most don’t want to get off. Don’t blame, forgive, All healing is self-healing
  • O heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath: guard them from all evil and let them sleep in peace.
  • Every start on an untrodden path is a venture which only in unusual circumstances looks sensible and likely to succeed.
  • If the extension of your compassion does not include all living beings, then you will be unable to find peace by yourself.
  • The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions.
  • Creative energy is the essence of all healing…We physicians do nothing, we only help and encourage the physician within.
  • …try to tell the people of America about Dr. Gerson’s merits and …results…I wish you the best in your difficult task.
  • As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.
  • The gratitude that we encounter helps us believe in the goodness of the world, and strengthens us thereby to do what’s good.
  • Reverence for life brings us into a spiritual relation with the world which is independent of all knowledge of the universe.
  • Reverence for life is the most direct and at the same time the profoundest achievement of my will-to-live.
  • Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
  • It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help. And encourage the doctor within.
  • Where principles and heart stand in conflict with each other, let us make the law of the spirit free from the law of principles.
  • To me, good health is more than just exercise and diet. Its really a point of view and a mental attitude you have about yourself.
  • The disastrous feature of our civilization is that it is far more developed materially than spiritually. Its balance is disturbed.
  • To the truly ethical man, all of life is sacred, including forms of life that from the human point of view may seem lower than ours.
  • I wanted to be a doctor that I might be able to work without having to talk because for years I had been giving myself out in words.
  • It doesn’t matter if an animal can reason. It matters only that it is capable of suffering and that is why I consider it my neighbor.
  • It’s not enough merely to exist. Every man has to seek in his own way to make his own self more noble and to relize his own true worth.
  • Any profound view of the world is mysticism. It has, of course, to deal with life and the world, both of which are nonrational entities.
  • Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
  • Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
  • It seemed incredible to me, that physical courage should be so commonplace and revered, while moral courage . . . is so rare and despised.
  • We all owe to others much of the gentleness and wisdom that we have made our own; and we may well ask ourselves what will others owe to us
  • The the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hope are optimistic.
  • In case my life should end with the cannibals, I hope they will write on my tombstone, ‘We have eaten Dr. Schweitzer. He was good to the end.’
  • Truth has not special time of its own. Its hour is now – always and, indeed then most truly, when it seems unsuitable to actual circumstances.
  • An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colorblind.
  • Those who experiment on animals should never be able to quiet their own conscience by telling themselves that these cruelties have a worthy aim.
  • We must never allow the voice of humanity within us to be silenced. It is humanity’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes us truly human.
  • I am certain and have always stressed that the destination of mankind is to become more and more humane. The ideal of humanity has to be revived.
  • Do not lose heart, even if you must wait a bit before finding the right thing. Be prepared for disappointment also, but do not abandon the quest.
  • When we observe contemporary society one thing strikes us. We debate but make no progress. Why? Because as peoples we do not yet trust each other.
  • By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.
  • A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.
  • Today . . . we know that all living beings who strive to maintain life and who long to be spared pain – all living beings on earth – are our neighbors.
  • Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.
  • Mysticism occurs whenever a human being sees the separation between the natural and the supernatural, between the temporal and the eternal, as overcome.
  • Within every patient there resides a doctor, and we as physicians are at our best when we we put our patients in touch with the doctor inside themselves.
  • No man need fear death, he need fear only that he may die without having known his greatest power: the power of his free will to give his life for others
  • Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it.
  • Affirmation of the world, which means affirmation of the will-to-live that manifests itself around me, is only possible if I devote myself to other life.
  • The last fact which knowledge can discover is that the world is a manifestation, and in every way a puzzling manifestation, of the universal will to live.
  • In the same way as the tree bears the same fruit year after year, but each time new fruit, all lastingly valuable ideas in thinking must always be reborn.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe.
  • It is through the idealism of youth that man catches sight of truth, and in that idealism he possesses a wealth which he must never exchange for anything else.
  • We need a boundless ethic, one which will include the animals, too. Until we extend the circle of his compassions to all living things, we will not find peace.
  • Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.
  • Day by day we should weigh what we have granted to the spirit of the world against what we have denied to the spirit of Jesus, in thought and especially in deed.
  • A heavy guilt rests upon us for what the whites of all nations have done to the colored peoples. When we do good to them, it is not benevolence–it is atonement.
  • True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness: “I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live.”
  • 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.
  • I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
  • God much are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, Gratitude ‚Äî the Secret of Life.
  • Man’s ethics must not end with man, but should extend to the universe. He must regain the consciousness of the great Chain of Life from which he cannot be separated.
  • Only when an ideal of peace is born in the minds of the peoples will the institutions set up to maintain this peace effectively fulfill the function expected of them.
  • Our degeneration, when it is traced back to its origin in our view of the world really consists in the fact that true optimism has vanished unperceived from our midst.
  • Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others. We must all carry our share of the misery which lies upon the world.
  • The demands of Jesus are difficult just because they require us to do something extraordinary. At the same time he asks us to regard these as something usual, ordinary.
  • Each act of unfaithfulness toward our inner being is a blot on our souls. If we continue to be unfaithful, our souls are eventually torn apart and we slowly bleed to death.
  • It is only through love that we can attain to communion with God. All living knowledge of God rests upon this foundation: that we experience him in our lives as Will-to-love.
  • Everything deep is also simple and can be reproduced simply as long as its reference to the whole truth is maintained. But what matters is not what is witty but what is true.
  • What has been presented as Christianity during these nineteen centuries is only a beginning, full of mistakes, not full blown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.
  • Seek always to do some good, somewhere… Even if it’s a little thing, so something for those that need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
  • Jesus as a concrete historical personality remains a stranger to our time, but His spirit, which lies hidden in His words, is known in simplicity, and its influence is direct.
  • At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
  • Don’t stop to ask whether the animal or plant you meet deserves your sympathy, or how much it feels, or even whether it can feel at all: respect it and consider all life sacred.
  • Just as white light consists of colored rays, so reverence for life contains all the components of ethics: love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness and power to forgive.
  • The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.
  • One truth stands firm. All that happens in world history rests on something spiritual. If the spiritual is strong, it creates world history. If it is weak, it suffers world history.
  • My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself.  If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see.
  • We must all die. But that I can save him from days of torture, that is what I feel as my great and ever new privilege. Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.
  • The man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life in his own.
  • 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.
  • Profound love demands a deep conception and out of this develops reverence for the mystery of life. It brings us close to all beings, to the poorest and smallest as well as all others.
  • Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, …, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase ‚ÄúEhrfurcht vor dem Leben‚Äù (‚Äúreverence for life‚Äù).
  • Not less strong than the will to truth must be the will to sincerity. Only an age, which can show the courage of sincerity, can possess truth, which works as a spiritual force within it.
  • A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.
  • We all know how important love is, yet how often is it really emoted or exhibited? What so many sick people in this world suffer from-loneliness, boredom and fear-can’t be cured with a pill.
  • The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature.
  • I always think that we live, spiritually, By what others have given us in the significant hours of our life. These significant hours do not announce themselves as coming, but arrive unexpected.
  • 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. Extract from ‘Memories of childhood and youth.’
  • We ought all to make an effort to act on our first thoughts and let our unspoken gratitude find expression. Then there will be more sunshine in the world, and more power to work for what is good.
  • Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.
  • Man can no longer live his life for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe.
  • Thinking about death… produces love for life. When we are familiar with death, we accept each week, each day, as a gift. Only if we are able thus to accept life bit by bit does it become precious.
  • You must learn to understand the secret of gratitude. It is more than just so-called virtue. It is revealed to you as a mysterious law of existence. In obedience to it we have to fulfill our destiny.
  • I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics.
  • It is not enough to merely exist. It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m earning enough to live and support my family. I do my work well. I’m a good parent.’ That’s all very well. But you must do something more.
  • 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.
  • There is within each of us a modulation, an inner exaltation, which lifts us above the buffetings with which events assail us. Likewise, it lifts us above dependence upon the gifts of events for our joy.
  • I look back upon my youth and realize how so many people gave me help, understanding, courage – very important things to me – and they never knew it. They entered into my life and became powers within me.
  • Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own
  • A man who possesses a veneration of life will not simply say his prayers. He will throw himself into the battle to preserve life, if for no other reason than that he himself is an extension of life around him.
  • The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.
  • No ray of sunlight is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith.
  • The future of civilization depends on our overcoming the meaninglessness and hopelessness which characterize the thoughts and convictions of men today, and reaching a state of fresh hope and fresh determination.
  • Who shall enumerate the many ways in which that costly piece of fixed capital, a human being , may be employed! More of him is wanted everywhere! Hunt, then, for some situation in which your humanity may be used.
  • I do not know what your destiny may be, but I do know this, that not one of you will find the happiness that each of you is seeking until you have first sought and found a way in which to unselfishly serve others.
  • Living truth is that alone which has its origins in thinking. Just as a tree bears year after year the same fruit which is each year new, so must all permanently valuable ideas be continually born again in thought.
  • Awakening of Western thought will not be complete until that thought steps outside itself and comes to an understanding with the search for a world-view as this manifests itself in the thought of mankind as a whole.
  • We are compelled by the commandment of love contained in our hearts and thought, and proclaimed by Jesus, to give rein to our natural sympathy for animals. We are also compelled to help them and spare them suffering.
  • Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage.
  • Nature compels us to recognize the fact of mutual dependence, each life necessarily helping the other lives who are linked to it. In the very fibers of our being, we bear within ourselves the fact of the solidarity of life.
  • Most men are scantily nourished on a modicum of happiness and a number of empty thoughts which life lays on their plates. They are kept in the road of life through stern necessity by elemental duties which they cannot avoid.
  • Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.
  • Faith which refuses to face indisputable facts is but little faith. Truth is always gain, however hard it is to accommodate ourselves to it. To linger in any kind of untruth proves to be a departure from the straight way of faith.
  • When people have light in themselves, it will shine out from them. Then we get to know each other as we walk together in the darkness, without needing to pass our hands over each other’s faces, or to intrude into each other’s hearts.
  • Cold completely introspective logic places a philosopher on the road to the abstract. Out of this empty, artificial act of thinking there can result, of course, nothing which bears on the relation of man to himself, and to the universe.
  • In modern European thought a tragedy is occurring in that the original bonds uniting the affirmative attitude towards the world with ethics are, by a slow but irresistible process, loosening and finally parting. Out of my life and Thought.
  • The fellowship of those who bear the mark of pain: who are the members of this Fellowship? Those who have learnt by experience what physical pain and bodily anguish mean, belong together all the world over; they are united by a secret bond.
  • Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.
  • Jesus means something to our world because a mighty spiritual force streams forth from him and flows through our being also. This fact can neither be shaken nor confirmed by any historical discovery. It is the solid foundation of Christianity.
  • The great fault of all ethics hitherto has been that they believed themselves to have to deal only with the relations of man to man. In reality, however, the question is what is his attitude to the world and all life that comes within his reach.
  • Ethics are complete, profound and alive only when addressed to all living beings. Only then are we in spiritual connection with the world. Any philosophy not representing this, not based on the indefinite totality of life, is bound to disappear.
  • The friend of nature is the man who feels himself inwardly united with everything that lives in nature, who shares in the fate of all creatures, helps them when he can in their pain and need, and as far as possible avoids injuring or taking life.
  • 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.
  • We are gripped by God’s will of love, and must help carry out that will in this world, in small things as in great things, in saving as in pardoning. To be glad instruments of God‚Äôs love in this imperfect world is the service to which we are called.
  • You must not expect anything from others. It’s you, of yourself, of whom you must ask a lot. Only from oneself has one the right to ask everything and anything. This way it’s up to you – your own choices – what you get from others remains a present, a gift.
  • If you are called upon to play a church service, it is a greater honor than if you were to play a concert on the finest organ in the world… Thank God each time when you are privileged to sit before the organ console and assist in the worship of the Almighty.
  • The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.
  • What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shakes us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.
  • The great secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up. That is possible for those who never argue and strive with people and facts, but in all experience retires upon themselves, and look for the ultimate cause of things in themselves.
  • My view is that we stand up for treating the animals in a considerate way, for completely renouncing the eating of meat and also for speaking out against it. This is what I do myself. And in this way many a one becomes aware of a problem that was put forward so late.
  • The quiet conscience is the invention of the devil. No one of us may permit any preventable pain to be inflicted even though the responsibility for that pain is not ours. No one may shut his eyes and think that the pain which is therefore not visible, is non-existent.
  • “I used to suffer particularly because the poor animals must endure so much pain and want. The sight of an old, limping horse being dragged along by one man while another man struck him with a stick he was being driven to the Colmar slaughterhouse – haunted me for weeks.”
  • Pablo Casals is a great musician in all he does: a cellist without equal, and extraordinary conductor and composer with something to say. I have been profoundly impressed by all I have heard of his work, but he is a musician of this stature because he is also a great man.
  • We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Most certainly I am! I cannot escape my responsibility by saying the State will do all that is necessary. It is a tragedy that nowadays so many think and feel otherwise.
  • The witch doctor succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us succeed. Each patient carries his or her own doctor inside him or her. They come to us not knowing that truth. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.
  • When man learns to respect even the smallest being of creation…nobody has to teach him to love his fellow man. Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
  • 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?
  • All art speaks in signs and symbols. No one can explain how it happens that the artist can waken to life in us the existence that he has seen and lives through. No artistic speech is the adequate expression of what it represents; its vital force comes from what is unspoken in it.
  • Your life is something opaque, not transparent, as long as you look at it in an ordinary human way. But if you hold it up against the light of God’s goodness, it shines and turns transparent, radiant and bright. And then you ask yourself in amazement: Is this really my own life I see before me?
  • I do not believe that we can put into anyone ideas which are not in him already. As a rule there are in everyone all sorts of good ideas, ready like tinder. But much of this tinder catches fire, or catches it successfully, only when it meets some flame or spark from outside, i.e., from some other person.
  • Because I have confidence in the power of truth and in the spirit, I believe in the future of mankind. Affirmation of the world and of life contains within itself an optimistic willing and hoping which can never be lost. It is, therefore, never afraid to face the dismal reality and to see it as it really is.
  • Open your eyes and look for some man, or some work for the sake of men, which needs a little time, a little friendship, a little sympathy, a little sociability, a little human toil….It is needed in every nook and corner. Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity.
  • In the past we have tried to make a distinction between animals which we acknowledge have some value and other which, having none, can be liquidated when we wish. This standard must be abandoned. Everything that lives has value simply as a living thing, as one of the manifestations of the mystery that is life.
  • Jesus no doubt fits his teaching into the late-Jewish messianic dogma. But he does not think dogmatically. He formulates no doctrine. He is far from judging any man’s belief by reference to any standard of dogmatic correctness. Nowhere does he demand of his hearers that they shall sacrifice thinking to believing.
  • Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.
  • Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more on it. A strength which becomes clearer and stronger through experiences of such obstacles is the only strength that can conquer them. Resistance is only a waste of strength.
  • In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace. When the true spirit of peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities. Only when this really happens – when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession of men’s hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing.
  • Man has become a superman … because he not only disposes oinnate, physical forces, but because he is in command … olatent forces in nature and because he can put them to his service…. But the essential fact we must surely all feel in our hearts … is that we are becoming inhuman in proportion as we become supermen.
  • If there is anything I have learned about men and women, it is that there is a deeper spirit of altruism than is ever evident. Just as the rivers we see are minor compared to the underground streams, so, too, the idealism that is visible is minor compared to what people carry in their hearts unreleased or scarcely released.
  • Where possible Paul avoids quoting the teaching of Jesus, in fact even mentioning it. If we had to rely on Paul, we should not know that Jesus taught in parables, had delivered the sermon on the mount, and had taught His disciples the ‘Our Father.’ Even where they are specially relevant, Paul passes over the words of the Lord.
  • Whatever you have received more than others-in health, in talents, in ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of home life-all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for your good fortune, you must remember in return some sacrifice of your own life for another life.
  • The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery. Neither knowledge nor hope for the future can be the pivot of our life or determine its direction. It is intended to be solely determined by our allowing ourselves to be gripped by the ethical God, who reveals Himself in us, and by our yielding our will to His.
  • We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.
  • Never for a moment do we lay aside our mistrust of the ideals established by society, and of the convictions which are kept by it in circulation. We always know that society is full of folly and will deceive us in the matter of humanity. … humanity meaning consideration for the existence and the happiness of individual human beings.
  • Kindness works simply and perseveringly; it produces no strained relations which prejudice its working; strained relations which already exist it relaxes. Mistrust and misunderstanding it puts to flight, and it strengthens itself by calling forth answering kindness. Hence it is the furthest reaching and the most effective of all forces.
  • For animals that are overworked, underfed, and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death…and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.
  • The elemental fact, present in our consciousness every moment of our existence, is: I am life that wills to live, in the midst of life that wills to live…. The essence of the humane spirit is: Preserve life, promote life, help life to achieve its highest destiny. The essence of Evil is: Destroy life, harm life, hamper the development of life
  • I still remain convinced that truth, love, peaceableness, meekness, and kindness are the violence which can master all other violence. The world will be theirs as soon as ever a sufficient number of people with purity of heart, with strength, and with perseverance think and live out the thoughts of love and truth, of meekness and peaceableness.
  • What the activity of this disposition of ours means in the evolution of the world, we do not know. Nor can we regulate this activity from outside; we must leave entirely to each individual its shaping and its extension. From every point of view, then, world- and life-affirmation and ethics are non-rational, and we must have the courage to admit it.”
  • The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education.
  • No one can give a definition of the soul. But we know what it feels like. The soul is the sense of something higher than ourselves, something that stirs in us thoughts, hopes, and aspirations which go out to the world of goodness, truth and beauty. The soul is a burning desire to breathe in this world of light and never to lose it–to remain children of light.
  • We wander through this life together in a semi-darkness in which none of us can distinguish exactly the features of his neighbour. Only from time to time, through some experience that we have of our companion, or through some remark that he passes, he stands for a moment close to us, as though illuminated by a flash of lightning. Then we see him as he really is.
  • Who can describe the injustice and the cruelties that in the course of centuries the peoples of color of the world have suffered at the hands of Europeans?… We and our civilization are burdened, really, with a great debt. We are not free to confer benefits on these men, or not, as we please; it is our duty. Anything we give them is not benevolence but atonement.
  • To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that stands behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
  • Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world – that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me – is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.
  • We cannot understand what happens in the universe. What is glorious in it is united with what is full of horror. What is full of meaning is united to what is senseless. The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive ‚Äî it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle. And we must inevitably resign ourselves to this.
  • 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 when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.
  • But the others, those who tried to bring Jesus to life at the call of love, found it a cruel task to be honest. The critical study of the life of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty. The world had never seen before, and will never see again, a struggle for truth so full of pain and renunciation as that of which the Lives of Jesus of the last hundred years contain the cryptic record.
  • 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.
  • I do not want to frighten you by telling you about the temptations life will bring. Anyone who is healthy in spirit will overcome them. But there is something I want you to realize. It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won’t realize until it will be too late.
  • I believe that I possess this value: to serve Jesus. I am less at peace than if my goal would be to attain a professorship and a good life, but I live. And that gives me the tremendous feeling of happiness, as if one would hear music. One feels uprooted, because one asks, what lies ahead, what decisions should I make-but more alive, happier than those anchored in life. To drift with released anchor.
  • The ethic of Reverence for Life prompts us to keep each other alert to what troubles us and to speak and act dauntlessly together in discharging the responsibility that we feel. It keeps us watching together for opportunities to bring some sort of help to animals in recompense for the great misery that men inflict upon them, and thus for a moment we escape from the incomprehensible horror of existence.
  • Reverence for life . . . does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful . . . the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many. . . . It refuses to let the business man imagine that he fulfills all legitimate demands in the course of his business activities. It demands from all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives for others.
  • Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it – a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
  • There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.
  • Ethics cannot be based upon our obligations toward people, but they are complete and natural only when we feel this Reverence for Life and the desire to have compassion for and to help all creatures insofar as it is in our power. I think that this ethic will become more and more recognized because of its great naturalness and because it is the foundation of a true humanism toward which we must strive if our culture is to become truly ethical.
  • Ethics has not only to do with mankind but with the animal creation as well. This is witnessed in the purpose of St. Francis of Assisi. Thus we shall arrive that ethics is reverence for all life. This is the ethic of love widened universally. It is the ethic of Jesus now recognized as a necessity of thought…Only a universal ethic which embraces every living creature can put us in touch with the universe and the will which is there manifest.
  • Once a man recognizes himself as a being surrounded by other beings in this world and begins to respect his life and take it to the highest value, he becomes a thinking being. Then he values other lives and experiences them as part of his own life. With that, his goal is to help everyone take their life to the highest value; anything which limits or destroys a life is evil. That is morality. That is how men are related to the world around them.
  • 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
  • The study of the Life of Jesus has had a curious history. It set out in quest of the historical Jesus, believing that when it had found Him it could bring Him straight into our time as a Teacher and Saviour. … But He does not stay; He passes by our time and returns to His own… He returned to His own time, not owing to the application of any historical ingenuity, but by the same inevitable necessity by which the liberated pendulum returns to its original position.
  • You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . . There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.  Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming.  That is why you have to be careful.  As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning.  You should realize your soul suffers if you live superficially.
  • The mistake made by all previous systems of ethics has been the failure to recognize that life as such is the mysterious value with which they have to deal. All spiritual life meets us within natural life. Reverence for life, therefore, is applied to natural life and spiritual life alike. In the parable of Jesus, the shepherd saves not merely the soul of the lost sheep but the whole animal. The stronger the reverence for natural life, the stronger grows also that for spiritual life.
  • He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.
  • The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also. My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to it. If I want others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see however strange it may be to mine. Ethics in our western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relation of man to man… but that is a limited ethics.
  • I have given up the ambition to be a great scholar. I want to be more- simply a human. . . . We are not true humans, but beings who live by a civilization inherited from the past, that keeps us hostage, that confines us. No freedom of movement. Nothing. Everything in us is killed by our calculations for our future, by our social position and cast. You see, I am not happy-yet I am happy. I suffer, but that is part of life. I live, I don’t care about my existence, and that is the beginning of wisdom.
  • 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.
  • To the man who is truly ethical all life is sacred, including that which from the human point of view seems lower in the scale. He makes distinctions only as each case comes before him, and under the pressure of necessity, as, for example, when it falls to him to decide which of two lives he must sacrifice in order to preserve the other. But all through this series of decisions he is conscious of acting on subjective grounds and arbitrarily, and knows that he bears the responsibility for the life which is sacrificed.
  • Rational thinking which is free from assumptions ends therefore in mysticism. To relate oneself in the spirit of reverence for life to the multiform manifestations of the will-to-live which together constitute the world is ethical mysticism. All profound world-view is mysticism, the essence of which is just this: that out of my unsophisticated and na√Øve existence in the world there comes, as a result of thought about self and the world, spiritual self-devotion to the mysterious infinite Will which is continuously manifested in the universe.
  • What does Reverence for Life say abut the relations between humanity and the animal world? Whenever I injury any kind of life I must be quite certain that it is necessary. I must never go beyond the unavoidable, not even in apparently insignificant things. The farmer who has mowed down a thousand flowers in his meadow in order to feed his cows must be careful on his way home not to strike the head off a single flower by the side of the road in idle amusement, for he thereby infringes on the law of life without being under the pressure of necessity.
  • Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it. A new public opinion must be created privately and unobtrusively. The existing one is maintained by the press, by propaganda, by organization, and by financial influences which are at its disposal. The unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness of new truth.
  • It is not enough merely to exist. It’s not enough to say, “I’m earning enough to support my family. I do my work well. I’m a good father, husband, churchgoer.” That’s all very well. But you must do something more. Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.
  • To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will-to-life. At the same time the man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life as his own. He accepts as being good: to preserve 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.
  • Thought cannot avoid the ethical or reverence and love for all life. It will abandon the old confined systems of ethics and be forced to recognize the ethics that knows no bounds. But on the other hand, those who believe in love for all creation must realize clearly the difficulties involved in the problem of a boundless ethic and must be resolved not to veil from humankind the conflicts which this ethic will involve us, but allow us really to experience them. To think out in every implication the ethic of love for all creation this is the difficult task which confronts our age.