By Ara Paul Barsam
Albert Schweitzer maintained that the assumption of "Reverence for all times" came across him at the Ogowe River as an "unexpected discovery, like a revelation in the course of severe thought." whereas Schweitzer made various major contributions to a massive range of fields - medication, track, religious study, philosophy and theology - he seemed Reverence for all times as his maximum contribution and the single wherein he so much desired to be remembered. but this idea has been the topic of various distortions and misunderstandings, either educational and renowned. during this publication, Ara Barsam presents a brand new interpretation of Schweitzer's reverence and exhibits the way it emerged from his experiences of German philosophy, Indian religions, and his biblical scholarship on Jesus and Paul.By throwing mild at the beginning and improvement of Schweitzer's idea, Barsam leads his readers to a more in-depth appreciation of the contribution that reverence makes to present moral matters. while prior commentators have enthusiastic about "reverence for all times" as a philosophical ethic positioned in that culture, this publication demonstrates that it truly is in reality Schweitzer's theology that gives the hitherto undiscerned beginning for his ethic. Even between those that usher in Schweitzer because the one that introduced "reverence" to Christianity, there exists a bent to underemphasize how his considering additionally built from his pivotal stumble upon with Indian religions. As Barsam exhibits, it truly is most unlikely to know the character and the importance of Barsam's contribution with out addressing that link.Life-centered ethics - within the broadest feel - have persevered to flourish, but Schweitzer's pioneering contribution is usually ignored. not just did he aid identify the problem at the ethical schedule, yet, most vital, he additionally supplied a lot wanted philosophical and theological foundations. Schweitzer emerges from this severe examine of his existence and notion as a amazing person who may still rightfully be considered as an ethical significant of the twentieth-century.
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Additional info for Reverence for Life: Albert Schweitzer's Great Contribution to Ethical Thought
For Schopenhauer this is a metaphysical rather than a mystical relationship. It is simply a matter of fact to him that the inner essence of all phenomena is willto-live; there is no possibility of the human will entering into it. In the light of this, there would be no way of moving from a Schopenhauerian metaphysics of the will to a Schweitzerian ethical mysticism except via theological premises (which would radically alter the sense of that metaphysics). , God), and the divine Will is personality, then a mystical relationship such as Schweitzer proposes could not exist.
111 I’ll be damned if I recognize any objectively valid distinctions in life. Every life is sacred! . Value judgments are made out of subjective necessity, but they have no validity beyond that. The proposition that every life is sacred is absolute. In this respect I will always remain a heretic. 113 Our relation to the nonhuman world, he tells us, should not be one of moral hierarchies or instrumentality. His life-afﬁrmation is a recognition of the intrinsic value of all life. Though in practical matters humans must make decisions about the relative priority of diverse life forms, our judgment in this matter is irreducibly subjective (anthropocentric) and not to be taken as an objective measure of the value of other life forms: The ethics of reverence for life makes no distinction between higher and lower, more precious and less precious lives.
In this scheme, resignation is not related to Schweitzer’s sense of ethical activity in that Schopenhauer’s philosophy is one of abdication from the world; it means accepting the blows of fate not as a ‘‘stimulus’’ to struggle against difﬁculties but as an impetus to emancipation from the world. ’’70 Schweitzer takes the same term, but, not for the ﬁrst or last time, turns it to quite different ends than Schopenhauer: resignation helps to afﬁrm life, not deny it. Resignation, for Schopenhauer, ends in quietist retreat.