By A. G. Rud (auth.)
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Extra info for Albert Schweitzer’s Legacy for Education: Reverence for Life
He worries about the amount of time he is spending with his students, and is admonished by his colleagues and supervisor for this commitment. ”32 Clearly Schweitzer is in a spiritual crisis and seems determined to follow a path that will lead him away from a respectable, bourgeois career as a pastor and scholar. ”35 Hélène shares with him information about their increasing interest in conditions of the Congo, and the atrocities that were committed there: “I told my parents about this evening, 34 ALBERT SCHWEITZER’S LEGACY FOR EDUCATION and for the first time, mentioned the Congo to them.
46 However this relationship through letters and infrequent meetings is almost wholly onesided. It is his Aunt Tata who states to him what was becoming increasingly apparent: “I have lived with you long enough to know that the woman who will share your life will suffer often and deeply by being bound to a human being who is so engrossed in his work and his thoughts. . She will have to give up a great deal, your H. ”47 The letter is remarkable in its admission of the care and attention that Schweitzer felt for Hélène.
This parable is part of Schweitzer’s answer to the question he poses regarding how he came to where he was in late middle age: “I gave up my position of professor in the University of Strasbourg, my literary work, and my organ-playing, in order to go as a doctor to Equatorial Africa. ”27 He saw a great disparity between Europe and Africa, and believed the fruits of modern medical science as well as hard, committed labor could alleviate suffering in Africa. Many of us have done the same as Schweitzer, namely, reacted with concern and perhaps a vague plan to help when we hear about misery in a far off land, yet we have not been moved to action beyond perhaps a donation to a cause or a shared experience such as watching a telethon replete with prominent pop stars urging us to help.