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Chapter 3: Albert Schweitzer's
Affirmations of Reverence for Life
Prof. Marvin Meyer, Chapman University
Marvin Meyer presented this paper at the international
conference on "Albert Schweitzer at the Turn of the
Millennium," held on the campus of Chapman University on
February 19-21, 1999. The paper was given as a scholarly
meditation in the context of an all-faiths service, which also
included an ecumenical liturgy, organ music of Bach played
by Schweitzer, and African Music and Dance performed by the
Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Company of Long
Beach, California. A slightly different version of this paper
appears in Reverence for Life: The Ethic of Albert Schweitzer
for the Twenty-first Century , published by Syracuse
University Press.
One of the vivid images, among others, that comes to mind
when I think of Albert Schweitzer affirming Reverence for
Life is the image of Schweitzer with his ants. This image has
been made memorable by the dentist, artist, and author
Frederick Franck, who lived and worked with Schweitzer for a
time in the late 1950s, and described his experiences in his
book Days with Albert Schweitzer: A Lambarene Landscape .
Among the charming drawings in the book is one with the
caption "Dr. Schweitzer entertains his ants." Frederick was
kind enough to present me with an artist's proof of the