13 January 2007


There was a television show called Connections that showed how one thing could be connected to another across long periods of time. Almost everyone has heard of the theory of Six Degrees of Separation that says everyone on earth is connected to everyone else through a maximum of six people.

Yesterday I showed how Wyatt Earp was connected to Hugh O'Brian, to me, to my son and courtesy of his work with HOBY probably to every person on the earth. If you connect to me, then I can get you to Scotland, Eastern Europe, Australia, Africa and probably elsewhere if I check the address book.

Well, there is one more very important connection and that person's birthday is today. Dr. Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14, 1875 in Kaysersberg, Alsace, Germany.

Nobel laureate Albert Schweitzer arrived in 1913 in Lambarene, French Equatorial Africa (now Gabon), as a medical missionary. Building the hospital shown here, he treated thousands of residents before his death in 1965. His many years of humanitarian assistance made Schweitzer a model of public service for many. Today Gabon makes a national priority of maternal and infant health.

In 1958, Hugh O'Brian spent nine days with the Nobel Laureate and great humanitarian at his clinic in Africa. Dr. Schweitzer's strong belief that "the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves" was impressive. Two weeks after his return to the United States, he put Schweitzer's words into action by forming HOBY to bring groups of high school students together with a group of distinguished leaders to interact in order to teach young people "to think for themselves".

So there you have one of those strange series of relationships that extend across time, history, and geography from a lawman to an actor to a physician and humanitarian for a 150 years across three continents.

Albert Schweitzer Quotes
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.

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.

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.

Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

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.

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.

Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.

Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation.

Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.

Revenge... is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion.

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

We cannot possibly let ourselves get frozen into regarding everyone we do not know as an absolute stranger.

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.

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