A Reflection ...
Extend compassion beyond the human family
I hold empathy to be a key to the evolution of humankind, but believe that a more fair society is only possible if we extend the circle of compassion beyond the human family, to encompass all living beings.
Dr Albert Schweitzer observed that ethics in the Western world "has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is a limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also", for life in all its forms is sacred. "Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy."
To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward and to exalt the will-to-live. 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 accepts as being good is to preserve life and to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development. He accepts as being evil is 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.
Ben Noakes is Director of The Albert Schweitzer Institute (UK)
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