The misery of humanity does not touch our hearts

The misery of mankind does not touch our heart. But the disease that we do not heal in others will ravage ourselves.

“Compassion for all creatures is what makes human beings truly human” (Albert Schweitzer).

By Rudolf Hänsel.

So far, the general consciousness of individuals and peoples does not know the answer to the question of Cain from the biblical prehistory: Shall I be my brother’s keeper (1)? A real epidemic of greed for power, lies and brutality is now killing millions of people worldwide like the plague of the Middle Ages. However, the disastrous effects of the murderous governmental “protective measures” against a supposed Corona pandemic affect our life, but they do not shake us up, we remain in lethargy.

The misery of mankind does not touch our heart

As foolish as we are, we continue to cuddle in safety while the dark clouds of this crime against humanity is gathering ominously over all of our heads. Although we are half aware that we are living on the edge of a volcano, we give in to the deceptive hope that there will be no eruption. We prefer the reassuring self-delusion to the thought of imminent danger. We want to forget the unwillingness and prefer to think about our desire for pleasure. But the principle of pleasure is unsuitable to protect the life of humans, because reality wants to be recognized and understood: whoever contradicts it will either be harmed or destroyed.

Injustice happens a thousand times, not only in faraway countries, but also in our immediate environment. But we do not get angry, we do not defend the weak and we do not help the helpless. The misery of the millions affected does not affect our hearts. By not fighting against the obvious tyranny of those in power, we permit it. We have the deceptive hope that it will leave us alone. But the moment it seizes a stranglehold on us, it is usually too late to contain it. The disease that we do not heal in others will ravage ourselves.

The “jungle doctor” Albert Schweitzer gave us an answer

Again and again one makes the harsh experience that with many fellow citizens there is no real compassion for the younger and older fellow human beings in need and suffering – or it does not show itself, does not become active. This is the only way that something can and will change in our world.

Mankind must find an answer to the question of Cain raised at the beginning: Shall I be my brother’s keeper? The German-French physician, philosopher, Protestant theologian, musicologist and pacifist Albert Schweitzer (1875 to 1965), one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1952), gave us an answer:

“Compassion for all creatures is what makes people truly human.”

When the Nazis came for the communists, I kept silent; after all, I was not a communist.

Martin Niemöller (1892 to 1984), German Protestant theologian, resistance fighter against National Socialism and prisoner in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, expressed in a few lines after this traumatic experience what it means not to have this compassion:

“First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me”


  1. Prehistory of the Bible: Genesis 4:1-16


Dr. Rudolf Hänsel is a graduate psychologist and educationalist.


Thanks to the author for the right to publish this article.


Image source: fizkes / shutterstock


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