Tag Archives: I and Thou (1923)

I and Thou

In life we do have to relate in first instance to our self, next to the creation, and then last but not least to the Creator Himself.

An “I-Thou” relation with understanding of past, present and future, is essential to build up something positively constructive.

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To remember

  • Martin Buber (I and Thou, 1923)
  • Humanist variant of/alternative to existentialism: Relationship precedes essence.
  • Identity = by-product of “I-Thou” relation
Martin Buber (1878-1965)

Martin Buber (1878-1965) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding article: Curious creature or Positivist man

Next: Sacred formula of positivism

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shakemyheadhollow

The way I read the Jewish theologian, Martin Buber (I and Thou, 1923), he offers a humanist variant of/alternative to existentialism. Where Sartre might say, “Existence precedes essence,” Buber might say, “Relationship precedes essence.” In contrast to the stark “thrownness” of the existentialist, who finds himself alone in an indifferent universe, Buber finds identity itself to be a by-product of the “I-Thou” relation (connections both to fellow humankind and to Being itself). Having shuffled off the existentialist’s burden of aloneness, however, Buber is not exactly the Walmart greeter to Happy Valley. Like the existentialist, he is weighed down with responsibility. For now he carries forever — past, present, and future – the built-in burden of all that connection, the “exalted melancholy of our fate” (16).

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