Martin Buber on Relationships of Love | Sandy Kress
Martin Buber's most influential philosophic work, I and Thou “I” of the “I-Thou” relation takes place in a dialogical relationship. "The primary word I–Thou can only be spoken with the whole being. The primary word I–It can never be spoken with the whole being.". Of his many remarkable contributions, perhaps none was more significant than his introduction of the concept of I-Thou relationships. For it is in.
The movement includes the flow of the juices through the veins of the tree, the breathing of the leaves, the roots sucking the water, the never-ending activities between the tree and earth and air, and the growth of the tree. Categorizing the tree by its type; in other words, studying it. Exercising the ability to look at something from a different perspective. Interpreting the experience of the tree in mathematical terms.
I and Thou - Wikipedia
Through all of these relations, the tree is still an object that occupies time and space and still has the characteristics that make it what it is. You do not experience the human being; rather you can only relate to him or her in the sacredness of the I-Thou relation. The I-Thou relationship cannot be explained; it simply is. Nothing can intervene in the I-Thou relationship. I-Thou is not a means to some object or goal, but a definitive relationship involving the whole being of each subject.
Like the I-Thou relation, love is a subject-to-subject relationship. Love is not a relation of subject to object, but rather a relation in which both members in the relationship are subjects and share the unity of being. The ultimate Thou is God. In the I-Thou relation there are no barriers. This enables us to relate directly to God. God is ever-present in human consciousness, manifesting in music, literature, and other forms of culture.
God is now spoken to directly, not spoken about. But Buber argued that it's nonsensical to think of the self in isolation. The I exists only in relation to some other. All through life, the self is emerging out of some dialogue, either a cold, stifling one or a rich, complete one: You can only be open to them and provide fertile soil. Those people tend to have mechanical relationships. Their feelings are self-enclosed.
They don't get to experience the Thou. Others adopt a guard-down posture that is open-hearted and open-minded. They regard others as unique persons and not objects.
They have histories in which trust and vulnerability are rewarded.
Martin Buber (1878—1965)
Buber described genuine dialogue as a sort of social flow. Teachers and students are learning with each other. An audience and an artist are lost in a performance. These moments don't last.
It is the "exalted melancholy of our fate" that Thou moments always fade back into It moments.
But a world has been built during such intense moments. A binding cord has been strengthened. The person who has experienced the Thou has been thickened and come closer to wholeness.
Buber contends that the I which has no Thou has a reality which is less complete than that of the I in the I-and-Thou. The more that I-and-Thou share their reality, the more complete is their reality. According to Buber, God is the eternal Thou. God is the Thou who sustains the I-Thou relation eternally.
In the I-Thou relation between the individual and God, there is a unity of being in which the individual can always find God. In the I-Thou relation, there is no barrier of other relations which separate the individual from God, and thus the individual can speak directly to God. The eternal Thou is not an object of experience, and is not an object of thought.
- Martin Buber on Relationships of Love
- I-Thou v I-It relationships
- I and Thou
The eternal Thou is not something which can be investigated or examined. The eternal Thou is not a knowable object. However, the eternal Thou can be known as the absolute Person who gives unity to all being.
Buber also explains that the I-Thou relation may have either potential being or actual being.
However, the I-Thou relation between the individual and God does not become, or evolve from, an I-It relation, because God, as the eternal Thou, is eternally present as actual Being. Buber contends that the I-Thou relation between the individual and God is a universal relation which is the foundation for all other relations.