Martin Buber Essay

5693 Words Dec 24th, 2011 23 Pages
The 20th century has seen a continuation of the battle between reason and romanticism, rationalism and mysticism. With little conflict, Darwin and Freud co-exist in the modern mind. Marx exhibited the split vision, extolling the power of practical, realistic workers who would create a utopian world. In fact, this dichotomy which began in the Renaissance and became a gaping wound in the 17th and 18th centuries as we embraced science and reason as our god, has allowed for 20th century aberrations like Hitler and his Aryan ubermenchen or Stalin and his totalitarian state. Clearly, the 20th century mind is in dire need of healing. But only reinventing a healthy vision of humans in the world, one which integrates both the rational bent …show more content…
All very well, and necessary. In fact, there is a misconception that Buber discounted the I-It, “undoubtedly caused by the pejorative connotation of the word ‘I’” (Telushkin 1991, 240-241). But Buber realized that I-It is essential for a functioning world. The danger comes in limiting relationship to I-It. If I limit my knowledge of my wife to a physical description, I never enter into relationship with her, into the I-You world. Relationship, therefore, as Buber sees it, is not rational or measurable, but intuitive, open, poised to hear and understand the unseen part of another. Today we find social emphasis is not on relationships, and this remains just as true seventy-six years after Buber first pointed out the deficiency. In our world we find a bureaucracy that prefers assigning numbers instead of names. We find neighborhoods in name only, for the neighbors don’t know each other or care to. We find streets where violent crimes take place and few even consider helping the victims. Even our language--the path to relationship--has been, all too often, debased to formulaic inanities: “How ya doin? Just great, how ‘bout you?” “Let’s do lunch” “Have a nice day.” The phrases ape fellowship, relationship, but there is no eye contact and no connection. The parties to these conversations remain in the experiential I-It world. Buber would not be surprised at the growing dissatisfaction with

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