I-Thou - New World Encyclopedia
He is best known for his book, Ich und Du (I and Thou), which distinguishes .. The “I-Thou” relation is the pure encounter of one whole unique entity with. I-Thou, theological doctrine of the full, direct, mutual relation between beings, as conceived by Martin Buber and some other 20th-century philosophers. In the I-Thou relationship, human beings are aware of each oher as having a unity of being. In the I-Thou relationship, human beings do not perceive each other.
I and Thou
I does not exist by itself. It takes on a form based on its relation with elements outside itself the other. Rather Thou refers to the presence of uniqueness and wholeness in a person that is the outcome of genuine listening and responding.
The I —Thou relationship is a two sided affair, when both the individuals enter into the conversation with their unique whole being. The relationship is reciprocal, yielding, momentary, leads to clarity and lacks permanency. I —Thou establishes a world of relation and is always in the present, that which is happening an event.
I —Thou relationships occur during relations with nature, humans or with spiritual beings. It arises both at moments of genuine dialogue or indifference. For example, it takes place when the eyes of two strangers meet on the bus before one gets off at his stop. An I —Thou relationship makes one completely human by building up our wholeness and encompasses a world of personal acquaintance. In this relationship there is close bonding that emerges from a natural association.
This is the realm of freedom. Here You alone is impossible. It regards others as objects with which one interacts to gain knowledge or experience. The focus is on conceptualizing, manipulating and accumulating things.
The relationship is one—sided, there is control and occurs in space and time. I—It establishes a world of experience and is rooted in the past.
In It, a human can feel something, imagine something or want something from the object. For example, I sit on a chair because it gives me rest, I buy milk from him because he sells milk, and she sells me the book because I would like to read it. He, she and it are serving my needs and therefore I use them. It can be said that "I" have as many distinct and different relationships with each "It" as there are "Its" in one's life. Fundamentally, "It" refers to the world as we experience it.
By contrast, the word pair I-Thou describes the world of relations. This is the "I" that does not objectify any "It" but rather acknowledges a living relationship. I-Thou relationships are sustained in the spirit and mind of an "I" for however long the feeling or idea of relationship is the dominant mode of perception. A person sitting next to a complete stranger on a park bench may enter into an "I-Thou" relationship with the stranger merely by beginning to think positively about people in general.
The stranger is a person as well, and gets instantaneously drawn into a mental or spiritual relationship with the person whose positive thoughts necessarily include the stranger as a member of the set of persons about whom positive thoughts are directed.
It is not necessary for the stranger to have any idea that he is being drawn into an "I-Thou" relationship for such a relationship to arise. But what is crucial to understand is the word pair "I-Thou" can refer to a relationship with a tree, the sky, or the park bench itself as much as it can refer to the relationship between two individuals.
The essential character of "I-Thou" is the abandonment of the world of sensation, the melting of the between, so that the relationship with another "I" is foremost. Buber's two notions of "I" require attachment of the word "I" to a word partner.
Martin Buber's I and Thou
The splitting into the individual terms "I" and "it" and "thou" is only for the purposes of analysis. Despite the separation of "I" from the "It" and "Thou" in this very sentence describing the relationship, there is to Buber's mind either an I-Thou or an I-It relationship. Every sentence that a person uses with "I" refers to the two pairs: Each It is bounded by others and It can only exist through this attachment because for every object there is another object.
Thou, on the other hand, has no limitations. What does it mean to experience the world? One goes around the world extracting knowledge from the world in experiences betokened by "He", "She", and "It". One also has I-Thou relationships.
Experience is all physical, but these relationships involve a great deal of spirituality. The twofold nature of the world means that our being in the world has two aspects: Examples[ edit ] Buber uses an example of a tree and presents five separate relations: Looking at the tree as a picture with the color and detail through the aesthetic perception.
Identifying the tree as movement.