Martin Buber’s I and Thou (Ich und Du)

I’ve been thinking recently about how we treat others and how others treat others. Do we act in love? How would things be if all were treated with respect? How would people be treated? What about animals?

Martin Buber’s I and Thou (1923) is a challenging read at times, but well worth struggling through. Some of its passages require a steeping period. Parts are like poetry. I wouldn’t recommend it as a sprint read, but I definitely recommend it.

Buber has some other less well known works, but I like I and Thou best. Buber’s main idea in I and Thou is this: that we may address existence in two ways:

  • that of the “I” towards an “It”, towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience;
  • and that of the ‘I’ towards ‘Thou’, in which we move into existence in a relationship without bounds.

Have you read I and Thou? If so, maybe share a favorite passage or what you thought about it. If not, your local library has a copy.

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