Re: can i "meet" somebody without him "meeting" me?


[ Martin Buber - Discussions ]


Written by Kevin at 28 Jun 2000 12:52:35:

As an answer to: can i written by hillel at 08 Jun 2000 22:09:41:

>>can i "meet" somebody without him "meeting" me?


The answer to your question appears early on
in I and Thou (pg. 9, second edition):

"Even if the man to whom I say 'Thou' is not
aware of it in the midst of his experience, yet
relation may exist."

The I-Thou relation (or relationship or attitude or
primary word) is always characterized by mutuality
between persons, even when "Thou" is not a human
being, but a form found in nature, an animal, a work
of art, a spirit, God, &c.

If I turn to you & utter Thou with my entire being,
then a meeting has indeed taken place between
us, whether or not you are aware of it or choose
to acknowledge me. What comes of our meeting
is another matter altogether & completely up to
us. You may choose (or choose not) to confirm
my existence by speaking the same primal word
to me in response.

Response-ability of an "I" for a "Thou" is what
Buber calls love. To act on this responsibility,
to take one's stand in love, is to actualize the
dialogical potential of the meeting, "the cradle
of Real Life."


>>can i meet a "thou" without me being his "thou"?
>>can we love somebody that is not loving us?
>>can i be a friend of somebody who is not my friend?


Yes.

Buber says in I and Thou (pg. 15):

"Love ranges in its effect through the whole
world. In the eyes of him who takes his stand
in love, and gazes out of it, men are cut free
from their entanglement in bustling activity.
Good people and evil, wise and foolish,
beautiful and ugly, become successively real
to him; that is, set free they step forth in their
singleness, and confront him as 'Thou.' "

- Kevin


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