When Martin Buber -The German-Jewish Existentialist Philosopher- wrote his I and Thou, Hitler then was still in prison, and it was Buber’s opportunity to make a call, through this book, to the Germans teaching them how to establish I-Thou Relationships with the Jews, asking both to try to coexist peacefully. Buber’s message was also directed to the ‘Western Civilization’; he described these western communities as if they were living in an I-It world, incapable of establishing mutual relationships with the other. Instead they can only experience the other, analyze the other and make judgments about the other.
Such community would collapse if non-benefit relationships where established within, because these communities were built on I-It relationships. However, Buber argues, without that mutual relationship, without accepting the other as a whole in an encounter rather than an experience, people will lose the only virtue that separates man from machines.
Just when communities, organizations, peoples and individuals, no longer see Iraqi casualties but as heartbreaking objects, and start to see the world through the pain of these humans, just then everyone will feel the need to act.
As much as I am not usually excited about reading books, I and Thou, with its philosophical reflections and aphorist writing, had left me with an interesting perspective about the relationships established among and within communities; just an idea of how people are treating certain groups of people, Iraqis, Palestinians, Afghanis, Chechens, etc… and how they should treat them.
Wednesday, February 15
by Majed Jarrar at 5:12 PM