This week marked the birthday of theologian Martin Buber…
In the fragmented world driven by social media, Martin Buber’s words give us the compelling hope of being in conversation and being present with others. They orient us toward the shalom that God intends for creation.
Here are 5 important passages that illuminate the virtues of conversation in the present age…
A Genuine We
For the typical man of today the flight from responsible personal existence has singularly polarized. Since he is not willing to answer for the genuineness of his existence, he flees either into the general collective which takes from him his responsibility or into the attitude of a self who has to account to no one but himself. … The clearest mark of this kind of man is that he cannot really listen to the voice of another; in all his hearing, as in all his seeing, he mixes observation. This other is not the man over against him whose claim stands over against his own in equal right; the other is only his object. But he who existentially knows no Thou will never succeed in knowing a We.
In our age in which the true meaning of every word is encompassed by delusion and falsehood, and the original intention of the human glance is stifled by tenacious mistrust, it is of decisive importance to find again the genuineness of speech and existence as We. … Man will not persist in existence if he does not learn anew to persist in it as a genuine We.
- “What is Common to All”
in Martin Buber On Psychology and Psychotherapy: Essays, Letters, and Dialogue
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