I and Thou Thinking

In his 1923 book I and Thou, the philosopher Martin Buber draws a distinction between what he calls I-It and I-Thou ways of seeing. In I-It, the other (a thing or a person) is an “it” that exists only as an instrument or means to an end, something to be appropriated by the “I.” A person who only knows I-It will never encounter anything outside himself because he does not truly “encounter.” Buber writes that such a person “only knows the feverish world out there and his feverish desire to use it…When he says You, he means: You, my ability to use!”9 In contrast to I-it, I-Thou recognizes the irreducibility and absolute equality of the other. In this configuration, I meet you “thou” in your fullness by giving you my total attention; because I neither project nor “interpret” you, the world contracts into a moment of a magical exclusivity between you and me. In I-Thou, the “thou” does not need to be a person; famously, Buber gives the example of different ways of looking at a tree, all but one of which he classifies as I-It. He can “accept it as a picture,” describing its visual elements; he can consider an instance of a species, an expression of natural law, or a pure relation of numbers. “Throughout all of this the tree remains my object and has its place and its time span, its kind and condition,” he says. But then there is the I-Thou option: “it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It. The power of exclusiveness has seized me.”10


Folksonomies: mindfulness

/religion and spirituality/judaism (0.730872)
/family and parenting/children (0.599317)
/society/social institution/divorce (0.596784)

I and Thou (0.981752): dbpedia_resource
Martin Buber (0.963068): dbpedia_resource
Law (0.896043): dbpedia_resource
Philosophy (0.637645): dbpedia_resource
Immanuel Kant (0.631757): dbpedia_resource
Nature (0.585671): dbpedia_resource
Alterity (0.535194): dbpedia_resource
Continental philosophy (0.500045): dbpedia_resource

 How to Do Nothing
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Odell, Jenny (2019-05-07), How to Do Nothing, Retrieved on 2023-09-23
Folksonomies: new media cyberpunk