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on 16 April 2002
This book by an eminent Jewish thinker,was first published before World War 11 and became one of the most influential books of the 20th Century.It could be described as 'religious philosophy', but it is certainly not philosophy in the conventional sense i.e. it is not a closely-reasoned argument. Indeed, it reads more like a poem in prose and needs to be read accordingly. If read slowly and with time to ponder the meaning, it yields up its treasure and is a deeply rewarding book.
Buber sees all human life as being lived in relation to the world around us: the world of things and of people. He identifies two kinds of relation: I-It and I-Thou. In general we relate to things in fhe I-It mode. Things are objects of our preception, to be observed or used etc. They are "objects" for us as "subjects." Our relation with other people is usually like this like this, sometimes inevitably e.g. the bus driver when we are a passenger; sometimes wrongly, as when we exploit people and use them for our own ends. However, we become fully human when we enter into the I-Thou mode with other people - relating to them as person to person. This is true meeting and, says, Buber, "All real living is meeting."
Love exists between people as an I-Thou meeting. "The man who does not know this, does not know love", says Buber, and he goes on to give a moving and profound account of what love really is.The I-Thou relation is also possible with other living things: a tree and his pet cat are cited as examples! God is the Eternal Thou and we can meet him only in the I-Thou mode. God can never be "It"; always "Thou". He meets us as Thou and is present in every thou.
The I-Thou relation cannot be planned or contrived. It simply happens, but only as we are open to it as possibility. To be fully human persons we have to be open to this possibility.
This is not a book for the timid, but for the adventurous in spirit. It is a demanding and challenging read, but well worth the effort. The evils of the world are, in Buber's view, the result of our failure to be open to the possibility of I-Thou and being content with I-It. There is a sgnificant message here for us at the beginning of the Twenty-first Century.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2009
I have worked as a professional counsellor for many years and I also lecture in the subject at one of our local colleges. I had a very personal view on the nature of the I and Thou relationship referred to in the title of this book. However when I read this small volume I realised that I really had a much better feeling for the whole concept. This is really a great book to buy and read and then re-read many times over, especially if you work as a person centred or experiential counsellor/psychotherapist. Highly recommended; buy it now!Person to Person : The Problem of Being Human
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on 4 April 2014
I have been wanting to read this seminal work of 20th centrury thought for a long time, and have finally got around to it. It is certainly a challenge--and intriguing too. The thesis is straightforward enough: we have two modes of interacting with the world.One, which he calls "I--It", "experiences and uses". The other, which he calls "I--Thou", is a higher function. In this mode, we enter into a living relation. Furthermore, in every "I--Thou" encounter, one can sense the presence of something divine standing behind it. In other words, God reveals Himself to us through our relationships. As Buber expands on his thesis, it gets deep and dark. I found parts of the early section a bit opaque. But I soldiered bravely on. I am glad I did. I came across passages that were wonderfully illuminating. There were some brilliant single lines, too. This is a book to go back to, after a suitable interval.

"For actually there is a cosmos for man only when the universe becomes his home, with its holy hearth whereon he offers sacrifice; there is Eros for man only when beings become for him pictures of the eternal, and community is revealed along with them; and there is logos for man only when he addresses the mystery with work and service for the spirit."
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on 17 June 2010
Buber book is deceptively deep. It ultimately posits consciousness as intersubjectively constructed and therefore echoes Heidegger's premise of being-in-the-world-with-others as the dominant feature of human-like beings (Dasein). However Buber clearly has a more elevated conception of what it is to be truly human which is spiritually and ethically aspirational. I-Thou as an idealised way of relating/meeting/encountering another is where the qualitative nature of the 'inbetween' is what is crucial to the way that we experience others. A great book for anyone inspired by the qualitative importance on many levels of human to human relationships.
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on 26 November 2006
the previous review has had unanimous praise and for a good reason - he communicates the heart of this short book very well. What surprised me with this book is the resonances I felt it had with philosophy from seemingly unrelated areas. I am thinking of Lukacs and indeed that strain marxism which is concerned with overcoming the "reification" or the objectification of people (as subjects). This chimes with the "I-thou" desire to treat people as ends-in-themselves as opposed to means, "its", towards extra-personal aims. From this perspective it is even quite an anarchistic - critiquing notions of "progress" which abstract from the personal here-and-now meeting.

Highly Recommended.
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Martin Buber has managed to introduce the essence of Mysticism, a world of illusory delights, open for your translation.
I see I and Thou as a "Philosophical Religious Poem"
It has a direct appeal to those interested in living religious experience rather than in theological debates and the rise and fall of phiolosophical schools.
It shows how the content and relation between the two worlds of I and Thou.

I can't say it is my favourite book, but I enjoyed it and found it incredibly interesting.

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on 29 March 2009
A wonderful book - but as clear as mud at times. Buber's religious and spiritual perspectives underpin this book and it absolutely radiates humanity in a way few books have ever managed.

I differ from Buber on so many theoretical points but these go out of the window - this book is an experience before it is a narrative.

Inspiring stuff.
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on 24 December 2012
I found this book really powerful stuff..deeply thought provoking..and quite transformational. I keep coming back to this concept, I will definately reread this book
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on 5 October 2013
The truth's in my title; my mind just wasn't bright enough for the book.It is a good enough book but perhaps directed towards a philosophy or theology student, rather than a layman
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on 28 July 2016
Interesting read, very memorable. Some of Buber's ideas can be difficult to twist you mind around, so reading this accompanied by a decent pint is recommended.
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