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Buber: "I" and "You"

   Starting from the self, the possible relationships in the world can be roughly divided into three types: 1. I and not-me; 2. I and myself; 3. Not-me and not-me. In fact, to simplify, the world of "me" is actually composed of "me" and "not-me". And there are two kinds of "non-self": people and non-humans, such as relatives, colleagues, passers-by; landscapes, capital, houses... The problem is that, if you look carefully, "me" and "non-self" seem to be always in conflict and competition Even in a state of fighting against each other, even if this "non-self" is a relative, a colleague, or a compatriot, they belong to the same group. Harmony is either the lubricant of contradiction or a tool for coping with other "not-self". As long as human beings "occupy" more "non-self" as the purpose and motivation of life, then life will not end, and the battle between "me" and "not-self" seems to never end.

  In the 20th century, existentialist philosophy was all the rage in the West, and it extended to the fields of psychology, sociology, ethics, literature and art, and so on. Its starting point or foothold is to abandon the traditions of Western philosophy for thousands of years, such as the obsession with metaphysical ontology, etc., and to dissolve the worship of science since modern times. Heidegger said that the core fallacy of the thousands of years of Western philosophical tradition is that all discussions are about "existence", but there is no question of "existence" itself. Existentialist philosophers have deeply realized that "existence" is first and foremost the existence of human beings, and it is the existence of human beings in this world. The pros and cons of human "existence" depends on the nature of human existence in this world, first of all the nature of the relationship between "I" and "not-self" in this world. However, looking at the world of life from this point of view, it is inevitable to be pessimistic.

  Examining its core concepts, we can know its background and background. For example, "sinking" is one of the core concepts of existential philosophy. They use "sinking" to refer to people's general state of being in the world: What is "sinking"? That is, non-authentic survival. Under the pressure of "not-self", the self is forced to dissolve into others, yield to others, and live passively. Moreover, in the "vision" of others, "I" has become an instrumental existence, and to obtain value judgments based on market prices, it is essentially reduced to "things". Moreover, the "non-self" is determined according to the role marks (director, professor, migrant worker...), and the "me" is also forced to act only according to the rules of the role, and is always in confrontation with the "non-self" So "others are hell"; so "disgusting" "loneliness", even "fear and trembling". The world is unbearable, whether it is the weight of life or the lightness of life, so it goes toward nothingness in the "loud and tumult".

  Martin Buber (1878-1965), like other existential philosophers, has always focused on the "being in the world" state of human beings, facing the real world and revealing the cruelty and misery that has been veiled. As a German Jew who grew up on the eve of "World War II" and a descendant of Jewish theologians, the misery and despair of the reality accompanied him. But Buber, like other great Jews, never atrophied in his "Messiah" complex. He wanted to look for hope from despair, penetrate the darkness to let the light come, and sublime the fallen humanity into divinity.

  Following the idea of ​​​​existentialism, he emphasized that the meaning of the world lies in the relationship between people, and directly declared that "ontology is relationship". Because human cognition and spirit, from infancy, realize that "I" is "I", "I" is a unique individual, and "non-I" is the beginning of separation. But as Buber said, once "I" is said, "you" and "he" are there and present; and when "you" or "he" is said, "I" must flow out. In this way, people begin to "live" and begin to exist in human nature. That is to say, the most fundamental nature of "being in the world" is that people are related to others, and people must be "in the world" in the relationship with others. Even in seclusion in the wilderness, it is still the same mentally. Moreover, the relationship between "I" and others, that is, the "non-self" objects and relationship conditions involved in "I", determine the existence and quality of self-existence, and determine the characteristics, nature and value of my "world".

  Therefore, he believes that philosophy should try to solve human problems and free human beings from predicaments. Only by striving to improve the relationship between people, or the relationship between "me" and "not-self", can "salvation" be achieved. Everyone has their own "world", and it should even be a "world" composed of a unique "me" and "not-me". Buber's wisdom manifests itself in creatively revealing that there are essentially only two kinds of "not-I", which he calls "you" and "he (it)". A person's "non-me" is "you" or "he (it)", is it only "you", or only "he (it)", if there is both "you" and "he", then "you" and "he (it)" What is the proportion of his (it)"? And these conditions determine the nature of each person's existence. Because the world of "me and you" is very different from the world of "me and him (it)". Whether to construct "non-self" as "you" or as "he (it)" determines the shape and appearance of each person's life world, and even determines the fundamental nature of human existence.

  Of course, the philosophical "you" and "he (it)" he named, and the "you" and "he (it)" of everyday language, both have connections and have different specific connotations. So, what is "he"? Buber believes that "he (it)" is a purely objective object, or "I" regards it as an objective object, which is constructed by contacting and relating to the self in order to satisfy the desire of the self. "He (it)" is either the self's work object: clients, machines, materials, etc.; the self's living tools: books, chairs, tableware, etc.; or a member of the self's "utilitarian community": colleagues, superiors and subordinates And so on; even family and friends. For it depends not on the nature of the object, but on the attitude of the ego to the object, the nature of the ego's relationship to the object. "He (it)", as an instrumental object, a utilitarian object, is an object of experience, utilization, and satisfaction. Therefore, fundamentally speaking, "he (it)" is a functional being, not a substantive being.


Different Versions of Martin Buber's "Me and You"



  So what are the qualities of "he (it)"? First of all, "he (it)" as an individual is nothing but a collection of "labels", such as officials, willing to help, rich, male, middle-aged, thin, father and so on. That is, people recognize "he (it)" as a "kind" rather than experience it as a unique individual. The uniqueness of "he (it)" has disappeared, and it is automatically classified as "ordinary people".

  Secondly, "he (it)" can be sorted. In the consciousness or unconsciousness of "me", the "he (it)" of "me" is often automatically sorted; mainly according to whether "he (it)" can satisfy "I" "I" utilitarian needs or energy that may satisfy "I" utilitarian desires, and use this to determine "I"'s corresponding attitude and "near" distance. "He" is a superior, and "he" is a subordinate, and the attitude and response of "I" are definitely different.

  Thirdly, the "he (it)" that "he (it)" can become "me" comes from causality or causality, that is, "I" has a relationship with "he (it)", hatred and jealousy. The utilitarian causal relationship is often formed in a causal network, rather than an emotional response from the depths of the soul.
  Finally, "he (it)" is substitutable, and it is irreplaceable only in specific situations. Generally speaking, "he (it)" does not have the eternity of time and the fixation of space.
  It must be admitted that man builds the world of "his (it)", and even the development of human history lies in the extension and expansion of "his (it)" world. The so-called development of science comes from the cognition of "he (it)" and thus the conquest. One of the main spiritual motivations for the realization of modernization is to regard everything as "it", to objectify and objectify it, and to use it as a tool and resource for "I" to study and utilize. It is true that the universalization and even absoluteization of the relationship between "I" and "he (it)" has made the material world of mankind highly prosperous, so that the material wealth produced and created by mankind in the 100 years of the 20th century exceeded what mankind has produced in thousands of years. The sum of material wealth created by production. Moreover, as far as individuals are concerned, the so-called "success" and the so-called "winner in life" are often also because they can regard "non-self" as "it", and therefore can appropriately deal with it.
  However, it should also be seen that the 20th century is also the most dangerous century in human history, which may lead to the self-destruction or mutual destruction of human beings. Human beings slaughter each other on a large scale without hatred of the same kind, and even take it for granted, without any guilt or cowardice. This is necessarily related to seeing all "not-I" as "it". Treating "non-self" as "it" and equating it with "things" may lead to the emergence of the Nazis in German concentration camps and the beasts of the Nanjing Massacre in Japan. Moreover, if parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers, and friends are all in the relationship between "I" and "it", and each other is just an instrumental object, it can only be established if it has use value for each other; The problems between them are just a matter of technical settings and measures. What a terrible world this will be, isn't this "sinking"?
  As we all know, when people's material needs are basically satisfied, especially after they are rich, the biggest and most troubles, anxiety and fear of human beings often come from the relationship between people, as well as the stress and response to these relationships. Buber believes that it is because of the generalization, absolutization, and even rationalization of the "I-he (it)" relationship that the greatest dilemma of human beings is caused today. To be rescued, one can only hope for the general establishment of another relationship between "I" and "not-I": "I-you".

Martin Buber

  "You" and "he (it)" are fundamentally different. "You" is not an object, not a transitive thing of "I". "You" transcends all labels. Although "I" still does not use labels to refer to "you", any label is not enough to describe "you". This kind of reference is a kind of borrowing, a helpless borrowing. "You" is unique to "me" in the world, i.e. I have many "yous", but each "you" is unique, so "you" cannot be sorted. Between "me" and "you", there is no utilitarian consideration, no utilitarian causation, and even, I feel that "you" is irreplaceable. Transcendence is achieved in the relationship with the "not-self". That is, "you" has no sequence, no causality and no waiting. The closest "I-you" are parents and children, affectionate lovers, friends in life and death, sincere teachers and students. We can be surprised to see that the "peak experience" described by the outstanding psychologist Maslow can only occur in this "I-you" relationship. Maslow believed that only by obtaining "peak experience" many times can human nature be fulfilled and a person who can truly become a "self-actualized" person.
  Between "I-you", one life is open to the other, participating in each other's existence, taking all the otherness that "you" has as the self-nature, and thus penetrating into "you". Moreover, when working on the solid earth, you are irresistibly aware of the existence of "you", and you can tell and talk at any time, and your soul will be settled. "The silence shared by two people is even a dialogue. Even if they are separated in space, their dialogue continues to silently present each other, and continues to be unsurfaced again and again."
  Between "I-you", only Surprise, admiration, awe, admiration, and between "I-he (it)" are review, calculation, and planning. All things are hidden from the scrutiny of "it" and open to those who pour out "you"; "non-me" is suppressed and shrunk in "I-he (it)", and grows happily in "I-you". When Sartre declared that "others are hell", Buber believed that "others may well be the necessary path to heaven, and even others are heaven". The key is how you view and frame the "not-self". When Heidegger and Sartre believed that to merge with others is to lose their authenticity; Buber believed that only with "you" can the most profound human nature be presented, thus possessing divinity, and divinity is nothing more than a higher level of humanity, better human nature.
  All real and glorious life experiences meet in the dialogue of "I-you". The beauty of the world comes from the encounter of souls who love each other. Love is a flowing energy between people that can only be present in relationships. Love is not just about loving a specific object, it has a broader connotation. Because from the only "you" can be intuitive to the infinite "you". In short, the essence of "I-you" precedes "I", and the essence of "I-he (it)" precedes "I". Calling "you" is the cry of the highest level of human nature.
  However, in the existing world, how many utterances of "you" actually mean "he (it)" "; I-you" is constantly changing into "I-he (it)", and even trying to return to "I-- You' all need a divine effort. Even the soul shouts from time to time, "Do you" exist? Moreover, to survive in the real world, one must always rely on "he (it)", so can "I-you" exist? Of course there are real things, like the unconditional love parents have for their children, like great friendships, and so on. In short, man cannot exist without "he (it)", and only "he (it)" ceases to be a man.

Martin Buber

  Buber's thought seems to be based on "individuals" and is a micro-anthropological theory, but it can be raised to group anthropology as a way to resolve the differences and contradictions between groups, and even between nations and countries. possibility of a solution. Of course, as far as reality is concerned, it seems to be a utopian theory, but utopia is often the light that guides mankind forward, the light of ideals, whether it is the Confucian "Great Harmony World" or Plato's "Utopia", it is the light that leads the way. The light of human utopia. Buber mentioned in "On Judaism" that human beings are an "unconditional community of destiny", which is explained.
  His thoughts seem to be attacked, criticized, and imprecise everywhere. He abstracts the world of life too much, but he opens a window for you, a window that has been closed for too long. He provides a mode of purification between people, hoping that as an ideal, mankind will return to it.


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