Martin Buber


Austrian-born Israeli Jewish Theologian, Philosopher and Writer

Author Quotes

The other basic word is the word pair I-It; but this basic word is not changed when He or She takes the place of It.

The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold attitude.

To look away from the world, or to stare at it, does not help a man to reach God; but he who sees the world in Him stands in His presence.

When Thou is spoken, the speaker has no thing; he has indeed nothing. But he takes his stand in relation.

I require a You to become; becoming I, I say You.

Now, he no longer promises others the fulfillment of his duties, but promises himself the fulfillment of man.

The basic word I-Thou can be spoken only with one's whole being. The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a Thou to become; becoming I, I say Thou.

The other primary word is the combination I-It; wherein, without a change in the primary word, one of the words He and She can replace It.

The world of It is set in the context of space and time.

To man the world is twofold, in accordance with his twofold attitude.

Whoever abhors the name and fancies that he is godless ? when he addresses with his whole devoted being the Thou of his life that cannot be restricted by any other, he addresses God.

If a person kills a tree before its time, it is like having murdered a soul.

One basic word is the word pair I-You.

The basic word I-You establishes the world of relation.

The particular It, by entering the relational event, may become a Thou.

The world of Thou is not set in the context of either of these.

To produce is to draw forth, to invent is to find, to shape is to discover.

Whoever says You does not have something for his object. For wherever there is something there is also another something; every It borders on other Its; It is only by virtue of bordering on others. But where You is said there is no something. You has no borders.

If I face a human being as my Thou, and say the primary word I-Thou to him, he is not a thing among things, and does not consist of things.

One cannot in the nature of things expect a little tree that has been turned into a club to put forth leaves.

The concept of guilt is found most powerfully developed even in the most primitive communal forms which we know? the man is guilty who violates one of the original laws which dominate the society and which are mostly derived from a divine founder; the boy who is accepted into the tribal community and learns its laws, which bind him thenceforth, learns to promise; this promise is often given under the sign of death, which is symbolically carried out on the boy, with a symbolical rebirth.

The particular Thou, after the relational event has run its course, is bound to become an It.

The world wants to be deceived.

To strive for unity, by fashioning the soul into a unit, thus enabling it to conceive unity; to strive for action, by filling the soul with absoluteness, thus enabling it to substantiate the deed; to strive for the future, by freeing the soul from the cogwheel of [human] motives and turning it toward the goal, thus enabling it to serve the future.

Whoever says You does not have something; he has nothing. But he stands in relation.

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Austrian-born Israeli Jewish Theologian, Philosopher and Writer