Martin Buber

Martin
Buber
1878
1965

Austrian-born Israeli Jewish Theologian, Philosopher and Writer

Author Quotes

There is no I taken in itself, but only the I of the primary word I-Thou and the I of the primary word I-It.

We can learn to be whole by saying what we mean and doing what we say.

You do not attain to knowledge by remaining on the shore and watching the foaming waves, you must make the venture and cast yourself in, you must swim, alert and with all your force, even if a moment comes when you think you are losing consciousness; in this way, and in no other, do you reach anthropological insight.

And in all the seriousness of truth, listen: without It a human being cannot live. But whoever lives only with that is not human.

Egos appear by setting themselves apart from other egos.

Hence the I of man is also twofold.

As experience, the world belongs to the primary word I-It.

Every morning I shall concern myself anew about the boundary between the love-deed-Yes and the power-deed-No and pressing forward honor reality. We cannot avoid using power, cannot escape the compulsion to afflict the world, so let us, cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction, love powerfully.

Here the relations is wrapped in a cloud but reveals itself, it lacks but creates language. We hear no You and yet addressed; we answer - creating, thinking, acting: with our being we speak the basic word, unable to say You with our mouth. But how can we incorporate into the world of the basic word that lies outside language?

As long as the firmament of the You is spread over me, the tempests of causality cower at my heels, and the whirl of doom congeals. The human being to whom I say You I do not experience. But i stand in relation to him, in the sacred basic word. Only when I step out of this do I experience him again. Experience is remoteness from You.

Every person born in this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique and every man or woman's foremost task is the actualization of his or her unique, unprecedented and never recurring possibilities.

How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you - for that is the meaning of your life.

Basic words are spoken with one?s being.

Every Thou in the world is by its nature fated to become a thing, or continually re-enter into the condition of things. In objective speech it would be said that everything in the world, either before or after becoming a thing, is able to appear to an I as its Thou. But objective speech snatches only at a fringe of real life.

I become through my relation to the Thou; as I become I, I say Thou.

Basic words do not state something that might exist outside them; by being spoken they establish a mode of existence.

Every You in the world is doomed by its nature to become a thing or at least to enter into thinghood again and again. In the language of objects: everything in the world can ? either before or after it becomes a thing ? appear to some I and its You. But the language of objects catches only one corner of actual life.

I can look on (a tree) as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background. I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pitch, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air - and the obscure growth itself. I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life. I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognize it only as an expression of law... I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number... In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution. It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.

Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said In the coming world, they will not ask me: 'Why were you not Moses?' They will ask me: 'Why were you not Zusya?

Everyone must come out of his Exile in his own way.

I do not rest on the broad upland of a system that includes a series of sure statements about the absolutes, but on a narrow, rocky ridge between the gulfs where there is no sureness of expressible knowledge but [only] the certainty of meeting what remains, undisclosed.

Being I and saying I are the same. Saying I and saying one of the two basic words are the same.

Feeling one has; love occurs.

I do, indeed, close my door at times and surrender myself to a book, but only because I can open the door again and see a human face looking at me.

But it is not experiences alone that bring the world to man.

Author Picture
First Name
Martin
Last Name
Buber
Birth Date
1878
Death Date
1965
Bio

Austrian-born Israeli Jewish Theologian, Philosopher and Writer