I-Thou Relationships Are An Unhealthy Delusion

They are another cry for unconditional love.

Adults should not seek unconditional love, notes Dennis Prager. One should not expect to receive good treatment from others no matter your behavior.

Infants may deserve unconditional love but there’s nothing wrong with giving more love to a child who behaves than to a child who acts badly.

Martin Buber is loved by the huggy but intellectual crowd love (those who value beautiful words over reality) but he doesn’t matter much because his ideas, at their best, when they are comprehensible, are delusions. He’s a lot like Plato in that respect. Anybody or any community that tried to live by their pronouncements wouldn’t survive.

Buber used to run around his house trying to have an I-thou relationship with his plumber.

Buber would often phone an Orthodox friend just a few minutes after the onset of the Sabbath.

Judaism is an unromantic religion. Buber and company are Jewish heretics.

Monica Osborne writes:

So, I was completely startled today when I went to Jewcy.com and saw Martin Buber and Elle Woods (Legally Blonde), together, and staring straight at me. The occasion for such a bizarre (gotta love Photoshop) picture was an article by Elisa Albert, in which she makes a case for Elle Woods as the ultimate example of Buberian ethics — a comparison she makes only partially tongue-in-cheek.

Yeah, it sounds totally cheesy, but it was a pretty good article. Then again, anyone who knows me also knows my obsession with German-Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, and my secret, shameful enjoyment of the Legally Blonde movies — something about a hot blonde with brains, a cute dog, and an ability to strategize appeals to me for some odd reason. And, okay, I love pink, though I would never admit it.

But back to Buber. After reading the article, I went back to look at some essays on Buber’s whole I-Thou concept. According to Buber (in this is a super condensed interpretation), the way we relate to the world can be broken down into either I-Thou or I-It relationships. The former, of course, is what we ought to strive for. Being in an I-Thou relationship with someone or something means that we are experiencing them in a way similar to Levinas’s face-to-face encounter.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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