Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I, Thou, We, Redux

I do a lot of reading
as most of my friends know
I have shelves of books
some of the new, barely explored
others old friends among whose pages
I have wandered countless times

Sitting there
small, but not insignificant
among heftier tomes
is Martin Buber's little masterpiece
"I and Thou"
Buber's work has been referenced
in at least three other books I have read recently
used different ways
but all still talking about the way
through dialogue 
help shape and form and create each other
Sometimes our relationships are I - It
other people are objects
most of the time when we are focused on the adjectives
white and black
liberal and conservative
(you know them all)
we are well into this world
and everyone loses

 When the relationship is I - Thou
rather than I - It 
(or in these days it might be even more powerful to think of "I - THEY"
it is a lover - beloved relationship
in which people find not only each other
but in fact, themselves...
your "Thou", helps me discover my "I"

Gone is the functional, calculating 
relationship where affection and value must be earned
and is not just given

One author goes even further
and suggests what would be even better
would be a "we"
where the "I" pretty much disappears
where our encounters with others 
leads to kind of a Hegelian sythnesis
which is somehow better, more evolved 
that what was there before

I love that idea
it brings to mind the concept of synergy
where 2 + 2 = 5
or 6 
or more

The idea that two people
coming together creates a reality that is bigger
more loving 
than if they had never come together at all

And yet, we seem to be so stuck
in that "I - It" world
where one must be right
one wrong
where one must lose
one win

Yesterday I sat with a number of people
I also sat with cancer
impending death
I sat with frailty 
and heart failure
and addiction

It was a day just to sit
and listen
and try to be a Thou 
so they could be an I
and the kind of I so they
could be a Thou
(confused?  I am)
Mostly it was a day to just 
be with
sometimes mostly in silence
to create a 'we'
a moment of transcendence
a moment 
that was sacred, loving, 
and healing

1 comment:

  1. I don't think it is confusing at all...it makes perfect sense.