“Love is the responsibility of an I for a Thou” – Martin Buber

A lot has happened in my life in the last six months. Of late, I have been asking friends what love means to them. Shilpi said – “Love means to be attracted to the other person physically and emotionally both. However, it also means wanting to be with the person all the time, and not merely getting something from them, as the word ‘attraction’ may imply. Finally, to be loved means to have someone as an anchor in your life, to who you can return, with all your stresses and strains, and find rest.”

Srishti said, “Love means being there for the other person when they need you. That’s what matters the most.”

Martin Buber has answered it for me. “Love is the responsibility of an I for a Thou.” To remind ourselves of Buber’s philosophy, two persons become I and Thou when they share a moment of total acceptance. When all pretenses fall away, and form the grounds of their being, they face each other, their joys, sorrows, energies, all naked in the field between them. Love is the responsibility that one takes to always provide this space to the other, to never shun them away, to never tell them they accept them only on particular conditions. Love means meeting the other from the ground of your being, and taking the responsibility to do it always. Not just when the other is funny, happy, sorrowful, committed, or anything else, but always.

It has nothing to do with a particular feeling such as care, affection, or attraction. Perhaps a moment of love would look more like this:

“Man wishes to be confirmed in his being by man, and wishes to have a presence in the being of the other… Secretly and bashfully he watches for a YES which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one human person to another.”  – Martin Buber

~ by tdcatss on December 14, 2013.

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