Real existence

“He who takes his stand in relation shares in a reality, that is, in a being that neither merely belongs to him nor merely lies outside him. All reality is an activity in which I share without being able to appropriate for myself. Where there is no sharing there is no reality. Where there is self-appropriation there is no reality. The more direct the contact with the Thou, the fuller is the sharing. The is real in virtue of sharing in reality. The fuller its sharing the more real it becomes.

But the that steps out of the relational event into separation and consciousness of separation does not lose its reality. Its sharing is preserved in it in a living way. In other words, as is said of the supreme relation and may be used of all, ‘the seed remains in it’…

Individuality, in differentiating itself from others, is rendered remote from true being… Individuality neither shares in nor obtains any reality. It differentiates itself from the other, and seeks through experiencing and using to appropriate as much of it as it can. This is its dynamic, self-differentiation and appropriation, each exercised on the It within the unreal… The more a man, humanity, is mastered by individuality, the deeper does the sink into unreality. In such times the person in man and in humanity leads a hidden subterranean and as it were, cancelled existence – until it is recalled.”

– Martin Buber, I and Thou, pp. 52-53.

Through his mystical words, Buber invites us into relation. The more we truly connect to another, the more we reveal us as we are, and not as we would like to be seen, that much more we live in the relational event that occurs when an meets a You. Such a life, as Buber says, is the only real life. The only real existence is existence in deep relatedness.

When we shut ourselves off from this relatedness, and become who we are supposed to be, who others like us to be, who we feel safer being, who it is ‘right’ to be, we are no longer persons in relation, but individuals absorbed in themselves. Such an individual only has a secondary reality, which is derived from ‘seeds’ of those moments when he truly connected to the You that confronted its I. So long as he remains absorbed in these inner images, he is only a shadow of his own self, going through a living death, until it is recalled.

martin buber

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~ by tdcatss on January 9, 2014.

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