Immediacy and its Limits (Routledge Revivals): A Study in Martin Bubers Thought

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This book reveals…. By Malcolm Bradbury. Bradbury draws attention to…. By Saddam Hussein. By Francesco Gabrieli. The recapture of Jerusalem, the siege of acre, the fall of Tripoli, the effect in Baghdad of events in Syria; these and other happenings were faithfully recorded by Arab historians during the two centuries of the Crusades. Arthur Lewis. In this title, first published in , Sir Arthur Lewis considers the development of the international economy in the forty years leading up to the First World War, with the adoption of the gold standard, a rapid growth in world trade, the opening up of the continents by the railways, vast….

Blum , Victor Seidler. Simone Weil — philosopher, trade union militant, factory worker — developed a penetrating critique of Marxism and a powerful political philosophy which serves an alternative both to liberalism and to Marxism. Edited by Edward Nell. First published in , this book carefully dissects and convincingly demonstrates that conservative economics is incoherent in theory and disastrous in practice.

The three main schools of thought supporting "free-market" policies — supply side economics, monetarism and rational expectations — are…. By Irving Louis Horowitz. The challenge for contemporary Islamic thinkers is to extract the moral content of Islam and to rearticulate it in an intelligible manner to modern people so that it can provide guidelines to solve practical problems that affect the whole of humanity. Morality refers to the degree to which society conforms to moral principles. Good manners and morality provide the materials for building a noble character.

Islamic education nurtures this sense of shame. The pagan Arabs were torn between ignorance and forbearance; while they lost their temper easily and were prone to violence, they admired the qualities of forbearance and self-control. Allah has knowledge of everything. This is, in fact, true piety as suggested in Surah 2, verse , quoted above. O my son, perform the prayer, command the honorable and forbid the dishonorable and bear patiently what has befallen you. Allah does not love any arrogant or boastful person. Be modest in your stride and lower your voice; for the most hideous voice is that of asses.

The term goodness khayr is used comprehensively, covering the material and religious. And whatever good khayr you do, Allah is fully cognizant of it. Whatever good khayr you do for your own sake, you will find it with Allah, surely Allah is cognizant of what you do. No matter our failings, we naturally admire the virtues of others. We also naturally detest the vices of others. The thief finds it abominable for someone to steal his goods. The vicegerent is capable of the responsibility of stewardship of the world granted to man because of his reason and free will. We are responsible for guarding human life and preserving the natural resources of this earth.

However, in order to manage the world and its inhabitants, it is important to change oneself first. Responsibility implies voluntary action. A person who acts voluntarily acts with his free will, and so has the choice to act virtuously or viciously. This is what makes him responsible for his action. But should his actions be a result of compulsion, ignorance, or insanity, then he cannot be held responsible for them. Aristotle agreed that the principle of voluntary action must be internal to the agent.

Muslim philosophers, however, were not only concerned with the dialectical relationship between human freedom and responsibility but also the relationship between divine power and human action. The attempts by theologians to reconcile this apparent contradiction have already been noted. In secular humanistic philosophy, man is also free and responsible for his actions but he is responsible only to himself.

He is free to accept or reject the truth from God; but, whatever his choice, he will be responsible for it on the Day of Judgment. The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wishes, let him believe; and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve. O Children of Adam, when apostles from your own people come to you reciting to you My revelations, then those who fear God and mend their ways have nothing to fear and they will not grieve.

But those who deny Our revelations and reject them arrogantly—those are the people of the Fire; therein they shall abide forever. People are actively protected by God but if they disobey Him and are ungrateful for His blessings, He will withdraw His blessings and protection. We do have free will, and act as though we have it, all the while knowing that there is a higher divine power that determines all actions.

Without this divine power, no action can take place, whether good or evil. God never desires evil but grants us the power to perform evil deeds. We alone desire evil and are responsible for it. Draz states:. Leaving all other considerations aside, we accept it pure and simply as our own and thereby sign our agreement.

So man becomes responsible in doing so, as if he becomes a debtor as soon as he surrenders his surety. Man is responsible for his actions because he will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment and will be rewarded or punished in accordance with what he has earned in this world. Human conscience will testify before God for what it has done. Human conscience in this context is not the Freudian superego, which, according to Freud, is the product of parental indoctrination. Thus, man is responsible for his own actions.

Nature can deprive us of the material conditions for executing our decisions but we have the freedom to either yield to or resist the external constraints of nature. We cannot alter these conditions, but we have the choice to either resign to or fight against them. If we resign to them, it means we have accepted inwardly the inevitable consequences of our fate. However, we are absolved should our wrong actions be a result of external factors beyond our power.

Thus, if an action is wrong but was done in a disturbed state of mind, or forced upon one, then such an action is not really blameworthy and the victims of such actions should be pitied rather than blamed. If there is no consent of will, then there is no mortal sin, only a venial sin. A person who commits such an action can always turn to God in repentance and renew his good will. Nobody has the right to murder or rape, even if he must pay with his own life for refusing to do so. God will only favor those who are worthy and who are grateful to Him.

As for those who shut their eyes to the light, God will leave them to their blindness. That is to say: He leaves those who are misguided to grope in their darkness and guides with the light of guidance those who turn to Him. However, will God forgive us for our sins? God is a personal God and the believer can therefore turn to Him in repentance. His disobedience towards God is indicative of his free will and responsibility. It was enough for him to acknowledge that he had sinned and then repent. God then assured Adam that He would grant his progeny guidance but that those who did not follow His guidance would be miserable and those who followed it would be happy.

They both repented and God forgave them both. Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low, except for those who believe and do right actions: they will have an unfailing reward. Thus Hasidic humility is a putting off" of man's false self in order that he may affirm his true self— the self which finds its meaning in being a part and only a part of the whole.

Humility, Hke joy and love, is attained most readily through prayer. Prayer is the most important way to union with God and is the highest means of self- redemption. Hasidic prayer, however, was not always prayer in its most ; ordinary sense. Most of the ideas which appear in the early periods are not really discarded in the later but are preserved in changed, form. JThus Buber's existentiaUsm retains much of his mysticism, and his dialogical philosophy in turn includes important mystical and existential elements. The revival of mysticism at the turn of the century was in part a reaction against determinism and against the increasing specialization of knowledge.

It was also a continuation of the mystical tendencies of the German romantics who could trace their ancestry back through Goethe and SchelUng to the Pietists and Jacob Boehme. It was, finally, a result of the growing interest in mythology and in the reUgions of the Orient. All of these movements exercised a strong influence on Buber's thought.

The influence of Hinduism and Buddhism was most important at an early period. That of Taoism came sUghtly later and has persisted into Buber's mature philosophy. At least as important was the influence of the German mystics from Meister Eckhart to Angelus Silesius. The German mystical idea of the birth in the soul of the Urgrund, or godhead, resembles the KabbaUstic and Hasidic idea of the unification of God and His exiled immanence. The two concepts together led Buber, he says, 'to the thought of the reahza- tion of God through man' which he later abandoned for the idea of the meeting of God and man.

On the one hand, he recognized as prime facts of his experience the division between the T and the world and the duality within man. On the other, he posited the unity of the T and the world in both intellectual and emotional terms. It is this very experience of aloneness and division which may have provided the great attraction of the mystic unity of all things. But it is this experience, too, which probably caused Buber to reject his earlier monistic formu- lations of an already existing unity which only needs to be discovered for a later emphasis on the necessity of realizing unity in the world through genuine and fulfilled life.

We have woven it in our inner- most experience. There often comes to us the desire to put our arms around a young tree and feel the same surge of life as in ourselves or to read our own most special mystery in the eyes of a dumb animal. We experience the ripening and fading of far-distant stars as something which happens to us, and there are moments in which our organism is a wholly other piece of nature.

It is the absolute, unlimited oneness which includes all others. The only true accompaniment of such experience is silence, for any attempt at communication places the ecstatic back in the world of multipHcity. Yet when the ecstatic returns to the world, he must by his very nature seek to express his experience. The need of the mystic to communicate is not only weakness and stammering; it is also power and melody. The mystic desires to bring the timeless over into time — he desires to make the unity without multiplicity into the unity of all multiplicity. Buber's introduction to the Kalewala was reprinted under the title 'Das Epos des Zauberers' in Hinweise, op.

Is not the experience of the ecstatic a symbol of the primeval experience of the worid spirit? The move- ment of conflict leads to individuation, that of love to God. Conflict is the bridge in and through which one T reveals itself in its beauty to another 'L' Love is the bridge through which being unites itself with God.

Out of the intermixture of the two comes hfe, in which things neither exist in rigid separation nor melt into one another but recipro- cally condition themselves. Join a being to all beings and you lure out of it its truest individuality. The world is no being over against one. It is a becoming. We do not have to accept the world as it is; we continually create it.

We create the world in that we un- knowingly lend our perceptions the concentration and firmness that make them into a reality. But deeper and more inwardly we consciously create the world in that we let our strength flow into the becoming, in that we ourselves enter into world destiny and become an element in the great event.


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Though Tao is the path, order, and unity of everything, it exists in things only potentially until it becomes living and manifest through its contact with the conscious being of the united man. Tao appears in men as the uniting force that overcomes all deviation from the ground of life, as the completing force that heals all that is sundered and broken. It was most recently reprinted in Hinweise, op. The true action, the appearance of which is non-action, is a working of the whole being.

To interfere with the life of things is to harm both them and oneself. But to rest is to effect, to purify one's own soul is to purify the world, to surrender oneself to Tao is to renew creation. He who performs this action, or non-action, stands in harmony with the essence and destiny of all things. Buber does not treat evil as pure illusion but as a negative force interacting with the good in a process leading back to the original unity.

For Buber, as for the Baal-Shem, evil is no essence but a lack — the throne of the good, the 'shell' which surrounds and disguises the essence of things. Though negative, evil is real and must be redeemed through the wholeness and purity of man's being. Buber's important Foreword to Pointing the Way, p. That is certainly an exalted form of being untrue, but it is still being untrue. At its outset the rational Haskalah turned naturally to western Europe for its inspiration and looked with contempt on the emotional Hasidim.

In the same way early Hasidism found in the sceptical and intellectual Haskalah an even greater oppo- nent than traditional Rabbinism. It was only in the wave of a new renaissance that these two movements flowed together, and it was in Buber that this synthesis reached both depth and completeness. Almost every important statement which he makes in these early writings about the psychology of the Jewish people their dynamism, their concern with relation, their inner division, their desire for realization and unity , he later translates into his general philosophy.

ARABIANS HORSE STUD

The primary task of the Jewish movement, writes Buber, is the removal of the schism between thought and action and the re-estabhsh- ment of the unified personaUty who creates out of a single ardour of will. The truly creative person is not the intellectual, nor is he simply the artist. He is the strong and many-sided man in whom human happenings stream together in order to attain new developments in spirit and deed. The redeeming affirmation of a conflict is the essence of all creativity; in the creative person a deep inner division is brought to harmony.

To eff"ect this harmony the creative person must have roots in a people through whom he is enriched and fortified. Today faith lies to life and does violence to its surging meanings. But for him who has lost his God the folk can be a first station on his new way. Today Satan tempts the creative man to lose himself in the inessential, to roam about 1 Kohn, op. The creative kingdom is there where form and formation thrive, and rootedness is a mighty helper to the individual to remain therein. In no men was and is this basic duaUty so central and dominant as in the Jews, and in consequence nowhere has there been such a monstrous and wonderful paradox as the striving of the Jews for unity.

For the ancient Jew objective being is unity and Satan a servant of God. It is man's subjective being which is cleaved, fallen, become inadequate and un- godhke. Redemption takes place through the creature's overcoming his own inner duaUty. The true meaning of the Galut, the exile of the Jews, is the faUing away from the ancient striving for unity into an unproduc- tive spirituality and intellectuahty divorced from Ufe. As a result Judaism split into two antagonistic sides: an official, uncreative side and an underground of Jewish heretics and mystics who carried forward in glowing inwardness the ancient striving for unity.

The Jew has always been more concerned with the whole than with the parts, with movement than with the senses, with time than with space. For this reason he has always considered the deed and not faith to be the decisive relation between man and God. These three ideas of unity, the deed, and the future are interrelated through Buber's em- phasis on a dynamic realization of the unconditional in the lives of men.

Unity is not a static refusal to change, but unity in change. Action is not a rehance on external deeds and formal laws; it is the action of the total being. The future is not the end of time but the fullness of time, not the transcending of the world and mankind but fulfilment through the world and through mankind — it is a fulfilment of the unconditioned will of God in the conditioned lives of men.

Decisionlessness allows one to be conditioned and acted upon, for without decision one's power remains undirected. It is, therefore, just this failure to direct one's inner power which is the inmost essence of evil. Gesammelte Aufsdtze und Ansprachen, Vol. I, BerUn: Judischer Verlag, , pp. There is no impulse that is evil in itself; man makes it so when he yields to it instead of controlling it.

Decision is the realization on earth of divine freedom and uncondi- tionality. Not the material of an action but the strength of the decision which brings it forth and the dedication of the intention which dwells in it determine whether it will flow off into the kingdom of things or press into the All-holy. The name of the act of decision in its last intensity is teshuvah, turning. Teshuvah means the caesura of a human life, the renewing revolution in the middle of the course of an existence. When in the middle of 'sin,' in decisionlessness, the will awakes to decision, the integument of ordinary life bursts and the primeval force breaks through and storms upward to heaven.

When man has raised the conditioned in himself to the unconditioned, his action works on the fate of God. Only for him who lets things happen and cannot decide is God an unknown being who transcends the world. For him who chooses, God is the nearest and most trusted of things. Whether God is 'transcendent' or 'immanent' thus does not depend on God; it depends on men. Every important step forward in the development of Buber's philosophy is reflected in his philosophy of Judaism. His existentiaUsm, his philosophy of community, his religious sociaUsm, and his dialogical philosophy all develop within his philosophy of Judaism as well as outside of it.

There is, thus, an essential unity of what are in Buber's writings two separate streams of developing thought. In the former the knower cannot be merely a detached scientific observer but must also himself participate, for it is through his participation that he discovers both the typical and the unique in the aspects of human life that he is studying. In one of his earliest articles Buber spoke of Nietzsche as 'the first pathfinder of the new culture,' 'the awakener and creator of new life-values and a new world-feeling.

In Kierkegaard's earlier works are found the germ of some of Buber's most important early and later ideas: the direct relation between the individual and God in which the individual addresses God as 'Thou,' the insecure and exposed state of every individual as an individual, the concept of the 'knight of faith' who cannot take shelter in the universal but must constantly risk all in the concrete uniqueness of each new situation, the necessity of becoming a true person before going out to relation, and the importance of realizing one's belief in one's Hfe.

These similarities plus Buber's own treatment of Kierkegaard in his mature works make it clear that Kierkegaard is one of the most important single influences on Buber's thought. In Dostoievsky Buber found spiritual intensity, fervour, depth of insight, and an understanding of man's inner cleavage. He also found in him something of that dynamism and concern for realization in life that mark both Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. Finally, he found in him a dialectic very similar to his own intellectual processes and a world-affirming mystic religion of ecstasy, love, and brotherhood which bears a remarkable resemblance to his own thought.

In Daniel we find Buber's concern for unity, realization, and creativity expressed for the first time entirely in its own terms and not as the interpretation of some particular thought or religious or cultural movement. Daniel is the first mature and comprehensive expression of Buber's philosophy, and it is at the same time the most creative and organically whole of his books to appear up till that time.

Power alone gives one only the fullness, direction alone only the meaning of the experience — power and direction together allow one to penetrate into its substance, into oneness itself. The vortex of happenings sweeps over one like a sandstorm which threatens to destroy one. Which type of soul one has is decided by how one withstands it. One type of person thinks only of protection, of the inherited arts of self-defence; he educates his senses to perceive in place of the vortex an ordered world conceived within the frame- work of basic principles of experience. He no longer meets the world but only his own cause-and-purpose oriented conceptions of it.

The other type of person lets stand, to be sure, the ordered world — the world of utility in which he can alone live with other men ; he accepts it and learns its laws. But deep within him grows and endures the readiness to go out to meet the naked chaos armed with nothing but the magic of his inborn direction. Direction is that primeval tension of a human soul which moves it to choose and to realize this and no other out of the infinity of possibilities. In direction the soul does not order reality but opens and delivers itself to it, and not with the senses and understanding alone but with its whole being.

Direction is thus a finding of one's own way and a realization of one's inmost being that gives one the strength to withstand in open- ness the confused stream of outer and inner happenings. But direction is neither individuality, determinism, nor arbitrary self-will. It is the realization of what was already potentially the one true direction of one's personality.

Nor does this self-realization exclude fellowship with others. Rather it makes possible true community, from being to being. That which man experiences, doing and suffering, creating and enjoying, he can order in the continuity of experience for the sake of his goals or he can comprehend in its power and splendour for its own sake.

If man orders it, he works with it according to its forms and laws. And this ordering is not to be despised. How should we not honour the unsurveyable edifice of science and its wonderful develop- ment? But everywhere where orienting knowledge rules by itself, it takes place at the cost of the experience of reality. Realization refers to that enhanced meaning of life which springs from moments of intensified existence and intensified perception. This is what it means to realize: to relate experience to nothing else but itself.


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  • Whereas in the system of experiencing one has only to arrange and order, and living with only one part of one's being can come to terms with the all; in realizing one must bring forth the totality of one's being in order to withstand a single thing or event. But because power thus gives itself to the thing or event, it creates reality in it and through it.

    For that alone is reality which is so experienced. There is no purely realizing or purely orienting type of man. As in the life of the community attained reaUty must ever again be placed in the continuity of experience, so in the life of the individual hours of orienting follow hours of realization and must so follow. But the creative man is he who has the most effective power of realization; he is the man in whom the realizing force of the soul has so concentrated into work that it creates reality for all. The creative man possesses the unbroken power of realization, for in his creativity mature orientation is also included as a dependent and serving function.

    Realized experience creates the essential form of existence ; only here can what we call 'things' and what we call T' find their reality. For all experience is a dream of being bound together ; orientation divides and sunders it, realization accomplishes and proclaims it. Nothing individual is real in itself, for it is only preparation : all reality is fulfilled binding. In each man there lives, utilized or suppressed, the power to become unified and to enter into reaUty. Men of realization are few in our time, which makes up for them with the doers and performers — those who act without being, who give what they do not have, who conquer where they have not fought.

    The undue predominance of orientation has settled in the blood of our time and has dissolved its reality. Men have objects and know how to attain them. They have a milieu, and they have information about their milieu. They also have spirituality of many kinds, and they talk a great deal. Yet all of this is outside of reality. Men live and do not realize what they live, for their experience is ordered without being comprehended. He who lives his fife in genuine, realizing knowledge must perpetually begin anew, perpetually risk all ; and there- fore his truth is not a having but a becoming.

    The orienting man wants security and security once for all : he wants to know his way about, and he wants a solid general truth that will not overturn him. But the man 1 Ibid. He does not want to know where he is at; for he is not always at the same place, but is ever at the new, at the uttermost, at God. God cannot realize Himself in men otherwise than as the innermost presence of an experience, and the God of this experience is therefore not the same, but always the new, the extreme. The realizing man is unprotected in the world, but he is not aban- doned; for there is nothing that can lead him astray.

    He does not possess the world, yet stands in its love; for he realizes all being in its reality. He has that before which all security appears vain and empty: direction and meaning. When he comes to a crossroads, he makes his choice with immediate decision as out of a deep command. When he acts, he does his deed and no other, and he decides with his being.

    The deed is not limited for him, as it is for the orienting man, to causality and evolution ; he feels himself free and acts as a free man. The orienting man places all happening in formulas, rules, and connections; the realizing man relates each event to nothing but its own intrinsic value.

    He receives what befalls him as a message; he does what is necessary as a commission and a demonstration. He who descends into the trans- forming abyss can create unity out of his and out of all duality. Here no 'once for all' is of value; for this is the endless task. However it names the two forces that it makes known — spirit and matter, form and material, being and becoming, reason and will, or positive and negative element — it has in mind the overcoming of their tension, the union of their duality.

    The longing for unity is the glowing ground of the soul ; but the man who is true feels that he would degrade this longing if he surrendered something of the fullness of his experience to please it. He feels that he can only become obedient to it in truth if he strives to fulfil it out of his completeness and preserves his experi- enced duality undiminished in the force of its distance. For this reason the faithful man rejects the Absolute of the Vedantic non-dualist as a life-denying unity found apart from the main highroad on which the faithful man must travel.

    Today,' writes Buber, 'I would not any more describe the kingdom so extravagantly! True unity is the unity of the world as it is, a unity which excludes nothing and destroys nothing but transforms the stubborn material of life into one- ness through the realizing action of men. It is the unity of man and man, of man and the world, of Ufe and death; the unity which is realized by the man who in his own life has direction and meaning.

    It is the unity which includes all evil, even the kingdom of Satan; for it can accept nothing less than the whole. But just because this is a reaUzed unity, it is one that is never completely attained, one which ever again comes forth as purer and sharper duality. This new duality, in turn, provides the material for an ever higher and more nearly perfect oneness.

    Each new act of inner unification enables the individual to take unto himself ever greater tensions of world-polarity and bring them to unity. Between the extremes of pantheism and an absolute divorced from the world lies the duality of a God who is real in Himself yet must be realized in the world through man's life. In this middle sphere the mystic's demand for a life lived in terms of the highest reaUty and the existentialist's demand for self-realization and genuine existence may meet in spirit. In Daniel this meeting has resulted in a new unity — the philosophy of realization.

    Erich Przywara, SJ. Culture and religiousness replace one another in the history of peoples, writes Buber. Culture is the stabilization of the life impulse and life forms between two religious upheavals. Religion is the renewal of the life impulse and hfe forms between two cultural developments. In the reUgious upheaval the powers become free. In culture they bind them- selves again in new Hfe forms, bind themselves ever faster and tighter, until they lie caught, dull and lifeless, in the forms. Then there comes again a moment when life revolts against the law that has ceased to contain the spirit which created it.

    In this moment the form is broken and life is summoned to new creation out of the chaos. But this shatter- ing is no simple turning-point. It is much more a fearful crisis that is often decisive not for renewal but for death. And yet there is no other way not only to a new religiousness but also to a new culture. This upheaval can at first find no other expression than the religious, for before man creates new life forms, he creates a new relation to life itself, a new meaning of life.

    But this renewal must be accompanied by the inner strength to withstand the crisis. Power of the storming spirit to stir up the conflagration, security of the constructing soul to hold itself in the purifying fire: these are the forces which guide a people to re- juvenated life. Nietzsche's contrast between the Dionysian and the Apollonian in The Birth of Tragedy and The Will to Power, Dilthey 's contrast between Geisteswissen- schaften and Naturwissenschaften, and Simmel's contrast between 'religiousness' and 'religion' in Die Religion, Vol.

    II of Die Gesellschaft. Dilthey and Simmel were both Buber's teachers. I, op. Yet it also recognizes the process by which the forms encroach on the Ufe that created them until that life must destroy the forms in order to continue its existence. Evil in this scheme is not a separate principle but an undue predominance of one force over the other, especially an imbalance so great that it can no longer be corrected through a religious renewal.

    This dialectic is further clarified by Buber's distinction between 'religion' and 'religiousness. Religion is true only as long as it is fruitful, and it is fruitful only as long as religiousness is able to fill precept and dogma with new meaning and inwardly transform them to meet the need of each new generation. Religiousness means activity — an elementary setting oneself in relation to the Absolute; rehgion means passivity — taking upon oneself inherited laws. The primary reality is the action of the Absolute on the human spirit.

    Man experiences the Absolute as the great presence that is over against him, as Thou' in itself. He grasps the ineffable through the creation of symbols, in signs and speech which reveal God to men for this age. But in the course of ages these symbols are outgrown and new ones bloom in their place until no symbol performs what is needful and life itself in the wonder of its togetherness becomes a symbol.

    Immediacy and its Limits (Routledge Revivals): A Study in Martin Buber's Thought / Edition 1

    Religious truth is vital rather than conceptual. It can only be inti- mated in words and can first be satisfactorily proclaimed only by being confirmed in the life of a man, in the life of a community. The word of the teaching loses its religious character as soon as it is cut loose from its connection with the life of the founder and his disciples and recast into an independently knowable and thoroughly impersonal principle. Each religiously creative age is only a stage of religious truth, for, in distinction from philosophic truth, it is no tenet but a way, no thesis but a process.

    It is a powerful process of spiritual creation, a creative answer to the Absolute. Ein Rede uber Jugend und Religion' , pp. Forms and ideas result from it; but what is revealed in it is not form or idea but God. Religious reality means this, for it is the un- diminished relation to God Himself. Man does not possess God; he meets Him. That through which all religion lives, religious reality, goes in advance of the morphology of the age and exercises a decisive effect upon it ; it endures in the essence of the religion which is morpho- logically determined by culture and its phases, so that this religion stands in a double influence, a cultural, hmited one from without and an original and unlimited one from within.

    This inner reaUty, from the moment that it is incorporated in religion, no longer works directly, but through religion it affects all spheres of life. Thus theophany begets history. The Absolute enters into the forms of reUgion and through religion influences culture and history. From this point of view history cannot be understood as a purely immanent development, for it is partially a product of an encounter with a primary reality which transcends culture and gives rise to it.

    Each of the cultures of history originated in an original relation event, and each must return to such an event before it can find renewal. Similarly, reUgious forms and symbols arise out of elemental religious experience and must be renewed and transformed by such experience if they are to retain their living reality. Each man has an infinite sphere of responsibility, responsibility before the infinite. But there are men for whom this infinite responsibility exists in a specially active form.

    These are not the rulers and statesmen who determine the external destiny of great communities and who, in order to be effective, turn from the individual, enormously threatened Hves to the general multi- tude that appears to them unseeing. The really responsible men are rather those who can withstand the thousandfold questioning glance of individual lives, who give true answer to the trembling mouths that time after time demand from them decision.

    True human life is life in the face of God, and God is not a Kantian idea but an elementarily present substance — the mystery of immediacy before which only the pious man can stand. God is in all things, but he is realized only when individual beings open to one another, communicate with one another, and help one another — only where immediacy establishes itself between beings.

    There in between, in the apparently empty space, the eternal substance manifests itself. The true place of realization is the com- munity, and true community is that in which the godly is realized between men. The prophets, says Buber, demanded a direct godly form of com- munity in contrast to the godless and spiritless state. II, On Buber's relation to the Christian religious socialist movement, of.

    It would have been unthinkable to them to have made a compromise with conditions as they were, but it would have been equally unthinkable for them to have fled from those conditions into a sphere of inner life. Never did they decide between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.

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    The kingdom of God was to them nothing other than the kingdom of man as it shall become. When they despaired of present fulfilment, they projected the image of their truth into Messianism. Yet here also they meant no opposition to this human world in which we live, but its purification and completion. Jesus, like the prophets of Israel, wanted to fulfil rather than do away with human society. By the kingdom of God He meant no other-worldly consolation, no vague heavenly blessedness, and also no spiritual or cultic league or church.

    What He meant was the perfected Hving together of men, the true community in which God shall have direct rule. Jesus wished to build out of Judaism the temple of true community before the sight of which the walls of the power state must fall to pieces. But not so did the coming generations understand Him. In the place of the Jewish knowledge of the single world, fallen through confusion but capable of redemption through the struggling human will, came the postulation of a fundamental and unbridgeable duality of human will and God's grace. The will is now regarded as unconditionally bad and elevation through its power is impossible.

    Not will in all its contrariness and all its possibility is the way to God, but faith and waiting for the contact of grace. Evil is no longer the 'shell' which must be broken through. It is rather the primal force which stands over against the good as the great adversary. The state is no longer the consoHdation of a will to community that has gone astray and therefore is penetrable and redeemable by right will.

    It is either, as for Augustine, the eternally damned kingdom from which the chosen separate themselves or, as for Thomas, the first step and preparation for the true community, which is a spiritual one. The true community is no longer to be realized in the perfect life of men with one another but in the church.

    It is the community of spirit and grace from which the world and nature are fundamentally separated. Corresponding to it is the egoistic nationalism which perverts the goal of community by making it an end itself. It is not power itself which is evil, Buber states, in disagreement with the historian Jacob Burckhardt. Later reprinted in Reden iiber das Judentum, op. It is the will to power, the greed for more power than others, which is destructive. A genuine person too likes to affirm himself in the face of the world, but in doing so he also affirms the power with which the world confronts him.

    This requires constant demarcation of one's own right from the right of others, and such demarcation cannot be made according to rules valid once and for all.

    Only the secret of hourly acting with a continually repeated sense of responsibility holds the rules for such demarcations. This appUes both to the attitude of the individual toward his own life, and to the nation he is a member of. Not renunciation of power but responsibility in the exercise of power prevents it from becoming evil.

    This responsibility is lacking in modern nations, for they are constantly in danger of slipping into that power hysteria which disintegrates the abiUty to draw lines of demarcation. Only in the recognition of an obligation and a task that is more than merely national can the criterion be found which governs the drawing of the distinction between legitimate and arbitrary nationalism.

    This development was decisively influenced by the socialism of Buber's friend Gustav Landauer, the social anarchism of Michael Kropotkin, and the distinc- tion between 'community' and 'association' in Ferdinand Tonnies's work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft Community 'Gemein- schaft' Buber defines as an organic unity which has grown out of common possessions, work, morals, or belief.

    Association 'Gesell- schaft' he defines as a mechanical association of isolated self-seeking in- dividuals. It is an ordered division of society into self-seeking individuals held together by force, compromise, convention, and public opinion. Modern western culture, states Buber, is on the way from 'Gemein- schaft' to 'Gesellschaft. Marxism, the dominant form of modern socialism, desires to overcome the atomization of present-day life and sees itself as the bearer and executor of an evolutionary process.

    Yet it is nothing other than the process of development from community to association that it is completing. For what today is still left of an autonomy of organic community of wills must, under the working of this tendency, be absorbed into the power of the state. Community which once existed universally, and which today exists almost alone in personal life and unnoticed fellowships, will not be able to withstand the all-embracing power of the new socialist state. The first movement desires to gain possession of the state and set new institutions in the place of those existing, expecting thereby to transform human relations in their essence.

    The second knows that the erection of new institutions can only have a genuinely liberating effect when it is accompanied by a transformation of the actual life between man and man. This life between man and man does not take place in the abstrac- tion of the state but rather there where a reality of spatial, functional, emotional, or spiritual togetherness exists — in the village and city com- munity, in the workers' fellowship, in comradeship, in religious union.

    In this moment of western culture a great longing for community possesses the souls of men. This longing can only be satisfied by the autonomy of the communal cells which together make up true common- wealth.

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    But this autonomy will never be accorded by the present state, nor by the socialist state which will not renounce its rigid centralization to bring about its own decentralization, nor abandon its mechanical form in favour of an organic one. Hence the renewal of communal cells and the joining of these cells into larger communities and common- wealths must depend on the will of individuals and groups to establish a communal economy. Men must recognize that true participation in community demands no less power of soul than participation in a parliament or state politics and is the only thing that can make the latter effective and legitimate.

    The decisive problem of our time, however, is that men do not live in their private lives what they seek to bring to pass in public. Wholly ineff'ective and illusory is the will for social reality of circles of intel- lectuals who fight for the transformation of human relations yet remain as indirect and unreal as ever in their personal life with men. The authenticity of the political position of a man is tested and formed in his natural 'unpolitical' sphere.

    Here is the germinating ground of all genuine communal-effecting force. No lived community is lost, and out of no other element than lived community can the community of the human race be built. Hull London: Routledge, , chap, vi, pp. This community starts not with facts of economics and history but with the spirit working silently in the depths. Even in Buber saw the true nature of the socialist power-state which, in the name of compulsory justice and equahty, makes impossible spontaneous community and genuine relationship between man and man.

    True to the 'narrow ridge,' he refused the clamouring either-or of the modem world — the demand that one accept the centralized socialist state because of the defects of capitaUsm or the capitaUst society because of the defects of socialism. Buber's sociaUsm of this period is religious but it is not 'Utopian,' for it does not base its claims and its hopes on any easily workable scheme or any facile trust in human nature.

    Rather it demands the thing that is hardest of all, that men live their lives with one another with the same genuineness and integrity as they desire to estabUsh in the pattern of the total community. And it demands it in the face of 'history' and of 'determinism' and by the strength of the power of the spirit to come to man in his deepest need.

    It does not expect community to be established simply through the grace of God or simply through the will of man, but through the will of man which in extremis becomes one with the will of God.

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    The socialist power-state is not, for Buber, evil in itself any more than the capitalist state. Both are evil in so far as they prevent the springing-up of the good, the socialist state in that it makes impossible even those remnants of true community which exist in the capitalist state, the capitalist state in that the relations between man and man are indirect and perverted, based on desire for exploitation rather than true togetherness.

    The remedy for these evils is not the immediate estabUsh- ment of some super-society but simply the strengthening of the forces of good through the will for genuine relationship and true community. The surging tides of inexorable world history are slowly pushed back and reversed by the invisible forces working in the souls of men and in the relations between man and man. On his relation to Kropotkin see Paths in Utopia, chap, v, pp. On his relation to Tonnies, see Kohn, op.

    See also Martin Buber, Worte an die Zeit, vol. I, Grundsdtze Miinchen: Dreilanderverlag, , pp. Man's being is contained only in community, in the unity of man with man — a unity which rests, however, only on the reality of the diff'erence between I and Thou. He finds in the concept of the divine the substantial and ideal expression of the relations between men, and he draws an analogy between the relations of man and God and those of man and man which comes quite close to Buber's own I-Thou relation.

    On the other hand, there is a one-sidedness and absence of mutuality in Simmel's idea of relation which sets it at some distance from that of Buber. The important thing to Simmel is that the individual call up unused potentialities in himself. Feuerbach's Grundsdtze der Philosophie der Zukunft , 61, 33, 34, 42, Particularly illustrative of the gradual development of Buber's dia- logical thought is his progressive reinterpretation of the feehng of unity with certain objects of nature.

    In Buber's essay on Jacob Boehme this feeling of unity is used to illustrate the idea of man as the micro- cosm, or little world which contains the whole. In Daniel it is used to illustrate the unity which is created and realized in the world. And in Ich und Du it is used to illustrate the I-Thou relation, an event which takes place between two beings which none the less remain separate.

    Yet the emotional content of the experiences as described in the two works is almost identical! What the learned combination of ideas denies, writes Buber in this work, the humble and faithful beholding of any thing confirms.

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    Each thing and being has a twofold nature : the passive, appropriable, comparable, and dissectible and the active, unappropriable, incompar- able, and irreducible. He who truly experiences a thing that leaps to meet him of itself has known therein the world. The contact between the inexpressible circle of things and the experiencing powers of our senses is more and other than a vibration of the ether and the nervous system — it is the incarnate spirit.

    And the reality of the experienced world is so much the more powerful, the more powerfully we experience it, realize it. There is a common reality which sufiices for the comparison and ordering of things. But another is the great reaUty which we can only make into our world if we melt the shell of passivity with our ardour and strength until the active, bestowing side of things leaps up to meet us and embrace us. The world cannot be known otherwise than through things and not otherwise than with the active sense-spirit of the loving man.

    The loving man is one who takes up each thing unrelated to other things. For this hour no other lives than this thing which is alone loved in the world, filling it out and indistinguishably coinciding with it. Where the rationalist draws out the general quahties of a thing and places them in categories, the loving man sees what is unique in a thing, its self. This is the active side which the circle of world compre- ' 'Ueber Jakob Bohme,' op. In the beloved thing whose self he reaHzes, the loving man confirms the mysterious countenance of the all.

    The emphasis, more- over, is not on the unity of things, not even the realized unity of Daniel, but on the meeting between man and what is over against him, a meeting which never becomes an identity. Because this is an encounter and not a perfect unity and because the encounter takes place not between man and passive objects but between man and the active self of things, man is limited in his ability to form and shape the world and hence to overcome the evil in himself and in the world.

    But he is also greatly aided, for the active self of things responds to his loving experiencing of them so that the force of the world joins his own force to bring his deed to effectiveness. Buber says in this book that he is not a mystic, and this statement is supported by the emphasis on the life of the senses in many of its essays. Once after a morning of 'religious enthusiasm' he was visited by a young man. Though friendly and attentive, he was not present in spirit.

    Later he learned that the young man had come to him for a decision. As we are told that he died not long after, we may imagine that the decision was life or death. The elder man answered the questions that the young man asked, but not the ones he did not ask. He did not meet his despair by 'a presence by means of which we are told that nevertheless there is meaning. Since then I have given up the 'reUgious' which is nothing but the exception, extraction, exaltation, ecstasy; or it has given me up.

    I possess nothing but the everyday out of which I am never taken. The mystery is no longer disclosed, it has escaped or it has made its dwelling here where everything happens as it happens. I know no fulness but each mortal hour's fulness of claim and respon- sibility. Reprinted in Hinweise, pp. More powerful and more holy than all writing is the presence of a man who is simply and directly there. Productivity is only true existence when it takes root in the immediacy of a lived life. It is the ruhng beUef of our time that production is the criterion of human worth.

    But illegitimate production, production without im- mediacy, is no criterion, for it is not reality but delusion. The over- valuation of productivity is so great in our age that even truly productive men give up the roots of a genuinely Uved Ufe and wear themselves out turning all experience to value as public communication.

    The productivity that is already present in the perception of the artist and the poet is not a will to create but an abiUty to create. It is the formative element of experience which also accompanies all that befalls the non-artistic man and is given an issue by him as often as he lifts an image out of the stream of perception and inserts it in his memory as something single, limited, and meaningful in itself.

    But if in per- ceiving a man already cherishes the intention of utilizing, then he dis- quiets the experience, deforms its growth, and destroys its meaning. He who meets men with a double glance, an open one which invites fellowship and a secret one which conceals the conscious aim of the observer — he cannot be dehvered from his sickness by any talent that he brings to his work, for he has poisoned the springs of his life.

    Reprinted in Himveisse, pp. Although it is only with Ereignisse und Begegnungen that Buber's thought becomes really dialogical, there are a number of hints of dialogue and explicit uses of the 'I-Thou' terminology in his earlier writing.

    In his essay on Boehme in Buber writes that Boehme's dialectic of the reciprocal conditioning of things finds its completion in Ludwig Feuerbach's sentence: 'Man with man — the unity of I and Thou— is God. In 'Lesser Ury' Buber writes: 'The most personal lies in the relation to the other. Join a being to all beings and you liu-e out of it its truest individuality. I, No. For a far more extensive treatment of the influences on Buber's thought and the development of his early thought than is possible here see 51 Bubefs Early Thought double-minded need to exploit life instead of live it makes impossible true life within oneself.

    It also makes impossible true communication between man and man, for only that man who is simply and directly present can directly communicate with others. Religious reality, he writes, is not what takes place in 'inwardness,' as is generally thought today, but what takes place between man and God in the reality of relation. The statement that whether God is transcen- dent or immanent does not depend on God but on man is consequently inexact.

    It depends on the relation between God and man, which, when it is actual, is reciprocal action. Also unsatisfactory is the statement that God arises out of the striving for unity. The form in which men recognize God and the conception which men have of Him cannot, to be sure, come into being without the co- operative participation of the creativity of a human person, but what is at work there is no myth-projecting fantasy but man's way of going forth to the meeting.

    The meeting with God does not rise out of 'experience' and therefore out of detached subjectivity, but out of Ufe. It does not arise out of religious experience, which has to do with a division of the psychic, but out of religious Ufe, that is, out of the whole life of men and of peoples in real intercourse with God and the world. The concept of the realization of God is not inexact or improper in itself, writes Buber, but it is improperly appUed when one speaks of making God out of a truth into a reality.

    This opinion is perverted not because there is no divine becoming in the immanence, but because only through the primal certainty of divine being can we come into contact with the mysterious meaning of divine becoming, the self-division of God in creation and His participation in the destiny of its freedom. By the same token the summons of our human existence cannot be to overcome the division of being and reality in order to let the divine take seed, grow, and ripen in the perceptible world.

    We cannot hold with the concept of a reality which is relative and far from God. University of Chicago Library, Microfilm T It means, in other, holy words, to make reality one. Only in this development, which has here reached mature expression, has Buber gone decisively beyond the subjectivistic and time-centred vitalism of Nietzsche and Bergson. Only through this final step has he reached the understanding that, though the external form changes, the essence of theophany — the meeting between man and God — remains the same.

    Yet it is not God Himself who changes and ripens, but the depth and fullness of man's encounter with God and the ways in which man expresses this meeting and makes it meaningful for his daily life. If God were entirely process, man could not know where that process might lead. There would be no basis then for Buber's belief that the contra- diction and ugUness of life can be redeemed through the life of man in the world. Buber's shift in emphasis to the two-directional meeting of God and man leaves no further room for the concept of an impersonal godhead coming to birth in the soul. God is now, to Buber, the Eternal Thou whom we meet outside as well as within the soul and whom we can never know as impersonal.

    This does not mean that Buber's new I-Thou philosophy is irreconcilable with the metaphysics of the Kabbalah and Hasidism, but only with his earUer interpretations of that metaphysics. Man's power to reunite God with His Shekinah, Buber writes in a mature work, has its truth in the inwardness of the here and now but in no way means a division of God, a unification which takes place in God, or any diminution of the fullness of His transcendence.

    If creation were not divine, if God were not immanent as well as transcendent, then we would have a gnostic division between God and the world which would leave the world for ever cut off from God and for ever unredeemable. The I of man comes into being in the act of speaking one or the other of these primary words. But the two I's are not the same: 'The primary word I-Thou can only be spoken with the whole being.

    The primary word I-It can never be spoken with the whole being. I-Thou is the primary word of relation. It is characterized by mutuality, directness, presentness, intensity, and ineffabihty. Although it is only within this relation that personahty and the personal really exist, the Thou of I-Thou is not limited to men but may include animals, trees, objects of nature, and God.



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