Martin Buber is today’s one of the most important representatives of the human spirit. He was born in Vienna in 1878, studied philosophy and the history of art at the University of Vienna and of Berlin. In 1916 he founded Der Jude, a periodical which he edited until 1924 and which became under his guidance the leading organ of the German-speaking Jewry. Professor Buber has written widely in the fields of philosophy, education, philosophy of religion, community, sociology, psychology, art, Biblical interpretation, Judaism, Hasidism, and Zionism. Buber’s works best known in America include I and Thou, the classical statement of his philosophy of dialogue, Between Man and Man, Eclipse of God, The Tales of the Hasidism and the way of man The way of man is a book by martin Buber which would seem to be simple but a person who read it through and think they have understood it fully, when in fact they have discovered only one or two dimensions of its message. Everything that is in I and Thou is also implicit in The Way of Man, but it is in there in a much more compressed form. I and Thou is compact too, but The Way of Man is much more compact, yet still rich and pregnant with meaning. It almost demands that you read it again and again, its meanings are hidden in between the lines, so people who are meditative in reading could understand the meanings of the book and the wisdom in that little book. And if The Way of Man is short, deceptively simple and heavy with meaning, the recurring dream that frequently came to Buber is even more so. His description of this dream is only one page long, but for those who have a good understanding of how dreams sometimes speak the deeper language of the heart and spirit, this dream is a rich and powerful one indeed. And the fact that it recurred to Buber several times is itself significant. Recurrent dreams are often, according to Carl Jung, our soul's (or God's?) attempt to tell us something extremely important about our deepest well-being, and they have to recur because we are so resistant to hearing whatever the message is that they are trying to teach us. So Buber saw this dream as a particularly significant one. The Influence of Hasidism in The Way of Man
Although his existence as a modern Western man has made it impossible for Buber to become a Hasid, it is to Hasidism, more than to any other single source that he has gone for his image of what modem man can and ought to become. For Hasidism, as for Buber’s philosophy of dialogue, one cannot love God unless one loves his fellow man, and for this love to be real it must be love of each particular man in his created uniqueness and it must take place for its own sake and not for the sake of any reward, even the salvation or perfection of one’s soul. Hasidism is a mysticism which hallows community and everyday life rather than withdraws from it, rejecting asceticism and the denial of the life of the senses in favor of the joy that can transform and re-direct the “alien thoughts,” or fantasies, that distract man from the love of God. According to Buber Despair, to Hasidism, is worse even than sin, for it leads one to believe oneself in the power of sin and hence to give in to it. One must overcome the pride that leads one to compare himself with others, but he must not forget that in himself, as in all men, is a unique value which must be realized if the world is to be brought to perfection. Everyone must have two pockets, said one Hasidic master. In his right pocket he must keep the words, for my sake was the world created, and in his left, I am dust and ashes. Hasidism stresses simple piety and fervor more than intellectual subtlety or the attempt to schematize heavenly mysteries. As every lock has its key which fits it, so every mystery has the meditation that opens it, said a great Hasidic teacher. “But God loves the thief who breaks the lock opens: I mean the man who breaks his heart for God. According to Hasidism, the...
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