I-Thou Relationships: a Lack of Individuality

Topics: Existentialism, Religion, Martin Buber Pages: 2 (478 words) Published: December 9, 2012
In the movie “Waking Life”, society has been referred to as an ant colony, the inhabitants acting only out of efficiency and politeness. Though at times it may seem that inter-personal relationships lack genuine human engagement and are rarely meaningful, both philosophers and scholars alike ponder whether a spiritual connection between all human beings would better society.

Martin Buber’s philosophy of I-Thou and I-It relationships states that I-Thou relationships consists of humans being aware of each other because of a unity of self and perceive each other as whole beings rather than isolated qualities. The I-It relationship supports the idea of separated and isolated qualities over the idea of spiritual unity. Though it would seem that the characteristics of the I-Thou relationship would help create a more ideal society, the idea that all humans would see each other as whole and not see their individual qualities suggests that there would be no individuality left among fellow humans. This lack of individuality would rob the world of all great musicians, scholars and philosophers, making them equal with the rest of the world and never acknowledging their talent and especially their superiority, which the I-Thou philosophy condemns.

The lack of individuality among people of society would also deteriorates the power and meaning of several relationships we create throughout our lifetime, in that all relationships, being with people of the same values and equality of spirit, would resemble each other. The problem with the lack of difference between relationships lies in the fact that no relationship, for example, the unwavering love between parent and child, would be held above the rest if all relationships, and the people within those relationships, were equal. Though Buber states that love is the ideal I-Thou relationship, as it consists of two people sharing the unity of being, as well as respect and commitment, if all relationships...
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