Buber Excerpts from I and Thou

The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold attitude

The attitude of man is twofold in accordance with the two basic words he can speak.

The basic words are not single words but word pairs

One basic word is the word pair I-You

The other basic word is the word pair I-it; but this basic word is not changed when He or She takes the place of It.

Thus the I of man is also twofold

For the I of the basic word I-You is different from that in the basic word I-It

Basic words do not state something that might exist outside them; by being spoken they establish a mode of existence.

I and Thou, 53

But it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It. The power of exclusiveness has seized me.

This does not require me to forego any of the modes of contemplation. There is nothing that I must not see in order to see, and there is no knowledge that I must forget...

Whatever belongs to the tree is included: its form and its mechanics, its colors and its chemistry, its conversation with the elements and its conversation with the stars - all this in its entirety.

I and Thou 58

All actual life is encounter -- I and Thou 62

Man becomes an I through a You.

I and Thou 80
 

In the beginning is relation.

I and Thou 69

Without It a human being cannot live. But whoever lives only with that is not human.

I and Thou 85

The person beholds his self; the ego occupies himself with his My: my manner, my race, my works, my genius

The ego does not participate in any actuality nor does he gain any. He sets himself apart from everything else and tries to possess as much as possible by means of experience and use.

I and Thou 114

The word "I" remains the shibboleth of humanity. I and Thou 119


That you need God more than anything, you know at all times in your heart. But don't you know also that God needs you - in the fullness of his eternity, you? How would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you - for that which is the meaning of your life.

Creation -- happens to us, burns into us, changes us, we tremble and swoon, we submit.

Creation -- we participate in it, we encounter the creator, offer ourselves to him, helpers and companions.

I and Thou, 130

The eyes of an animal have the capacity of a great language.

I and Thou, 144