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I and Thou

Somewhere in Martin Buber's book "I and Thou" I remember the phrase - not necessarily in these words, but meaning "those who choose hate as a way out because they don't know what to do with their lives."

Now I confess I cannot find this quote although there are many by Buber or from people who write about his ideas.

I keep thinking of this phrase now that Donald Trump clearly directed his campaign through support from white supremacist, misogynist and an anti-immigrant demographic.

But what should "they" do with their lives when there are not enough jobs that will pay a living wage and will treat them with dignity?

The only thing that will come out of hate is a world of mute strangers competing with and afraid of the other.

Buber's main proposition is that we live in a dialogue with the world.  Either as I-and-It or I-and-Thou and that we find meaning through our relationships. I-and-Thou means I stand in relation to you as the meaning of  our lives unfold, giving me direction through inspiration in what to do with my life. The I-and-It is currently how our economic system is organized. People are workers, immigrants, criminals, customers and constituents. They are "Its" to be managed for the most profit.

I feel a burning rage inside that life has been reduced to this. I understand the rage coming from those made redundant by the ideology of neoliberalism. And I fear that hate will engulf the schools, the libraries, the clinics and malls just as it has in Syria.

It's not naivety to begin to live in relation to life - it is the reason for it.


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