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October 03, 2005

curtains and oranges


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When George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it was an obvious opportunity to discuss the philosophy of Martin Buber, however briefly.

Actually, I've had this entry on the bench for a number of weeks, but I just couldn't find a graceful way to segue to it from my current obsession with avian flu. HAPPY PANDEMIC FLU AWARENESS WEEK, by the way. How was that for graceful?

Upon examination of the news photos of the announcement, I think we can all see, from the adoring look in Harriet's emphacized eyes, as well as from her statement that the president is the most brilliant man she ever met, that she is in the idealization phase of her relationship with W. W. is heavily into idealization too. Just look at what happens to those who differentiate.

I discussed idealization and differention some time ago in my wedding phase, before I started viewing myself as such dedicated public servant.

Differentiation is the process in which we first observe, then, hopefully, learn to appreciate, the unique differences another person brings to a relationship. Since I did such a good job explaining it before, I shall have to insist you read under the clickie for further elucidation.

Martin Buber takes the concept differentiation to a higher realm. He "is best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a religious existentialism centered on the distinction between direct, mutual relations (called by him the "I-Thou" relationship, or dialogue), in which each person confirms the other as of unique value, and indirect, utilitarian relations (designated the "I-It" relationship, or monologue), in which each person knows and uses others but does not really see or value them for themselves. In the former, a true dialogue exists because the I interrelates totally with the Thou, creating a union, a bonding, between the two. The I-Thou relationship involves risks, because total involvement cannot calculate injuries that may be inflicted on the I by the Thou. Human relationships can only approximate the perfect I-Thou dialogue. When people are in a genuine dialogue with God (the only perfect Thou), the true I-Thou relationship is present."

I am of the opinion that George W. has an "I-it" relationship with just about everyone, including God. I do not think he suffers differentiation lightly-- worshipful sycophancy is his preference. With the exception of his trainer, Karl-- that's probably more an "It-I" relationship. Speaking of KR, wonder what's happening in the high treason department?

I, of course, welcome the I-thou anytime. Just try to be gentle. I fear that I have driven away all my dear readers with my perseveration on the topic of avian flu. The high price of differentiation, I guess.

Visit a Buberish God at Blaugustine

Photo note: Curtains and oranges are certainly different from one another. That's about as far as I've gotten. To be honest, I just like the shot. When it's big, it's full of moire.

Posted by Dakota at October 3, 2005 09:12 PM