Penn State

Christopher Long - Professor of Philosophy and Classics; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State University Park

Book Title: I and Thou

Author: Martin Buber

Book Description:

I first encountered this eloquent little book when I was still in high school. Already at that time I was struck by the beautiful simplicity of its central idea: that we become first who we really are only in relation with others. As Buber puts it: "All real living is meeting," "Alles wirkliche Leben ist Begegnung." The tremendous difficulty of that simple idea only became clear to to me over time as I realized that all genuine meeting requires risking something of ourselves in relation to those we encounter. 
Buber's central idea thus became a kind of living project to speak and act in ways that are genuine and enriching rather than duplicitous and impoverishing. This book and the project that it announces has had a lasting influence on my academic scholarship and my personal and professional life, these being intimately intertwined. It is implicitly at work in both of my books on Aristotle and in much of what I have written, though its power lies in the way it has influenced my life as a husband, father, son, teacher and scholar. 


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