There has been so much bad communication over the past year: people talking in warring monologues past each other, ignoring the facts and using lazy stereotypes like “elites” and “Trumpeans” to reduce complex individuals into simplistic categories. Meanwhile, our main candidates are poor connectors. We’ve got the self-enclosed narcissism of Donald Trump and, to a lesser degree, the mistrustful defensiveness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
.. You’re fearful, closed or withdrawn — objectifying her, talking at her, offering only a shallow piece of yourself and seeing only the shallow piece of her.
.. I-Thou relationships, on the other hand, are personal, direct, dialogical — nothing is held back. A Thou relationship exists when two or more people are totally immersed in their situation, when deep calls to deep, when they are offering up themselves and embracing the other in some total, unselfconscious way, when they are involved in “mutual animated describing.”
.. A doctor has an I-It relationship with a patient when he treats him as a machine in need of repair.
.. But Buber argued that it’s nonsensical to think of the self in isolation. The I only exists in relation to some other.
.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,”
.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,” he wrote.
.. You can’t intentionally command I-Thou moments into being. You can only be open to them and provide fertile soil.
.. Today, America is certainly awash in distrust. So many people tell stories of betrayal. So many leaders (Trump) model combativeness, isolation and distrust. But the only way we get beyond depressing years like this one is at the level of intimacy: