Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I-Thou, I-It

Martin Buber states that communication is "a relation between persons that is characterized in more or less degree by the element of inclusion"....One of Buber’s greatest contribution’s to the field of communication was in his explanation of the unique differences between dialogue and monologue communication styles. Dialogue communication is an “I-Thou” relationship, requiring genuine interest amongst the parties involved. “I-it” is more or less, a conversation with an individual who is seen as a mere object. Their thoughts and/or feelings are disregarded. Whilst reading Buber, I was brought back to a time in my life, where I treated God like an “it” although He always treated me as a “Thou”. I was angry with him and therefore had no interest in His plans, thoughts, or desires for my life. I disregarded Him and communicated with Him in ways that showed that disregard. Buber believed that dialogue is conscious-oriented; thought must be placed into the conversation. My “monologue” with God was a means to an end.

Along with that, a good reading is The Narrow Ridge by Arnette. On page 173, he says "The narrow ridge requires a balancing of concern for self and other in proportionate amounts for what is needed by the situation...” God always abides by the narrow ridge- His steady concerns for us do not waiver.

How often do we communicate with, and treat people as though they are an "it"... shouldn't we always communicate with people as though they are a Thou? We should-after all that person you are talking to was made in the image of God.