Martin Buber (1878-1965) was an eminent Jewish Philosopher. His most influential work was perhaps “Ich und Du” which was translated into English as “I and Thou.” Reading this book was a great challenge to me, but it was worth the effort.
“I and Thou”‘ was based on Buber’s philosophy of Dialogue which explored the distinction of what he called “I-Thou” or “I-it.”
According to Buber the “I Thou” seeks to establish communication between two individuals as they meet one another in authentic existence. Therefore the “Ich und Du” or “I-Thou” relationship includes “encounter, meeting, dialogue, mutuality, and exchange.”
On the other hand, the “Ich-Es” or “I-it” is the diametrical opposite of the “I-thou” encounter. The “I-it” does not include encounter, in fact, “beings do not actually meet. Individuals are mere mental relationships. There is no real relationship or encounter.”
Diversity training involves exploring the importance of dialogue or communication across self-defined cultural boundaries. It explores the value of moving beyond seeing others as mere behavioral surfaces, and seeking genuine encounter with others as persons.
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