I’m not familiar with Buber except by passing references in discussions on spirituality with friends. However, the “I-It” and “I-You” relationships are steeped in the European phenomenological tradition. Phenomenological theories allow us to build on such intangible qualities as love by ascribing additional characteristics as respect, honesty, loyalty, civility which are equally subjective but can be described situationally to provoke thought and reflection. E.g. what are characteristics of an honest encounter? Given situation A (discovery of an act of deception, awareness of deep political or religious differences, feelings of attraction or distrust) how would you react and engage with person B?

This is not dragging us deeper into the intangible but closer to understanding what “love” or an engagement between selfs (as opposed to engagement with objects) might entail. It is also an exercise in awareness American culture isn’t prone to pursue beyond the level of self-help engagementr (an “I Me” relationship that frequently undermines the “I You”).

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