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    “You and I”: love according to the philosopher Martin Buber

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    Joe Dispenza
    @joedispenza
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    We all appreciate love, but we care more about being loved than about developing our ability to love. As a result, it's not uncommon for love to lead to a sequence of liquid relationships that end as soon as they begin.

    We immerse ourselves in love in search of our "soul mate", in an attempt to complete what we lack and silence the deep loneliness and the feeling of separateness, so it is not strange that we end up exploiting both that love and the person beloved, distancing more and more from mature love. The alternative? Understanding love like Martin Buber, the philosopher of dialogue, based on his conception of "You and I".



    Man lives in his love

    When we establish a relationship with someone, we can give ourselves to that person in the same way that that person gives himself to us. This means that we are both the object and the subject of the relationship. So we can make the mistake of identifying our feelings with love, giving it a possessive character that leads us to make selfish use of our soul mate. We believe that since our feelings for our partner belong to us, the partner also belongs to us.

    Buber warns us of this misunderstanding by differentiating the feelings of love: “Feelings are possessed, but love happens. Feelings inhabit man, but man abides in his love. It is not a metaphor, but reality: love does not adhere to the I by making You a 'content', an object, but is between You and I. Who does not know this, who does not know it with his whole being, does not know love, although he attributes to love the feelings he feels, feels, enjoys or expresses ”.


    Love is, therefore, an action between You and I, it resides in each one but despite this, it manifests itself only between the two. By transforming love into a productive act between two people, we realize that we cannot "own" it, we can only give and receive, in a constant flow that creates the intersubjective space in which we end up living.


    Love as a unique combination of mutual freedom and responsibility

    "Love is the responsibility of an I for a You: here lies the equality between those who love each other, equality that cannot reside in a feeling, whatever it is, equality that goes from the smallest to the largest", he wrote Buber.

    This philosopher was convinced that mature love can only be achieved through a unique combination of freedom and responsibility. Love would be a sharing, building a shared space in which two people take on a commitment and a responsibility for each other, but remain free. This means they are free to reaffirm or break that commitment every day. And it is that delicate balance between freedom and commitment that gives love its magic, knowing that the other person can leave and yet they choose us every day, as we choose them again every day.

    The transforming power of vulnerable love

    For love to become a nourishing and developing experience, it is necessary for both people to give themselves completely, without reserve, seeing each other as an equal. “Only when the individual recognizes the other in all his otherness while recognizing himself, as a man, and goes from this recognition to the encounter of the other, will he have broken his loneliness in a rigorous and transforming encounter. It is clear that such an event can only happen as a shaking of the person as a person, ”says Buber.


    That kind of relationship between you and me requires vulnerability, that a crack is produced in the hard shell that protects the selfish ego to let the other into that intimate space. This love requires people to shed their egos and show themselves as they are, assuming, however terrible it may be, that the other person is causing them terrible pain, but still betting on that relationship.



    This kind of love is what breaks down barriers and allows us to grow. As Buber pointed out: “For those who live in love and contemplate in love, men free themselves from everything that connects them to universal confusion; good and bad, wise and foolish, beautiful and ugly, all of them, one after the other, become real in their eyes, they become so many You, that is, free, defined, unique beings; they each see them face to face. In a wonderful way, an exclusive presence occasionally arises. So I can help, heal, educate, uplift, free. "


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