What You'll Learn:
Originally published in 1923, I and Thou remains a classic in existentialist thought. The late Austrian philosopher Martin Buber argues that people can speak and exist in one of two realms, which he captures in two basic word pairings: I-It and I-You (or I-Thou). In the realm of I-It, we turn everything around us into an object, including each other. In the realm of I-You, a person stands in relation to another. I-It is the realm of experience; I-You is the realm of encounter. Buber warns that modern society is increasingly in the clutches of I-It, and the human spirit will wither without a return to I-You.