Martin Buber (1878-1965)

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

“The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.”

“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

“Everyone must come out of his Exile in his own way.”

“The real struggle is not between East and West, or capitalism and communism, but between education and propaganda.”

“I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man’s life. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience. ”

“We cannot avoid using power, cannot escape the compulsion to afflict the world, so let us, cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction, love powerfully.”

“Play is the exultation of the possible.”

“There are three principles in a man’s being and life: The principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow-men is that I do not say what I mean and I don’t do what I say.”

“The world is not comprehensible, but it is embraceable: through the embracing of one of its beings.”

“All real living is meeting.”

“This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul’s creative power. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being..”

“We can be redeemed only to the extent to which we see ourselves.”

“One cannot in the nature of things expect a little tree that has been turned into a club to put forth leaves.”

“If I had been asked in my early youth whether I preferred to have dealings only with men or only with books, my answer would certainly have been in favor of books. In later years this has become less and less the case. Not that I have had so much better experiences with men than with books; on the contrary, purely delightful books even now come my way more often than purely delightful men. But the many bad experiences with men have nourished the meadow of my life as the noblest book could not do, and the good experiences have made the earth into a garden for me.

Here is an infallible test. Imagine yourself in a situation where you are alone, wholly alone on earth, and you are offered one of the two, books or men. I often hear men prizing their solitude, but that is only because there are still men somewhere on earth, even though in the far distance. I knew nothing of books when I came forth from the womb of my mother, and I shall die without books, with another human hand in my own. I do, indeed, close my door at times and surrender myself to a book, but only because I can open the door again and see a human being looking at me.”

“Solitude is the place of purification.”

“And if there were a devil it would not be one who decided against God, but one who, in eternity, came to no decision. ”

“To look away from the world, or to stare at it, does not help a man to reach God; but he who sees the world in Him stands in His presence.”

“Feeling one “has”; love occurs.”

“Every man’s foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never-recurring potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, and be it even the greatest, has already achieved.”

“All actual life is encounter.”

“Love is responsibility of an I for a You: in this consists what cannot consist in any feeling – the equality of all lovers..”

“If a person kills a tree before its time, it is like having murdered a soul. ”

“Mundus vult decipi: the world wants to be deceived.”

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