chapter  2
39 Pages

Relationship As Reciprocity: Grace

Relation is reciprocity. My You acts on me as I act on it. Our students teach us, our works form us.

(Martin Buber, 1970, p. 67)

In his book I and Thou (1970), the philosopher Martin Buber contrasts two ways of relating with other. One might also call these “attitudes” or “stances” toward the other. One of such stances, he refers to as an I-It relation, characterized by a lack of mutuality and reciprocity, wherein the I is complicit in a typical subject-object relationship. This is to say that because the other, as It in the I-It relation, does not act upon the I, it is essentially relegated to “object” status. As such, it is an instrumental way of the subject (I ) to relate to other (It).