Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Number Seven

Nothing on earth is more important than pain.  We come here knowing how to love.  What we need to learn is how to love because of -- and despite -- pain.

The great task of life is learning to maintain an I-Thou (see Martin Buber) relationship in the face of pain.  Pain demands that we cope, do something.  And that something is to make relationship I-It, to make the other something to manipulate, coerce, or destroy.  In I-It, the other is not human, with human fear, longing, hope, and hurt.  The other is a commodity -- something to be used.  Or discarded.  Pain transforms the other into It.

The central task of life is to resist the impulse to dehumanize, and to see the Thou while being hurt, frustrated, or profoundly disappointed.

I-It is the source of all evil.  Whether it be small emotional shivs, or a terrorist bombing.

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