Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's a beautiful, enthralling book of lyrical ethical philosophy, so this passage jumped out unforgettably. Some American tourist must have been pulling Martin Buber's leg. Or he was pulling ours! I'm not pulling yours -- you could look it up.

We greet those we encounter by wishing them well or by assuring them of our devotion or by commending them to God. But how indirect are these worn-out formulas ("Hail!" no longer suggests anything of the original bestowal of power) compared with the eternally young, physical, relational greeting of the Kaffir, "I see you!" or its American variant, the laughable but sublime "Smell me!"
-- Martin Buber, I and Thou, trans. Walter Kaufmann, p. 70

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