Today @ Healingsprings fellowship 

Who is a prophet?

In our time it is easy to see prophets as social reformers, but first and foremost a prophet is a man of God. He is a religious visionary, an innovator, an original thinker; who impresses his own new moral insights on society, arriving at fresh ideas about religion. As such a prophet’s criticisms is felt to have a force and authority that cannot be matched by any known institution on earth.
Last week we delved into two of Amos’ teaching: social and economic justice, and obedience and total loyalty to God – not sacrifices. 
Pressing on, today I’ll be treating his monotheistic view. For Amos, the other gods did not even get an audience – Yahweh is sovereign! 
If time permits, I will explore his visions (5 in total), and his intercessory dialogue. Questions include: when did the visions occur? Is Amos’ writing in chronological order?
However the most valuable questions are these: what is Amos’ message? How can we apply it in our lives and our relationship with God?
So, join us! 
The English Room, Bexleyheath Academy



2016: Our Season of Plenty

(Gen. 41: 46-52)


A Critically assessment of the meaning of the ‘signs’ of the Fourth Gospel, and their function within the theology of the Gospel as a whole


By way of background, the Fourth Gospel differs significantly from the other gospels in terms of content and character. It is a gospel in its own right, written to a particular community, perhaps to be used as part of their liturgy, fellowship, worship, meditation, and exhortation.

Bruce (1994) divides the Fourth Gospel into the following main sections: a prologue (1:1–18), (a.) Jesus’ ministry begins (1:19- 2:12); (b.) Jesus reveals the father in the world (2:13–12:50); (c.) Jesus reveals the father to his disciples (13:1–17:26); (d.) Passion and triumph (18:1–20:31); and an epilogue (pp. 25–27).

Most scholars estimate that the Fourth Gospel is the last of the four gospels, and it was written between 70 -100 AD, a long while after the death of Christ. It is written in classical Greek, giving the notion that it was written by a highly educated person, with a good understanding of: the Old Testament, classical literature of that era, and an in-depth understanding of the Jewish tradition. This raises questions about authorship, which would be superfluous for me to delve into in this piece. However in-passing, I would like to note that there are doubts in some quarters with the traditional view of the author being John the son of Zebedee, especially if we go with the common view that he was a Galilean fisherman. Most scholars and historians agree that in that era fishermen do not write or speak in classical Greek, on the other hand, one cannot dismiss the possibility of a scribe writing on his behalf.

With regards to authorial intent, Cullmann (1959) noted that “we are not dependent upon a hypothesis in order to answer this question, for, in the following verse of the same passage, he gives us the answer himself: ‘These signs are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” (p. 38), alluding to John 20:31.


The signs, their meanings and functions within the theology of the Fourth Gospel

Most scholars agree that there are seven signs in the Fourth Gospel, which are carefully embedded within the text in Chapters 2–11, popularly referred to as the Book of Signs in Christian tradition. They include: Water into Wine; the healing of the Officer’s son; the cure of the Bethesda Cripple; the Feeding of the five Thousand; the Walking on the Water; the healing of the Man born Blind; and the raising of Lazarus.

In Chapters 1–12, we can clearly deduce that Jesus’ miracles were aimed at manifesting God’s glory (2:11), a key facet of his earthly ministry (11:40). While on this point, it is important to note that with reference to the Walking on the Water, Hunter (1968) stated that the phrase used “would naturally mean ‘walking by the sea’” (p. 66). Hunter noted further that the centre of the story could well be the recognition of Jesus by his disciples in their moment of need.

That aside, when we look at the signs linearly or sequentially, we notice that the five signs between the first and last signs are not too dissimilar from those in the earlier gospels, however the first and the last signs are unique to the Fourth Gospel. For this reason I will give greater focus to them.

For the evangelist, the term signs are used instead of miracles, giving the notion of events coded with meaning, pointing the believer or pilgrim to a direction or destination — this destination being Christ himself (John 14:6). Strengthening this argument, in Jesus’ discourse with the royal official in Capernaum whose son was gravely ill, Jesus challenged their unhealthy appetite for miracles, saying “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” (John 4:48)

Interestingly, Bakers Dictionary of Theology defines biblical signs as “a mark by which persons or things are distinguished and made known. In Scripture used generally of an address to the senses to attest the existence of super sensible and therefore divine power. Thus the plagues of Egypt were “signs” of divine displeasure against the Egyptians (Exodus 4:8; Joshua 24:17, and often); and the miracles of Jesus were “signs” to attest His unique relationship with God (Matthew 12:38; John 2:18; Acts 2:22).” On this point Hunter (1968) noted, “different also is John’s vocabulary for miracle. In the synoptic miracles are dunameis, ‘acts of power’, ‘mighty works’. In St John they are erga, ‘works’, when Jesus is speaking, and when the evangelist or others are speaking, semeia, ‘signs’, i.e. acts symbolic of spiritual truth” (p. 67).

The symbols of worship in the Old Testament such as festivals, the Temple, animals, clothing, Sabbaths, the Ark, etc., were confined to structures, locations, space and time. For example, when the exiles returned and rebuilt the temple, the Day of Atonement could not be re-instituted as a result of the absence of the Ark of the Covenant. But the signs in the Fourth Gospel are not subject to these limitations, instead, they open up a transcendental dimension, and new opportunities for theology and worship.

To this end, the first sign introduces this paradigm, and the last sign crystallises or seals it. Therefore, in terms of Theology and Christology, the evangelist uses these seven signs to emphasise a pre-existent logos, not limited by race, space and time, thereby establishing an incarnational, and universal Christology for salvation. In the words of Cullmann (1959), “the divine presence is no longer bound to the Temple, but to the Person of Christ. For that reason worship is no longer geographically limited, but all worship becomes worship in the ‘Spirit’; even the Sabbath is abolished” (p. 117)

In reference to semiotics (the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation), Aichele (1997) noted that, “no signs ever actually appears that is not all or part of some message” (p. 23) For the evangelist and his audience, the meaning and functions of these signs would have been common knowledge, only to have been lost centuries after Christianity and Judaism went their separate ways. Not long after this happened, the Church reached its gentile age, and a lack of cultural intelligence led to a different reading and understanding of the Fourth Gospel. In view of this Cohen (1988) stated that “the separation of Christianity from Judaism was a process, not an event. The essential part of this process was that the church was becoming more and more gentile, and less and less Jewish, but the separation manifested itself in different ways in each local community where Jews and Christians dwelt together. In some places, the Jews expelled the Christians; in other, the Christians left of their own accord.” (p. 228)

Now to the first sign (the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee), chapter 2:1–12. This event follows two sequences of the use of the words ‘on the next day’ (1:29, 35), almost as if the author was writing a diary of Jesus’ daily activity, then he introduces this episode with the opening line: ‘On the third day’ (2:1). For Spong (2014), “one cannot be mystical in one’s approach to God and still be literal about the symbols ones uses for God (p. 63), however Bruce (1994) argues strongly against a literal interpretation, noting for instance that “attempts have been made to make her [the mother of Jesus] allegorically in this gospel — as personifying Israel or the Church for example — but their validity is very doubtful” (p. 68). With regards to the water and wine, Cullmann (1959) notes that Jesus’ “refusal was directed against the fact that the mother saw the changing of water into wine as a self-sufficient miracle, while Jesus saw in it a pointer to a far greater miracle which he would not yet fulfil, since ‘the hour for it is not yet come” (p. 67). The hour being his crucifixion which is the high point of the evangelist’s gospel. It symbolises Jesus’ vindication, and perhaps most importantly, his lifting (John 8:28). For the evangelist the cross means victory, it is the hour, it is the completion of Jesus’ work, hence the statement: “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Most scholars agree that the wine signifies the blood of Jesus, shared among the faithful during Eucharist, while some see the water as the water of purification in the Old Testament context. Therefore with regards to the new wine which tastes better than the old one, it encodes “the Christian message: the good wine has come in Jesus” (Fuller 1963:93).

On the seventh sign (John 11:1–14), we are introduced to Lazarus, who like the Beloved Disciple was dearly loved by Jesus. In fact Jesus began to weep enroute to Lazarus’ tomb (11:35). His commitment to his friends (in the wider sense) would ultimately lead to his fate on the cross (John 11:45–57). And just as he alluded in an earlier discourse with Nicodemus (John 3:14–16), this sign points readers to the pre-existence logos who would ultimately fulfil his hour on the cross, so that his friends may have life (John 15:12–13).For Fuller (1963), “the story proclaims Christ’s triumph over the powers that hold man in thrall” (p. 96).

It means that God is faithful. He came through Jesus that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). He came to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13), like in the words of Proverbs: “some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin” (Proverbs 18:24). Spong (2014) links the evangelist’s seventh signs to Luke’s version of the story, noting that “the insight Luke had developed in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man is that ‘they will not be convinced if someone should rise from the dead’ (Luke 16:31)”, he further stressed that “their response to Lazarus was identical with their response to Jesus” (pp.157–158).

On this point, Cassidy (1992), noted that Jesus’ opponents within this text include: “the Pharisees, the chief priests, Annas, Caiaphas, the authorities, the Jews, the Council (Sanhedrin), Judas, Satan, and the world” (p. 40). Apart from Satan, these groups and individuals were referred to as ‘the Jews’ in the Fourth Gospel, linking seamlessly with verses in John 1:11–13. While on Chapter 1, we need to also note that John 1:12–13 connects with developments within Judaism and Christianity at the end of the first century. In relation to this Barrett (1975) stated that “a century of parallelism can be established. There was a mutual assimilation; there were even men for whom there were two religions, Judaism and Christianity, but only one Jewish Christianity” (p. 68).

As a seal on the signs, Jesus has this beautiful dialogue with Martha which led to the revelation, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (25–26), to this claim, Martha responded: “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (27). So, in an era of persecution, in which martyrdom serves as the ultimate sign of worship, the assurance of resurrection is a really powerful motif. It brings to mind a lament of the prophet: “Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8). And when we link this to Luke’s Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1–8), we hear a call to the community, a call to love, patience, perseverance, persistence and steadfastness.



So, casting our minds back to John 20:30–31, we deduce that the signs recorded in the Fourth Gospel were carefully selected and woven into the fabrics of the story by the evangelist, with a view to create a tapestry rich in meaning and functionality, imaginably like those of the curtains in the Sistine Chapel.

Just as Paul noted in his letter to the Church in Corinth, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22), and the evangelist himself in John 4:48; signs and wonders should naturally emanate from believers into the world. But these signs are means to an end, and not the end in of itself, therefore they fit firmly within the overarching framework of the gospel and it’s Theology.

Barrett (1975) noted that the evangelist combines Gnosis and anti-Gnosticism, so “salvation comes through knowing, yet salvation consists not of knowledge but love” (p. 72), that the evangelist “combines deep interest in apostolic foundation of the church with an indifference toward it as an institution dispensing salvation” (p. 74), and he “combines apocalyptic with non-apocalyptic material” (p. 73). For the evangelist “there is no historical moment which is self-explanatory — not the present moment of mystical or churchly experience, not even the historical moment of the activity of Jesus” (Barrett 1975:73).

The stories, signs, and their meaning provides the faithful with insight into the life of Christ; addresses pertinent issues they were facing at the time; provided inspiration and comfort for their spiritual journey; preserved their faith through the passing on of knowledge and wisdom as in traditions in Judaism to new converts and their offspring (Deuteronomy 11:9); expanded the kingdom through missionary efforts; and it provided a reference point for doctrinal and theological matters



Barrett, C. K. and Smith, D. M. (1975) The Gospel of John and Judaism. London: S.P.C.K

Brown, R. E. E. (1987) The Community of the Beloved Disciple. New York: Paulist Press International, U.S

Bruce, F. F. (1959) The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company

Cohen, S. J. . J. D. (1987) From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Vol. 7. Philadelphia: Westminster/John Knox Press, U.S

Cullmann, O. and O, C. (1953) Early Christian worship / Oscar Cullman ; translated by A. Stewart Todd and James B. Torrance. London: SCM Press

Culpepper, A. R. (1983) Anatomy of the fourth gospel: A study in literary design. Philadelphia: Augsburg Fortress Publishing

Fuller, R. H. (1966) Interpreting the miracles. United Kingdom: SCM-Canterbury Press.

Spong, J. S. (2014) The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish mystic. United States: Harper Collins Publishers

Bakers Dictionary of Theology, Bible Study Tools: last accessed 22/1/16




A Critical Review of Martin Buber’s I and Thou, in light of Christian theology and Capitalism

According to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion can be defined as “the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions.”

With this definition in mind, in Judaeo-Christian traditions we are introduced to the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1–9. This particular story is pertinent to Buber’s I and Thou as it involves language oriented communication which Buber’s work is centred around. In this story, we see a rare moment in human history when humanity had one language, and we embarked on a global project to build a house that reaches the heavens. This venture was however sabotaged by God, by confusing the language of the builders, thereby leading to an abrupt end of this global undertaking.

That aside, driven by capitalist ideologies, biologists argue that our mental and emotional being are controlled by a complex system of neurons, synapses, and other biochemical substances by millions of year of evolution, as such our moods and emotions can be altered and enhanced with the right chemistry. The barriers of consciousness are being pushed with robotics and artificial intelligence, with scientists predicting that before the end of this century, we will see bespoke interventions to alter DNAs, and biomechanics that can enhance our current capabilities beyond our wildest dreams. In some ways fulfilling the dream of the mid-19th century German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who mentioned in his piece God is dead that “all beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the Overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment” (Gay Science Collection).

So, I write a critical review of Martin Buber’s I and Thou, through the prism of human relation in Christian theology and Capitalism.

Martin Buber, I and Thou

Buber is influenced by a wide range of philosophical traditions and sources, including Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Hermann Lotze, Coleridge’s Essay on Faith, Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity and Kierkegaard’s Single One.

In Coleridge’s Essay on Faith, Coleridge builds upon German philosophical tradition of I am being the last word. This theory argues for the unity of nature to be necessarily and only grounded in the Self of man. But according to Coleridge, that Self itself is to be necessarily grounded in another Self, in his words: “I am, precisely because I can say “Thou art!” — for it is just the power and will to say so which makes me an “I”.’ Interestingly Martin Buber developed his dialogical existentialism piece under the title: I and Thou.

For Buber our relationships as humans works on the premise of existence as encounters. He articulated this by using the word pairs: I -Thou and I-It, describing both as encounters through which an individual engages with other individuals, inanimate objects, and all reality, including consciousness, modes of interaction, and being. In light of this Buber mentioned that “the primary word I-Thou can only be spoken with the whole being. The primary word I-It can never be spoken with the whole being” (p.3). This recurring theme is used to describe the dual modes of being: dialogue as in I-Thou, and monologue as in I — It. As such, communication, particularly language-oriented, is used in describing dialogue or monologue through symbols and expression of the relational nature of human existence.

In line with the word pairs, Buber mentions three distinct complex sphere of relationships, namely: our life with nature, our life with men, and our life with intelligible (spiritual) forms. Buber noted that in the first sphere “this relationship sways in gloom, beneath the level of speech. Creatures live and move over against us, but cannot come to us, and when we address them as Thou, our words cling to the threshold of speech” (p .6); in the second sphere “the relationship is open and in the form of speech. We can give and accept the Thou” (p. 6); while in the third sphere, the “relationship is clouded, yet it discloses itself; it does not use speech, yet begets it” (p. 6).

Buber maintains that a person is at all times engaged with the world in one of these two modes, employing these word pairs in articulating a multifaceted idea about modes of being, predominantly, how a person exists and actualises such existence.

Christian Theology and I and Thou

Buber held a personalist view. Keith E. Yandell’s Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defined personalism as “the thesis that only persons (self-conscious agents) and their states and characteristics exist, and that reality consists of a society of interacting persons. Typically, a personalist will hold that finite persons depend for their existence and continuance on God, who is the Supreme Person, having intelligence and volition.”

Buber noted that an I‑Thou relation is a mutual and holistic existence between two authentic individual beings. He describes it as a concrete encounter, arguing that “when Thou is spoken, the speaker has not thing of his object. For where there is a thing there is another thing. Every It is bounded by others; It exists only through bounded others.” (p. 4). The two beings meet one another in their authentic existence, without any qualification or objectification of one another, even their ideas and imagination are active in this relation. Strengthening his idea, Buber emphasises that although I-Thou is not an event, it is still perceivable and real. In his words, “when Thou is spoken, the speaker has not thing; he has indeed nothing. But he takes his stand in relation” (p. 4).

In this mode, we are fully engaged, completely present, mutuality, reciprocity, recognising and affirming the other persons full humanity, we are present in the present, it happens in the here and now — rather than in the there and then. In his view, this I-Thou experience is the most precious part of our human experience and part of our birth right. It is at the very core of all genuine transcendence, creativity and spirituality. As such, he argues that we don’t grow as human beings all on our own in any deep way, but all genuine growing and becoming requires a Thou. In other words, growing and becoming only occurs between people, rather than within or outside of people.

In Ephesians 2:13–22 for instance, Paul uses similar ideas, “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (v. 14), in bridging historic division between the Jews and the Gentiles within the early church. In like manner Buber noted, “Spirit in its manifestation is a response of man to his Thou. Man speaks with many tongues, tongues of language, of art, of action; but the spirit is one, the response to the Thou which appears and addresses him out of mystery. Spirit is the word.” (p. 39).

With regards to God, Buber presents a pantheistic logic of the omnipresence of God, in line Hassidism (a strand of Judaism) tradition which he was a follower. Buber asserts that this relationship is the foundation of any possible interaction with God, and that an I-Thou relationship with anything or anyone connects in some way with the eternal relation to God. Therefore every I-Thou relations makes at least an indirect reference to God, consequently even self-proclaimed atheist who experience the I-thou in their lives are living in relation to God, much more so that self-proclaimed theists who experience little or no I-Thou experiences. Buber asserts that “the man who experiences has no part in the world. For it is ‘In Him’ and not between him and the world that the experience arises” (p. 5). This ties in with the concept of redemption, as seen in an excerpt from one of John’s letters, “those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20).

According to Buber, to create this I–Thou relationship with the Eternal Thou (God), even though we are meant to be actively pursuing it (as in the case of Paul’s Damascus experience in Acts 9:1–19), we should be open to the idea of such a relationship in the first place (being a Jew, the concept of a messiah was known to Paul, in fact most Jews in that era were expecting the messiah). For Buber, pursuit of such a relation creates qualities associated with the tensions of It-ness, thereby hindering an I-Thou relation, reducing it to I-It.

In Christian theology, this idea undermines the profound spiritual experience of, for example, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22–38), who were clearly actively seeking God in the person of the Messiah. In Buber’s view, God responds to our openness to an I–Thou relation through grace, furthermore, because God is void of qualities, this I–Thou relation is unique and dependent on us. But it can also diminish when we treat it as an I-It relationship.

In light of this, Buber alludes that our spiritual lives are not so much about what we proclaim, but how we live in relation. So even though prayer is the most important way of addressing God directly, it can be reduced to an I-It when it takes the form of objectifying God. For example when our prayers and devotion is centred on getting God to produce good things, while withholding bad things from us, for example in the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), Psalm 23, or Jabez’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 4:10.

For Buber, this is a form of objectification and manipulation, and a typical example of how we address God as an It, rather than standing in relation to God as the Eternal Thou. Buber noted, “how would man exist if God did not need him, and how would you exist? You need God in order to be, and God needs you — for that which is the meaning of your life.” (p. 130).

Capitalism and I and Thou

Humankind long for an era of peace, cooperation and wealth. On the political front we have alliances like: the Arab League, European Union, United Nations, Organisation of African Unity, Economic Community of West African States, National Atlantic Treaty Organisation etc., however these pursuits remain illusions. Sectarianism, nationalism, civil wars, racism, inequalities, genocides, neo-colonialism, anti-Semitism, islamophobia, unfair trade, social inequality, gender discrimination, terrorism, environmental pollution, and far right ideologies remain rife.

For instance, we recently witnessed France’s biggest attack in peace times, with the attackers (most of them EU citizens) claiming to act in the name of Allah against infidels (their fellow citizens). On the other front, and perhaps even more concerning, some Christians blame the victims for the attacks, citing secularisation, abortion statistics, and that those at the Bataclan were singing songs to the devil.

As well as religion, the socio-economic undertones of these issues cannot be ignored either. Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, argued that the human desire to increase private profit is the basis for collective wealth, in a nutshell, egoism (I-It) is altruism. As a result the world and its vast resources can be seen as an It to be exploited and not enjoyed. But capitalism works for the greater good when business owners perceive wealth as capital to be reinvested. This mode of thinking promotes fairer trade, human capital development, environmentally friendly invention and innovation, creation of gainful employment opportunities and payment of fairer wages. However a key dogma of capitalism is individualism, which is also a pillar of neo-liberalisation. Starting from the 1980s, neoliberal agenda in the UK and USA especially, led to dramatic cultural shifts in attitudes towards wealth creation, community relation, and wealth distribution.

Evidently capitalism has brought some gains to humanity, but sometimes I worry if its woes outweigh these gains. For instance in present times in Europe, those at the fringes of society are literally falling off the cliff, as we see the rise of food banks, stagnation in social mobility, youth unemployment, right wing activism, drug and alcohol abuse, terrorism, and poverty of aspiration. According to the BBC, forty-seven percent of jobs as we know them today in the US are likely to be lost through recent development in technology. So Buber argues that in our modern and technological life, I-It is more dominant than I-Thou.

Buber’s view is perhaps more pertinent now with the internet of all things and social media playing a big role in human communication — in fact in many ways replacing genuine encounters. Buber mentions a culture of capriciousness, as he put it, “the capricious man does not believe in encounter, he does not know association, he only knows the world out there and his desire to use it.” (p.109).

For Buber, by operating in an I-It mode our relationship is objectified, through either manipulation or a means-end mentality. Buber asserts that Using is an externalised way of addressing the world, while Experiencing is an internalised way of addressing the world. Therefore, I-It is not with our whole being, but rather through habits, experience, and patterns of interaction. In this mode we manipulate others through fear, guilt, hype, moralism, from our past experiences, in much the same way we use our objects. In this mode there is no acknowledgement of the other person’s humanity.


We are evidently, more comfortable, but less happy or fulfilled. It seems that our greatest enemy is our individualistic or self-centred worldview, which cuts across humanity, regardless of religious persuasion or none; hence the need for redemption.

When Jesus was asked the fate of people that encountered similar plights to those in the massacre in Paris, he responded with these words:

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them — do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:1–5).

In these verses, Jesus highlights the universal need for all to be redeemed (unless you repent) from the corruption of this world, and in Buber, the concept of redemption seems to be a crosscutting theme. I hasten to qualify that redemption here means a process of recovery, which among other key themes reverses the judgement on humanity in the aforementioned passage in Gen. 11:1–9.

In optimism Buber talks about the return. However for the return to happen, we need to call the incubus of the world of I-It by its true name. According to Buber Incubus fetters opportunities to experience real relation, transcendence, and spirituality. Buber asserts that the return requires the sacrifice our little will which is unfree and ruled by things and our ego, to our great will which is free from these forces.

Bubers work is timeless. A book everyone should take time to read. However, my study of Buber leaves the following questions unanswered: how do we practically identify incubus and call it by its name? How can I-Thou prevail against the establishment and powers structures? With developments in artificial intelligence and robotics, should a robot be considered an It or a Thou?



Friedrich Nietzsche, Gay Science Collection, (1882)

Keith E. Yandell, Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Routledge:, last accessed 27/11/15

Martin Buber, I and Thou, translated by Ronald Gregor Smith (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958)

Rachel Nuwer, Will Machines Eventually Take on Every Jobs?  (6 August 2015):, last accessed: 27/11/15