‘In the beginning was the relation’: On becoming less strange

We are strangers to each other despite our seeming transparencies, our open confessions, our public language. We use the same words and mean different things. We use different words and mean something else. We stand inside the clatter and the grind and say our public sayings. Some spend our mornings prizing apart concepts. But to what end? With what cause? For what reason?

There is another way: We become less strange to each other as we walk slowly along. There is no other way around: no beeline, no backdoor, no beck-and-call. Understanding: this is the slow work of finding words that, through the cultivation of unhurried experiences and the enactment of delicate gestures, finally become shared, becoming ours. So that words resonant in the relation.

Buber says, “In the beginning was the relation.”

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2 thoughts on “‘In the beginning was the relation’: On becoming less strange

  1. That’s a nice distinction, Emeri Gent, between the cut-and-thrust of discourse and the relaxed, unhurried condition of conversation. In my philosophy practice, I’ve been using the metaphor of the stroll.

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