The New Year: Going From "I-It" to "I-Thou"

Pemaquid Lighthouse, Maine © Mike Taylor & Sonia MacNeil 

2016 is coming to a close, and not soon enough for some.  2016 (well, most of the 20th & 21st Centuries) has been a year of I-It* – where the I (yes, that’s us folks) treat others as It’s – as functions, transactions, products, services – provided for our benefit and happiness. In an I-It world, our happiness, satisfaction, and worth are externally driven and temporary, requiring the next happiness "fix" and rarely requiring much, if any self-sacrifice.

So, let’s make 2017 the start of an I-Thou epoch.  In 2017, let’s treat others as Thou’s – as fellow humans in relationship with us, as people we are willing to make sacrifices for, not as functions for our benefit.  In an I-Thou world, we can both disagree and argue with each other AND still listen and value each other.  Our sense of satisfaction is intrinsically created from the breadth, depth and diversity of our relationships with Thou’s (not It’s).  This is a more permanent, fulfilling sense of, well, Joy - not fleeting and addictive as happiness.

Let’s make 2017 the start of an I-Thou epoch.

While the I-It of 2016 will greatly influence 2017, we don't have to let it control our personal and professional lives.  Join me in making 2017 the start of the I-Thou era in all aspects of our lives.  I believe - I know - that the beacon of light from a few I-Thou’s, actually from many I-Thou's all over a county, a state and a country, will light the world.



*Martin Buber, I-Thou