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By: Shtelman Rina The Kaye Academic Educational College , Beer-Sheva, Israel
In his essay “Education” written in 1925, Martin Buber states that:
“What we term education, conscious and willed, means to give decisive selection by man of the effective world: it means to give decisive effective power to a selection of the world, which is concentrated and manifested in the educator. The relation in education is lifted out of the purposelessly streaming education of all things, and is marked off as purpose. In this way, through the educator, the world for the first time becomes the true subject of its effect.”1
The concern of the educator, while educating, should be remaining a true mediator, a selector, and a giver of direction. This should be done through real dialogue, responsibility, and faith. The model for such education “remains the classical master, through him the selection of the effective world reaches the pupil”.2 In the same article Buber states that:
“Art is then only the province in which a faculty of production, which is common to all, reaches completion. Everyone is elementally endowed with the basic powers of the arts, with that of drawing, for instance, or of music; these powers have to be developed, and in education of the whole person is to be built up on them as on the natural activity of the self.” 3
Each attitude accords with a primary word. I imagine something. Buber also explains at length what is the meaning of rue dialogue. The life of human beings does not consist of all this and the like alone. In dealing with these concerns a person is usually not relating with one's entire being. which spring from it. described in Buber’s article suggests that creativity and art creations are different capacities. I-Thou relations. But education itself has to be based upon one’s whole and true self. The I-It attitude and the relations. from early childhood. given the fact that all of us humans are born with a capacity of creative powers demonstrated through creative activities in the domain of art.” 4 2 . Buber points out that the world is twofold for every person. meaning. the relation between education and art. I am sensible of something. Buber explains how people relate and what are the forms of relating in the world. upon dialogical . I and Thou. the kind of dialogue that is essential during educational processes.Thus the connection between art and education is a natural one. In Martin Bubers' words the relation between art and education when educating is sometimes an I-It relation. Buber states clearly that the I-Thou is spoken with one's whole being. govern most human concerns in everyday life. in accordance with one's twofold attitudes. One primary word is the combination I-Thou. upon which education can be based. I think something. However. He writes: “I perceive something. in contrast the I-It is never spoken with one's whole being. In his major ontological work. I feel something. I will something. But the realm of Thou has a different basis. the other is I-It. This and the like together establish the realm of it.
persisting as they may be. Buber points to three spheres in which such a relationship comes into being: life with nature. its beauty becomes manifest. a spectator can encounter and be addressed by the Thou that the artist's being has spoken when he or she created the work of art. The I-Thou relationship and its basis can be pointed to. and the third is to consider the possibility of encountering a work of art as a Thou . As Buber often repeated in I and Thou:” The Thou meet me in a moment of grace”. and life with spiritual beings. Important challenges facing educators can be concluded from here. but not analyzed. And it may happen. He writes that in creating a work of art. that as the effective power of this speaking of the artist streams out. life with other persons.The different basis to which Buber refers is established because. In the sphere of spiritual beings Buber relates to art. In the sphere of nature Buber describes relating with one's whole being to a tree. Thou. One is fully present to the Thou. The second conclusion. cannot ensure that an I-Thou relationship will come into being. as a Thou. A person who endeavors to open oneself to the possibility of relating with one's whole being. one of them is to indicate how to base the education of the whole upon the creative capacities that we are born with. In the human sphere he described I-Thou relations in great detail. But one's endeavors. nor the way to educate towards art. the work arises as a worthy artistic creation. is how to approach the doing of art as a partner in an IThou relation. with one's entire being. But his writings intimate that in relating to paintings and sculptures say. In I and Thou Buber does not describe how a spectator relates to a work of art. the speaker stands in relation with one's whole being to one's partner in the relationship. may find partners in each sphere. The educator should suggest ways by which the pupil can educate oneself to be open to these moments of grace in which the beauty of a work of art may address him or her as a 3 . when the word Thou is spoken. a person speaks the primary word.
Yet. Explaining Buber is frequently like explaining art academically. Thus. when a teacher relies on explaining art. to one's mode of existence. indicating such a possibility abstractly. such an approach will lead to a personal change in the way of life of the student. which may alter his or her manner of creating and relating to art. the explanation frequently mediates between the person and Buber’s thinking. and the relation between man and true art creation is a relation of I-Thou. will not necessarily bring students to live in a manner those accords with Buber's insights. by diverging the student's attention from what addresses him or her in the painting and directing him only to the ideas explained. Instead of an immediate encounter with Buber's insights. 4 . Buber states that: ” This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a form that wants to become a work through him.Thou. or towards creativity. Explaining often appeals to the understanding and only in a general manner. in relation to art. explaining may often cloud the immediate encounter with. then the creative power is released and the work comes into being. pointing out only the ideas and missing a complete fulfilling. Furthermore. say. Not a figment of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands the soul’s creative power. it is evident that he believed that the origin of art. What is required is a deed that a man does with his whole being: if he commits it and speaks with his being the basic word to the form that appears. if at all. Only very rarely. by merely explaining Buber's thought. rather then educating towards experiencing the painting or the sculpture. a painting.”5 Without going into details about Buber’s ontology.
More so. or sounds. and risk as the commitment of being able to speak only with one’s whole being. and pupils. but also in the spiritual domain. and art education. a lonely individualistic act as put by Buber in “Education”. He has to relate truly to himself. the relation underlined by Buber’s philosophy is an I-Thou relation. I must strive to relate with my whole being to the whole being of that specific work of art. will find it easier to relate to art with their whole beings. while molding his idea into the material. authenticity not only between people. From this brief passage it can be discerned that. the world and the form he is creating. Buber explains that during the release of creative actions. or verses. Relating to art. From this definition and distinction. man can not seek “relaxation in the It-world”. The artist has to relate with his whole self. creating of art seems a subjective act. meaning that while creating art the artist has to struggle and give his whole self. a selector of forms and possibilities. partnership. He has to give a true direction to the world. the choice and ability of a dialogical way of life are common components in the task of education. a true I-Thou relationship engages dialogical relations. who address other persons as possible partners in genuine dialogue.The domain in which man creates and relates to art is the spiritual domain. the deeds involve sacrifice and risk. 5 . like the educator. shaping his idea into forms. Sacrifice is pictured as the infinite possibilities surrendered on the altar of form. In confronting a work of art or the actual making of a work of art. educators. Even though. the artist is also a selector. we can discern that a link to art and art education emerges. Not serving properly or holding back part of himself becomes ruinous. for the artist and his creation. And once again. During creating art. art. as discussed briefly above. including art. seems similar to relating dialogically to a partner in a relationship of genuine dialogue. Buber’s thinking seems to indicate that persons who can relate dialogically to other persons.
or a student. Buber opens his essay "Elements of the Interhuman" 7 with a distinction between the social and what he calls the realm of the interhuman. Consequently. a dialogical person who approaches a work of art will not merely seek to understand the painting. which. will frequently be much more open to change one's way of relating to the world to men and to art. In the “Elements of the Interhuman”6 Buber articulated pertinent suggestions that can help the educator guide one's pupils to relate and live dialogically. and not to strive to have them understand works of art or to imitate them. or to obtain aesthetic pleasure. Genuine or real dialogue and I-Thou encounters can only occur in the interhuman. In the social realm persons relate to each other as Its. In the realm of 6 . Put succinctly. Thus. the art educator must learn to bring the students to meet works of art. A teacher who strives to live a life of dialogue and educates accordingly. as members of organizations. institutions or other groups. Buber calls us to live what he termed a life of dialogue.The educator must be very much aware that the possibilities of such an encounter are diminished if one imposes one's views on the student. he believed. Thus. Buber believes that this latter realm has been very much ignored in discussions of human interactions. Rather. Buber's thought instructs us that a change of one's way of life is often needed so as to change one’s perspectives on life on creativity and on art. Being open to the possibility of encountering the Thou. Buber believes. to open themselves to the possibility of encountering the Thou. the dialogical person approaches the work knowing that perhaps one will be able to share a new direction opened up by the work of art. will greatly enhance the possibility of meeting the Thou in our daily encounters. Such an educational approach requires showing ways to being open to other beings that may encounter one as a Thou. must emerge in one's everyday existence. who is open to live a life of dialogue. and experience the beauty inherent to such sharing.
to persons or to other beings. In general. When one responds thus to a painting or a sculpture there is a greater probability that one can relate as a Thou or as a partner in dialogue to this painting. there is a possibility of its beauty emerging and resounding in one's being. Buber's distinction between being and seeming are connected with authenticity and falseness. Dialogical education enhances the possibility of sharing between partners in dialogue. The one proceeds from what one really is. without seeking explanations. Being and seeming are of major significance for the educator who wishes to guide one's pupils to relate dialogically. between the viewer and the work of art. Thus. The viewer is sometimes addressed as a partner who is invited to partake in the beauty that he has created. the viewer responds to the work of art as to a unique expression of the artist. Striving to establish an I-Thou relation in the realm of the interhuman or the spiritual realm of art. for instance. Buber writes: “We may distinguish between two different types of human existence.the interhuman. relating to a painting or to a sculpture as a call to partnership in molding the world is a way of engaging the work of art and relating to it wholly. it is us who are responsible for establishing the partnership in the beauty that flows to us viewers from all great works of art. the two are found mixed together. engages education that is based upon dialogue and true partnership. There have 7 . Some conclusions emerge when relating towards art: a. In such an engaging. including works of art. When such a partnership is established in the realm of art. the other from what one wishes to seem. Dialogical partnerships are essential in establishing faith between educators and students. persons relate to each other as partners that are united in the world by their relations.
to seek a life of dialogue and to bring truth into being. In the above citation Buber pointed out that it is almost impossible to totally free oneself from seeming.. as a possible genuine partner. while there has scarcely existed one who was exclusively determined by the impression made by him. and towards the spiritual realm including works of art and art making. I must strive to eliminate all seeming from the relationship. Buber explains.. Such is the courage to live straightforwardly. Striving to relate dialogically enhances the possibility of educating towards dialogical relation between people. In the relationships that I establish: "Whatever the meaning of the word truth may be in other realms. and self education. Buber would add that the educator who daily struggles to live straightforwardly and to eliminate all seeming from his or her relationships with one's students is directing towards the path that leads to a life of dialogue."9 Let me underline the conclusions mentioned before: The educator who wishes to educate one's students while giving them a true and worthy direction in life has to strive to live and relate dialogically himself. He added that relating with one's being to the other often requires much courage. The dialogical educator will also guide towards relating to art personally and authentically. without reserve. But he calls upon each reader to persist in striving to relate in accordance with one's being. We must be content to distinguish between men in whose essential attitude the one or the other predominates. I must endeavor to relate to that other spontaneously. not as an object to be manipulated by the impression that I wish to make.”8 In order to live a life of dialogue in which I relate to the other who confronts me as a partner in dialogue.probably been few men who were entirely independent of the impression they made on others. in the interhuman realm it means that men communicate themselves to one another as what they are. towards nature. 8 .
creation will be the result of performing his or her choices out of free will. and free from “seeming”. When showing. 324 on 241 inch. say. The same accords to the teacher who strives to teach how to make art. without trying to make any impression upon anyone. The educator has to lead his students in such a manner that. educates towards dialogue between the art student his idea and the material he is handling. they will always be landmarks in the educational processes of art teachers. William Turners’ “Snownstorm – Steamboat Off a Harbour’s Mouth”10. A “true selector of directions” as Buber wrote in “Education”. how to bring forward the pupils unique and true abilities.The educator can advise each one: You must approach each specific work of art with your being. London 9 . You must turn to the work of art spontaneously. However rare these moments are manifested. "Snowstorm-Steamboat off a Harbor's Mouth". without reserve. must be very careful with what I say. the educator can add: I Joseph Mallord William Turner. Oil on Canvas. Tate Gallery. The teacher must be careful with his explanations about how to bring forward his pupils true and authentic ideas. with the truth of your being.
requires retaining the innocence that is at the basis of all genuine dialogue. which is unique to every child. Children are born with this capacity. from materials around us. or when literature or. because it is not directed to “having” but only to doing.” 11 10 . when an art teacher explains precisely how to draw or paint a harbor or a steamboat. Here is an instinct which.My explanations may divert you. but expresses itself to the world. Educators are encouraged by Buber to build upon these powers during educative processes: “This instinct is therefore bound to be significant for the work of education as well. Here is the pure gesture which does not snatch the world to itself. Furthermore. to build upon the “instinct of origination”. not to lust. which alone among the instincts can grow only to passion. no matter to what power it is raised. from relating to this painting by Turner spontaneously. which alone among the instincts cannot lead its subject away to invade the realm of other lives. Buber explains. from encountering it as an address by the painter who has generously shared his ability to bring forth beauty in this painting with you. I must add here that the same applies. never becomes greed. Relating with one's being to other persons. in shape and form. is at the basis of wanting to create something new. and it is the duty of educators and teachers to guard and cultivate this potential in its pure and true form. poetry are taught. as a viewer. The educator's role is to appeal to the innocent gaze of the student and to help the student guard this innocence when he or she encounters art. Buber instructs us specifically in his article “Education”. This originating power. Buber stresses. pure without being directed by having but only by doing.
The same situation occurs when a teacher or instructor tries to explain works 11 . will come into the class and with the set of academic rules will deprive the students of the chance to choose freely. In other words academic rules have the power of effacing the pupil's spontaneity. Buber demonstrates this attitude in his article “Education”. knowledge of good and evil that however individualistic it may be is quite unambiguous. he says. The teacher of the compulsory school of thought began with rules and current patterns. Now the delicate. almost imperceptible and yet important influence begins – that of criticism and instruction. say. and then makes them draw it…. in an earthenware jug.” 12 One teacher. and makes the pupils draw it…or he tells the pupils to look at it. The children encounter a scale of values that. removes it. The teacher of the “free” school places on the table a twig of broom. by pointing out two possible ways to teach art in the classroom. however unacademic it may be is quite constant. You knew what beauty was. and you had to copy it.soon not a single drawing will look like another.. “Let us take an example from the narrower sphere of the originative instinct .from the drawing-class.For instance.. . This kind of teaching will intervene in the natural faculties of creativity that wait to manifest and illustrate themselves through the work of art. and it was copied either in apathy or in despair.
I can show the two paintings "The Violin and Guitar” painted by Picasso: Pablo Picaso. 319 on 425 inch Paris. 12 . "The Violin and Guitar".of art in a museum for instance.
350 on 272 inch. enables the students to make free choices. I must accept this innocent gaze. I can only suggest to the student who rejects these paintings to return to the paintings and view them again and again. even if it leads the student to not appreciate or to reject the beauty of both of these paintings. Criticism and instruction are important. 14 The other example. Perhaps after looking and trying earnestly and wholly to really see more.George Braque. but they have to be encountered after the creative performance occurred.Paris. to my students. Buber explains to encounter a scale of 13 . carried out authentically.13 To help them retain their innocence. wishing to encourage them to relate with innocence to the paintings. and express a spointain approach. pointing towards a free approach as Buber puts it. oil on canvas." Les Jour". Or the painting "Les Jour by George Braque. one's response will change. That is the way. I should refrain from adopting any kind of strategy.
where the pupil gains the realization only after he has ventured far on the way to his achievement. true dialogical partnerships are not behavioral patterns but a way of life. The more unacademic this scale of values and the more individualistic this knowledge will be.15 Thus. These examples portray important and day to day experiences during educational sessions in art classes. From I and Thou it is evident that such dialogical relating.values. Let me repeat that such relations are usually based upon what Buber explains is called genuine or real dialogue. leads to assignation and rebellion. Here is the explanation: 14 . and that is the link to what Buber calls the classical master. and endeavor to relate to him or her as a possible Thou. Educators can learn that relating authentically. such making present. each of the two must endeavor to personally “make present" one's partner. The formal approach. meaning that he distinguishes between imposing oneself on one's students and helping them unfold themselves. What Buber is underlying here are the educational values that can be transferred to other educational cases that are not necessarily connected with art performances. Buber adds that making present is essential in dialogical partnerships. the deeper will be the encounter. while giving the pupil the possibility of relating freely can lead towards a meaningful learning. Once again. if I wish to be open to the possibility of genuine dialogue. unique in his or her individuality. which supposes in advance what is right by the teacher. Buber explains that a true educator is a giver of true direction. can frequently guide persons to relate to other persons or to works of art in a manner that will enhance their existence. Buber indicates that. reverence for form and education are drawn in the pupil’s heart. In the latter more freer example. I must be fully present to this specific person whom I encounter. for genuine dialogue to occur between two persons.. meaning education as a way of life and not only a profession.
Ultimately. Imposing one’s views and desires in order to further financial or personal interests is a method of aggressive imposement and manipulation. can be built only upon dialogical and I-Thou relationships. The other need only be opened out in this potentiality of his.. Using uniform methods or patterns during educative sessions.16 Buber believes that propaganda is the primary method of imposing. seducing them to follow the imposter of views and desires to wherever he or she wishes to lead them. moreover. Such is also the case when teachers try to seduce their pupils rather then to meet them in a genuine dialogical meeting. is manipulative. and clinging to them year after year. that is essential in any educative process. without considering the students in front of you. which has only been freed by the influence... his opinion and his attitude. In the first a man strives to impose himself. In the second basic way of affecting others. and dialogical education is a manner of encouraging unfolding. faith between teachers and students. Advertisement for instance is an aggressive manner of imposing. 15 . Many persons often find it difficult to discern the truth in the flood of propaganda those daily streams toward them. on the other in such a way that the latter feels the psychical result of the action to be his own insight.“There are two basic ways of affecting men in their views and their attitude to life.. this opening out takes place not essentially by teaching. a man wishes to find and to further in the soul of the other the disposition toward what he has recognized in himself as the right. but by meeting”.
what Buber suggests. education is manipulating creativity for its own purposes. but rather as a mean for developing another area. relating towards a work of art. In those cases. But it seems that there are times when the domain of education is based upon the creative inner powers of man. Thus. whose merit is attaining an outstanding price at art auction. However. I believe. During the task of character education. And. in everyday life. during educating towards art or. this domain can be related to. The dialogical truths that are enlightened by Martin Buber’s writing concerning education and art are existential. works of art are often related to as if they were consumer goods. during those sessions. Art is not being approached dialogically. Even though it is suggested that “let us learn from one domain in order to enhance the other”. In this case the relation between education and art will be a day to day I-It relation. Even Education and Art can sometimes 16 . As Buber would have said: during most human concerns. art is not being related for its own sake. the relation has to be a dialogical I-Thou relation. there are times when art activities become educational devices. In those cases the educator can rely on creative faculties as means that have the ability to lead towards unfolding and bringing forth new and fresh ideas. education has to be approached as a work of art and the relation between educator and pupil has to be based only on the I-Thou relationship. during the creating of art. As Buber explains in “Education”. such can happen during creative classes. relations are mostly governed by I-It attitudes. In those cases we try to build upon the spiritual domain in order to empower the interhuman. which seems positive and legitimate educational activity.Art has also become subject to these degrading developments. given the fact that men are born with the present of artistic creativity. when art is approached only as a mean to further other prospects then the development of creative potential. by the teacher. In summery. in different ways.
17 . “Guitar and Violin” – Pablo Picasso. Paris). ( Paris). may find partners in each sphere. who endeavor to open themselves to a dialogical way of life. relating as a Thou. 2. (Tate Gallery. “Les Jour” – Georges Braque. List of Illustrations 1. (Private Collection. “Snowstorm – Steamboat Off a Harbor’s Mouth”– Joseph Mallord William Turner. persons.become or switch to I-It relations. But.319 0n 425 inch. 19th century. 350 on 272 inch. 3. Such are worthy relations and worthy ways of living in the world. London).
Ibid. (NewYork: Collier Books. pp. Between Man and Man .p. the Journal of Aesthetic Martin Buber. Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ronald Gregor Smith and I. p78. p.New York: Touchstone. pp. Gordon Haim and Shtelman Rina. Ibid.88 One can see both these paintings in William Rubin. Trans. (Translated by Walter Kaufmann). 1955. 34 no. pp. 50. “Elements of the Interhuman” (New York: Harper and Row. 97-113. 14 Education.p. 72-88.75-6. 86. Boston: Beacon Press. Spring 2000. Beacon Press.“Education”. p. “A Buberian Educational Approach to Cubist Art”. 84 Martin Buber. Ronald Gregor Smith. 85.Ibid. ----------------. 1955) p. Vol. Martin Buber. ----------------.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Martin Buber.. Trans. p.Ibid. P. 1965). “Education “. Ibid.77. 90 ---------------. Thou. The Knowledge of Man. 10 11 12 13 New-York. pp.4. 15 16 . I And Thou . Martin Buber. 1.89. 1987) p. 82. 1970. P. The Knowledge of Man. Ibid. ---------------. p.60.284-285. (Boston. London). The Museum of Modern Art. Between Man and Man. 1965) Ibid. “Elements of the Interhuman” (New York: Harper and Row. One can see this painting in: Jay Jacobs The color Encyclopedia of World Art (the Tate Gallery.
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