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By Ronald C. Arnett

Martin Buber’s paintings means that genuine existence starts with individ­uals engaged in discussion, not only caring for one’s personal wishes as defined in social Darwinism. Arnett argues that the tip of the age of abundance calls for that we quit the communica­tive concepts of the earlier and search to interact in the course of restricted assets and an doubtful destiny. Today’s situa­tion demands an unwavering dedication to Buber’s “narrow ridge” problem for either self and community. Arnett illustrates the slender ridge definition of interpersonal verbal exchange with wealthy ex­amples. His vignettes demon­strate powerful and useless methods to human communi­ty. a good strategy, he makes transparent, comprises not just openness to others’ issues of view but additionally a willingness to be persuaded. 

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The community of otherness is not an ideal but a direction of movement toward as much confirmation of otherness as the community has resources for at any given time. It avoids the blinders and hysteria that arise from the polarization of communication and the closing of mind and heart to the other for fear of conflict with it. The close relationship to which Arnett points in chapter 3, "Existential Mistrust: The Failure to Listen," between inward focus and 2 "Maurice Friedman, The Confirmation of Otherness: In Family, Community, and Society (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1983).

It is grounded in numerous concrete examples from everyday personal and professional life, making this scholarly work accessible on multiple levels of reading. " One who walks the narrow ridge knows the joy of the community of dialogue but also the tragic limitations resulting from the drawing of the demarcation line each day anew, that continual rediscovery of the boundary between self and other in community through which we press forward and honor reality while we do so. '' Walking the "narrow ridge" as Arnett does in Communication and Community encourages a distinction between effective social reality and surface political success, a discovery of the deeper currents in history and society, and alignment with them.

Buber's "community" was not the natural community of the family or the village commune in which powerful instinctive traditions ruled, along with coercion, violence, exploitation of one's fellowmen, and disregard of their freedom and worth. Rather, Buber's community was a community of choice around a common center, the voluntary coming together of persons in direct relationship. Buber's socialism was social and decentralistic in the strongest possible contrast to the political and highly centralized socialism that developed in the Soviet Union.

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