Encounter, Buber & Moreno

From:

Marineau, R. F. (1989). Jacob Levy Moreno, 1889-1974: Father of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and group psychotherapy. United Kingdom: Routledge.

The third idea is the notion of ‘meeting’. of ‘encounter’. Moreno has argued that Martin Buber, who wrote an article in the magazine Der Neue Daimon (see page 56) in 1919. was influenced by his own concept of ‘Begegnung’ (encounter) of 1914. It would be very interesting to establish the exact nature of the relationship between the two authors and clarify the extent of their mutual influence. There seems to be no historical basis for putting too much emphasis on direct influences. Buber’s thinking developed gradually, but can be traced back to his own childhood. His contribution to the journal Daimon was minimal. But Moreno and Buber did have common friends and relations in the persons of Max Brod and Franz Werfel.

The two men also had a lot of other things in common. Both read Socrates, Dante, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Both acknowledged the primacy of the original ‘encounter’: Moreno says that at the beginning was action and the group. while Buber says that at the beginning was the relationship. Both stress the necessity to alter the form taken by culture to arrive at a more ‘fruitful chaos’. Both also stress the importance of ‘experiencing’ reality as a means of change rather than just talking about it. Both were highly emotional people, giving prime importance to the body: Buber, still smarting from the loss of his friend and companion Landauer forty-five years after his murder, told Carl Rogers: ‘Now once more. I was compelled to imagine this killing, not only visually, but with my body.’ Moreno, equally sensitive to bodily experience, developed the concept of tele.

See also the post that confirms that Buber was influenced by Moreno.

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