Is the monologue also a dialogue?

No, taught Martin Buber, since a monologue lacks the dimension of Otherness. He was so adamant about that, that he even applied it to the case of God. Maurice Friedman (Martin Buber. The Life of Dialogue, p. 82) describes the relation of God and each single human being as follows:

If God did not need man, if man were simply dependant and nothing else, there would be no meaning to man’s life or to the world. ‘The world is not divine sport, it is divine destiny’.

Martin Buber’s own words (I and Thou, p. 82) are even more direct:

You know always in your heart that you need God more than everything; but do you not know too that God needs you—in the fullness of His eternity needs you? […] You need God, in order to be—and God needs you, for the very meaning of life.

Somehow, I am not surprised that Maurice Friedman participated in one of Daya Krishna’s saṃvādas (one can read the transcripts in Intercultural Dialogue and the Human image, Maurice Friedman at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

Comments and discussions are welcome. Be sure you are making a point and contributing to the discussion.

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2 thoughts on “Is the monologue also a dialogue?

  1. Is not a monolog also a kind of dialog in the following sense?:

    When one is formulating a thought, usually it is couched in / permeated by /anuviddham –to borrow a phrase from BhaRtR^hari– in language. Can one say that that is the stage when it moves from the PaSyanti stage to the MadhyamA level?

    When this happens one can feel a kind of wonderment — Oh, this is a thought or an idea I had? Poets or improvising musicians might recognize this feeling of “encounter” within oneself.

    In this process there are two entities — I do not know what to call them — in oneself and the process is actually dialogical. If this is true, then a monolog is actually a dialog.

    I confess my inability to put this notion in formalistic ways using recognized categories of philosophical discussion. I am indeed speaking as a poet and an improvising musician who has a general knowledge of BhaRtR^hari.

    • Thank you for this beautiful comment. Not being a poet, nor a mystic, I nonetheless imagine that Buber would call God the “other” whom you call “encounter”.