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on July 30, 1999
There is something about the German language (perhaps it's the abundance of compound words, or the complicated grammar) that promotes this kind of philosophy - by - obfuscation. The phenomenon is widespread, (cf. Hegel, Heidegger, Adorno, et al). Take a relatively simple idea, preferrably one based on sentiment rather than logic, and then try to convey it as obscurely as possible through the use of compound words, vast sentences brimming with dependent clauses, and the most paradoxical lines of reasoning available. The result will then be hailed as a masterpiece by those who make a living out of teaching courses on this material (and those who take the courses and are afraid to admit they didn't understand much).
Out of the idea that the relations of the self to others are very important (and that God is the most important of those others), Buber has crafted this impenatrable monstrosity. Sadly, there are many others like him out there, whose livelihood comes from being as verbose as humanly possible. I recommend as an antidote Popper's wonderful little essay "Against Big Words."
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