The world is twofold for man in accordance with his twofold attitude.

This statement is the basic foundation on which Buber's entire project is built. His aim is to get his readers to recognize the two modes available to man for engaging the world. Modern society, he claims, only recognizes one of these modes, the mode of experience, through which man treats the world (including his fellow men) as an object to be analyzed and utilized. Modern man ignores the second mode, the mode of encounter, through which man enters into relation with the world, engaging as active participant rather than as objective observer. It is only by opening ourselves up to this second mode of engaging the world, Buber thinks, that we can escape the ills of the modern human condition.