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Full text of "I And Thou"

TJiou cannot be appropriated, but I am brought up
short against it. The characteristic situation is here
one of meeting: I meet the Other. In the reality of
this meeting no reduction of the / or of the TJiou,
to experiencing subject and experienced object, is
possible. So long as I remain in relation with my
Thou, I cannot experience it, but can only know it
in the relation itself. " In the act of experience Thou
is far away."

The world of objects or things, on the other hand,
presupposes a single centre of consciousness, one subject,
an / which experiences, arranges, and appropriates.
This is the characteristic world of modern activity;
in it the scientist and the statesman and the economist
carry on their particular work. In it, too, men seek
to understand their relation with other men. Indeed,
it is true that even when a Thou is truly confronted it
becomes an It. Nevertheless, to speak of and to act
towards another person as if his reality consisted in
his being simply a He, that is, an It, is disloyalty to
the truth of the meeting with the Thou.

There is, however, one Thou which never becomes an
It, the " eternal Thou ", God. Though we may speak
of God in the third person, the reality of His approach
is constituted in the fulness of the relation of an / with a
Thou. In truth, God may only be " addressed, not

Put in another way, this primary distinction between
the two orders in which men live concerns on the one
hand the meaning of community, and on the other hand
the meaning of organisation. Community consists in
the relation of persons, organisation in the connexion
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