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Full text of "I And Thou"

thought to the modern theory of history as a process
within an unbroken causal system, where facts are to
be demonstrated in the light of controlling " eternal"
values or "..interpretations " of reality, he demonstrates
convincingly the inadequacy of its abstract presup-
positions about reality. The concrete reality, for him,
as for Buber, is the situation where responsible persons
confront one another in living mutual relation.
Though the influence of Buber is thus manifest in
every fundamental sphere of human activity, it is
possible to perceive both anticipatory and parallel
influences at work. Already in the middle of the
nineteenth century Soren Kierkegaard, in his attack
on the reigning Hegelian philosophy, had shown the
limits of thought along the old .lines. And in 1921
Ferdinand Ebner published a little book, Das Wort und
die Gvistigen Realitdten (The Word and Spiritual
Realities), where the understanding of Kierkegaard is
no less remarkable than the parallels of thought with
Buber. But the incisiveness and penetration of Buber's
thought is lacking in Ebner's chaotic and fragmentary
utterances. Ebner is content to affirm and reaffirm his
conviction that in the relation between one person and
another there is a unique spiritual reality.
Though few of the works we have noted have yet been
translated into English, there can be little doubt that
the trend of thought in England will be along the same
or similar lines. Already, indeed, in independence, I
believe, from continental writers, Professor John
Macmurray has developed the thesis of the ultimate
reality of personal relations in its application to theories
of the State, of marriage, of family life, and of economics.
xi