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and structure, its colours and chemical composition,
its intercourse with the elements and with the stars,
are all present in a single whole.
The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination,
no value depending on my mood ; but it is bodied over
against me and has to do with me, as I with it—only in
a different way.
Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from
the meaning of the relation : relation is mutual.
The tree will have a consciousness, then, similar to
our own ? Of that I have no experience. But do you
wish, through seeming to succeed in it with yourself, once
again to disintegrate that which cannot be disintegrated 1
I encounter no soul or dryad of the tree, but the tree
If I face a human being as my Thou, and say the
primary word I-Thou to him, he is not a thing among
things, and does not consist of things.
This human being is not He or She, bounded from
every other He and She, a specific point in space and
time within the net of the world; nor is he a nature
able to be experienced and described, a loose bundle of
named qualities. But with no neighbour, and whole
in himself, he is Thou and fills the heavens. This
-does not mean that nothing exists except himself.
But all else lives in his light.
Just as the melody is not made up of notes nor the
verse of words nor the statue of lines, but they must be
tugged and dragged till their unity has been scattered
into these many pieces, so with the man to whom I