Skip to main content

Full text of "I And Thou"

See other formats

say Thou. I can take out from him the colour of his
hair, or of his speech, or of his goodness* I must
continually do this, But each time I do it he ceases to
be Thou.

And just as prayer is not in time but time in prayer,
sacrifice not in space but space in sacrifice, and to reverse
the relation is to abolish the reality, so with the m$n to
whom I say Thou. I do not meet with him at some time
and place or other. I can set him in a particular time
and place; I must continually do it: but I set only a
He or a She, that is an It, no longer my Thou.

So long as the heaven of Thou is spread out over me
the winds of causality cower at my heels, and the
whirlpool of fate stays its course.

I do not experience the man to whom I say Thou.
But I take my stand in relation to him, in the sanctity
of the primary word. Only when I step out of it do
I experience hi™ once more. In ihe act of experience
Thou is far away.

Even if the man to whom I say Thou is not aware .of
it in the midst of his experience, yet relation may exist.
For Thou is more than It realises. No deception
penetrates here ; here is the cradle of the Real Life.

This is the eternal source of art: a man is faced
by a form which desires to be made through him into
a work. This form is no offspring of his soul, but is
an appearance which steps up to it and demands of it
the effective power. The man is concerned with an act
of his being. If he carries it -through, if he speaks the
primary word out of his being to the form which