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Full text of "I And Thou"

not matter how exclusively present the Thou was in
the direct relation. As soon as the relation has been
worked out or has been permeated with a means, the
Thou becomes an object among objects—perhaps the
chief, but still one of them, fixed in its size and its
limits. In the work of art realisation in one sense
means loss of reality in another. Genuine contempla-
tion is over in a short time; now the life in nature,
that first unlocked itself to me in the mystery of mutual
action, can again be described, taken to pieces, and
classified—the meeting-point of manifold systems of
laws. And love itself cannot persist in direct relation.
It endures, but in interchange of actual and potential
being. The human being who was even now single and
unconditioned, not something lying to hand, only
present, not able to be experienced, only al)le to be
fulfilled, has ixow become again a He or a She, a sum of
qualities, a given quantity with a certain shape. Now
I may take out from fri™ again the colour of his hair
or of his speech or of his goodness. But so long as I can
do this he is no more my Thou and cannot yet be my
Thou again.
Every Thou in the world is by its nature fated to
become a thing, or continually to re-enter into the
condition of things. In objective speech it would be
said that every thing in the world, either before or after
becoming a thing, is able to appear to an I as its Thou.
But objective speech snatches only at a fringe of real
life. -
The   It   is   the  eternal   chrysalis,   the   Thou   the.
eternal butterfly—except that situations do not always
follow   one   another   in  clear   succession,   but   often
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