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Full text of "I And Thou"

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It may be supposed that characterisations and ideas,
but also representations of persons and things, have
been taken out from representations of incidents and
situations that are specifically relational. The elementary
impressions and emotional stirrings that waken the
spirit of the " natural man " proceed from incidents—ex-
perience of a being confronting 1"'™—and from situations
—life with a being confronting frrm—that are relational
in character. He is not disquieted by the moon that
he sees every night, till it comes bodily to him, sleeping
or waking, draws near and charms him with .silent
movements, or fascinates hinj with the evil or sweetness
of its touch. He does not retain from this the visual
representation, say, of the wandering orb of light, or
of a demonic being that somehow belongs to it, but
at first he has in him only the dynamic, stirring
image of the moon's effect, streaming through his body.
Out of this the image of the moon personally achieving
the effect only gradually emerges. Only now, that is
to say, does the memory of the unknown that is nightly
taken into his being begin to kindle and take shape as
the doer and bringer of the effect. Thus it makfes
possible the transformation of the unknown into an
object, a He or a She out of a Thou that could not
originally be experienced, but simply suffered.
This initial and long-continuing relational character
of every essential phenomenon makes it also easier to
understand a certain, spiritual element of primitive life
that is much discussed and observed, but not yet
properly grasped, in present-day study. I mean that
mysterious power the idea of which has been traced,
through many variations, in the form of the beliefs or