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Full text of "I And Thou"

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retrogressions the progressive augmentation of the world
of It is to be clearly discerned in history. It is beside
the point of this conclusion whether the character of
finitude or that of so-called infinity, more precisely non-
finitude, belongs to the ** world-view " of a culture;
though certainly a " finite" world can well contain
more parts, things, and processes than an "infinite".
It is also to be observed that it is important to compare
not merely the extent of natural knowledge, but also
that of social differentiation and that of technical
achievement. For through both of these the world of
objects is enlarged.
The primary relation of man to the world of It is
comprised in experiencing, which continually reconstitutes
the world, and using, which leads the world to its mani-
fold aim, the sustaining, relieving, and equipping of
human life. In proportion to the growing extent of
the world of It, ability to experience and use it must also
grow. The individual can, to be sure, more and more
replace direct with indirect experience, he can " acquire
items of knowledge ", and he can more and more reduce
his using of the world to specialised " utilisation " ;
nevertheless, a continual development of this ability,
from generation to generation, cannot be avoided.
This is the usual meaning of the talk about a progressive
development of the spiritual life. By this talk, guilt
of the real sin of speech against the spirit is undoubtedly
incurred; for that " spiritual life" is for the most
part the obstacle to a life lived in the spirit, and at best
the material which, after being mastered and fashioned,
is to go to make that life.
It is the obstacle ; for the development of the ability