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Full text of "I And Thou"

Thou in the world of It. That is the melancholy of
man, and his greatness. For that is how knowledge
comes about, a work is achieved, and image and symbol
made, in the midst of living beings.
But, that which has been so changed into It, hardened
into a thi^g among things, has had the nature and
disposition put into it to change back again and again.
This was the meaning in that hour of the spirit when
spirit was joined to man and bred the response in himó
again and again that which has the status of object
must blaze up into presentness and enter the elemental
state from which it came, to be looked on and lived in
the present by men.
The fulfilment of this nature and disposition is
thwarted by the man who has come to terms with
the world of It that it is to be experienced and
used. For now instead of freeing that which is bound
up in that world he suppresses it, instead of looking
at it he observes it, instead of accepting it as it is, he
turns it to his own account.
Take knowledge: being is disclosed to the man
who is engaged in knowing, as he looks at what is over
against him. He will, indeed, have to grasp as an object
that which he has seen with the force of presence,
he will have to compare it with objects, establish it in
its order among classes of objects, describe and analyse
it objectively. Only as It can it enter the structure of
knowledge. But when he saw it, it was no thing among
things, no event among events, but exclusively present.
Being did not share itself with Tnm in terms of the law
that was afterwards elicited from the appearance, but
in terms of its very self. When a man thinks a general
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