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Full text of "I And Thou"

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since the wanton feelings break in at times on the most
objective institutions ; but with united goodwill it may
be restored.
Most difficult of all is the reliable drawing of the
boundary line in the realms of so-called personal life.
In marriage, for instance, the line is occasionally not to
be fully drawn in any simple way ; but in the end it is
possible. In the realms of so-called public life it can
be perfectly drawn. Let it be considered, for instance,
how faultlessly, in the year of the parties and the
groups with their " movements " which aimed at being
above parties, the heaven-storming sessions on the
one hand, and on the other hand business, creeping
along the ground (smoothly like a machine or slovenly
and organically), are separated from one another.
But the separated It of institutions is an animated
clod without soul, and the separated I of feelings
an uneasily fluttering soul-bird. Neither of them
knows man: institutions know only the specimen,
feelings only the " object" ; neither knows the person,
or mutual life. Neither of them knows the present:
even the most up-to-date institutions know only
the lifeless past that is over and done with, and even
the most lasting feelings know'only the flitting moment
that has not yet come properly into being. Neither of
them has access to real life. Institutions yield no
public life, and feelings no personal life.
Th$t institutions yield no public life is realised by
increasing numbers, realised with increasing distress:
this is the starting-point of the seeking need of the age.
That feelings yield no personal life is understood only
by a few. For the most personal life of all seems to