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Full text of "I And Thou"

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the abode of the will to be powerful, share in life as long
as they share in the spirit. If they abjure spirit they
abjure life. Life, to be sure, gives itself time to bring
its affairs to a real conclusion, and for a good while men
imagine they see a structure moving where for a long
time a machine has been whirling. The matter is
indeed not to be helped by the introduction of a little
directness. The loosening of the structure of economics or
of the State cannot compensate for their being no longer
under the dominance of the spirit that says Thou: no
disturbance on the periphery can serve as substitute for
the living relation with the Centre. Structures of man's
communal life draw their living quality from the riches
of the power to enter into relation, which penetrates
their various parts, and obtain their bodily form from
the binding up of this power in the spirit. The statesman
or the economist who obeys the spirit is no dilettante;
he knows well that he cannot, without undoing his work,
simply confront, as bearers of the Thau, the men with
"whom he has to deal. Yet he risks doing it, not plainly
and simply but as far as the boundary set for him by the
spirit. The spirit sets this for him, and the risk that
would have shattered a separated structure succeeds in
the structure over which the presence of the Thou broods.
He is no fanatic; he serves the truth which, though
higher than reason, yet does not repudiate it, but holds it
inits lap. He does in communal life precisely what is done
in personal life by the man who knows himself incapable
of realising the Thou in its pvrity, yet daily confirms
its truth in the Itt in accordance with what is right and
fitting for the day, drawingódisclosingóthe boundary
line anew each day. So, too, only with spirit, not them-
E                             49