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Full text of "I And Thou"

karma that appeared to the forefathers as a charitable
dispensation—for what we do in this life raises us
up for a future life in higher spheres—is now recognised
as tyranny : for the karma of an earlier life of which we
are unconscious has shut us in a prison we cannot break
in this life. Where hitherto a heaven was established
in a law, manifest to the senses, raising its light arch
from which the spindle of necessity hangs, the wander-
ing stars now rule in senseless and oppressive might. It
was necessary only to give oneself to Dike, the heavenly
" way ", which means also our way, in order to dwell
with free heart in the universal bounds of fate. But
now, whatever we do, we are laden with the whole
burden of the dead weight of the world, with fate that
does not know spirit. The storming desire for salvation
is unsatisfied after manifold attempts, till it is stilled
by one who learns to escape the cycle of births, or by
one who saves the souls, that have fallen to alien powers,
into the freedom of the children of God. Such an
achievement arises out of a new event of meeting, which
is in the course of assuming substantial being—out of a
new response, determining destiny, of a man to his Thou.
In the working out of this central act of the being, one
culture can be relieved by another that is given up to
the influence of this act, Jbut it can also be given new life
in itself alone.
The sickness of our age is like that of no other age,
and it belongs together with them all. The history
of cultures is not a course of aeons in which one runner
after another has to traverse gaily and unsuspectingly
the same death-track. A nameless way runs through
their rise and fall: not a way of progress and develop-
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