Skip to main content

Full text of "I And Thou"

See other formats

ment, but a spiral descent through the spiritual under-
world, which can also be called an ascent to the inner-
most, finest, most complicated whirlpool, where there
is no advance and no retreat, but only utterly new
reversal—the break through. Shall we have to go this
way to the end, to trial of the final darkness ? Where
there is danger, the rescuing force grows too.
The quasi-biological and quasi-historical thought of
to-day, however different the aims of each, have worked
together to establish a more tenacious and oppressive
belief in fate than has ever before existed. The might
of karma or of the stars no longer controls inevitably the
lot of man ; many powers claim the mastery, but rightly
considered most of our contemporaries believe in a
mixture of them, just as the late Romans believed in a
mixture of gods. This is made easier by the nature
of the claim. Whether it is the u law of life " of a
universal struggle in which all must take part or re-
nounce life, or the " law of the soul" which completely
builds up the psychical person from innate habitual
instincts, or the ** social law" of an irresistible social
process to which will and consciousness may only be
accompaniments, or the " cultural law" of an un-
changeably uniform coming and going of historical
structures—whatever form it takes, it always means
that man is set in the frame of an inescapable happening
that he cannot, or can only in his frenzy, resist. Con-
secration in the mysteries brought freedom from the
compulsion of the stars, and brahman-sacrifice with
its accompanying knowledge brought freedom from
the compulsion of karma : in both salvation was repre-
sented. But the composite god tolerates no belief in