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Full text of "I And Thou"

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I ?   How may a man who lives in arbitrary self-will
become aware of freedom ?
—As freedom and destiny, so arbitrary self-will and
fate belong together. But freedom and destiny are
solemnly promised to one another and linked together
in meaning; while arbitrary self-will and fate, sottl's
spectre and world's nightmare, endure one another,
living side by side and avoiding one another, without
connexion or conflict, in meaninglessness—till in an
instant there is confused shock of glance on glance,
and confession of their non-salvation breaks from
them. How much eloquent and ingenious spirituality is
expended to-day in the effort to avert, or at least to veil,
this event I
The free man is he who wills without arbitrary self-
will. He believes in reality, that is, he believes in the
real solidarity of the real twofold entity I and Thou.
He believes in destiny, and believes that it stands in
need of him. It does not keep him in leading-strings,
it awaits him, he must go to it, yet does not know where
it is to be found. But he knows that he must go out
withf his whole being. The matter will not turn out
according to his decision; but what is to come will
come only when he decides on what he is able to will.
He must sacrifice his puny, unfree will, that is con-
trolled by things and instincts, to his grand will, which
quit^ defined for destined being. Then he intervenes
no more, but at the same time he does not let things
merely happen. He listens to what is emerging from
himself, to the course of being in the world; not
in order to be supported by it, but in order to bring
it to reality as it desires, in its need of him, to be