Skip to main content

Full text of "I And Thou"

See other formats

thread on which the many-coloured circumstances are
strung. If now I say, ** I see you ", or," I see the tree ",
perhaps the seeing is not real in the same way in both,
but the I in both is real in the same -way.
óLet us make trial if this is so. The form of the
words proves nothing. If many a spoken Thau indicates
fundamentally an It, addressed as Thou only from habit
and obtuseness, and many a spoken l£ fundamentally a
Thou, its presentness remembered as it were remotely
with the whole being, so are countless Fs only indispens-
able pronouns, necessary abbreviations for " This man
here who is speaking ". You speak of self-consciousness ?
If in the one sentence the Thou of Delation is truly meant
and in the other the It of an experience, that is, if the /
in both is truly meant, is it the same I out of whose
self-consciousness both are spoken ?
The I of the primary word I-Thou is a different I
from that of the primary word I-It.
The I of the primary word I-It makes its appearance
as individuality and becomes conscious of itself as subject
(of experiencing and using).
The / of the primary word I-Thou makes its appear-
ance as person and becomes conscious of itself as
subjectivity (without a dependent genitive).
Individuality makes its appearance by being differen-
tiated from other individualities.
A person makes his appearance by entering into relation
with other persons.
The one is the spiritual form of natuial detachment,
the other the spiritual form of natural solidarity of
The aim of self-differentiation is to experience and to