Skip to main content
being given. It can only be indicated by the drawing
of a circle which excludes everything that is not this
going out. Then the one thing that matters is visible,
full acceptance of the present.
To be sure, this acceptance presupposes that the
farther a man has wandered in separated being the more
difficult is the venture and the more elemental the
reversal. This does not mean a giving up of, say, the
7, as mystical writings usually suppose: the I is as
indispensable to this, the supreme, as to every relation,
since relation is only possible between I and Thou.
It is not the I, then, that is given up, but that false
self-asserting instinct that makes a man flee to the
possessing of things before the unreliable, perilous world
of relation which has neither density nor duration and
cannot be surveyed.
Every real relation with a being or life in the world is
exclusive. Its Thou is freed, steps forth, is single, and
confronts you. It fills the heavens. This does not mean
that nothing else exists; but all else lives in its light.
As long as the presence of the relation continues, this
its cosmic range is inviolable. But as soon as a Thou
becomes It, the cosmic range of the relation appears as
an offence to the world, its exclusiveness as an exclusion
of the universe.
In the relation with God unconditional exclusiveness
and unconditional inclusiveness are one. He who
enters on the absolute relation is concerned with nothing
isolated any more, neither things nor beings, neither
earth nor heaven; but everything is gathered up in the