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Full text of "I And Thou"

and with knowledge in his heart thinks of the two
situations, is he not bound to find that his being is
split asunder and one part given to perdition ? What
does it help my soul that it can be withdrawn anew from
this world here into unity, when this world itself has of
necessity no part in the unity—what does all " enjoy-
ment of God " profit a life that is rent in two ? If that
abundantly rich heavenly moment has nothing to do
with my poor earthly moment—what has it then to
do with me, who Have still to live, in all seriousness still
to live, on earth ? Thus are the masters to be under-
stood who have renounced the raptures of ecstatic
" union ".
Union that was no union: as illustration I take the
men who in the passion of the engrossing Eros are so
enraptured by the miracle of the embrace that their
knowledge of I and Thou perishes in the feeling of a
unity that does not and cannot exist. What the
ecstatic man calls union is the enrapturing dynamic of
relation, not a unity arisen in this moment of the
world's time that dissolves the Z and the Thou, but the
dynamic of relation itself, which can put itself before
its bearers as they steadily confront one another, and
cover each from the feeling of the other enraptured one.
Here, then, on the brink, the relational act goes beyond
itself ; the relation itself in its vital unity is felt so
forcibly that its parts seem to fade before it, and in the
force of its life, the Z and the Thou, between which it is
established, are forgotten. Here is one of the phenomena
of the. brink to which reality extends and at which it
grows dim. But the central reality of the everyday hour
on earth, with a streak of sun on a maple twig and the
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