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Full text of "I And Thou"

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touch of spirit, before it yields to spirit's cosmic venture
that we call man. But no speech will ever repeat what
that stammering knows and can proclaim.
Sometimes I look into a cat's eyes. The domesti-
cated animal has not as it were received from us (as
we sometimes imagine) the gift of the truly " speaking '*
glance, but only—at the price of its primitive disin-
terestedness—the capacity to turn its glance to us
prodigious beings. But with this capacity there enters
the glance, in its dawn and continuing in its rising, a
quality of amazement and of inquiry that is wholly
lacking in the original glance with all its anxiety.
The beginning of this cat's glance, lighting up under
the touch of my glance, indisputably questioned me:
" Is it possible that you think of me ? Do you really
not just want me to have fun ? Do I concern you ?
Do I exist in your sight ? Do I really exist ? What
is it that comes from you ? What i$ it that surrounds
me? What is it that comes to me? Whatisit?" ("I"
is here a transcription for a word, that we do not have,
denoting self without the ego; and by " it" is to be
imagined the streaming human glance in the total
reality of its power to enter into relation.) The
animal's glance, speech of disquietude, rose in its
greatness—and set at once. My own glance was
certainly more lasting; but it was no longer the
streaming human glance.
The rotation of the world which introduced the
relational event had been followed almost immediately
by the other which ended it. The world, of It sur-
rounded the animal and myself, for the space of a
glance the world of Thou had shone out from the
H                           97