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Full text of "I And Thou"

in some sort of finite good—his nation, his art, power,
knowledge, the amassing of money, "the ever new
subjugation of woman "—which has become for him an
absolute value and has set itself up between T"TH and
God; it is only necessary to demonstrate to him the
conditioned nature of this good, in order to " shatter "
the idol, and the diverted religious act will automatically
return to the fitting object.
This conception presupposes that man's relation to
the finite goods he has " idolized " is of the same nature
as his relation to God, and differs only in its object;
for only with this presupposition could the mere sub-
stitution of the true for the false object save the erring
man. But a man's relation to the " special something "
that usurps the throne of the supreme value of his life,
and supplants eternity, rests always on experiencing and
using an It, a thing, an object of enjoyment. For this
relation alone is able to obstruct the prospect which
opens toward God—it is the impenetrable world of It;
but the relation which involves the saying of the Thou
opens up this prospect ever anew. He who is dominated
by the idol that he wishes to win, to hold, and to keep—
possessed by a desire for possession—has no way to God
but that of reversal, which is a change not only of goal
but also of the nature of his movement. The man who
is possessed is saved by being wakened and educated to
solidarity of relation, not by being led in his state of
possession towards God. If a man remains in this state
what does it mean when he calls no longer on the name
of a demon or of a being demonically distorted for him,
but on the name of God ? It means that from now on
he blasphemes. It is blasphemy when a man wishes,
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