Maijs 23., 2019

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If I face a human being as my Thou, and say the primary word I-Thou to him, he is not a thing among things, and does not consist of things.
This human being is not He or She, bounded from every other He and She, a specific point in space and time within the net of the world; nor is he a nature able to be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. But with no neighbour, and whole in himself, he is Thou and fills the heavens. This does not mean that nothing exists except himself. But all else lives in his light.
Just as the melody is not made up of notes nor the verse of words nor the statue of lines, but they must be tugged and dragged till their unity been scattered into these many pieces, so with the man to whom I say Thou. I can take out from him the colour of his hair, or of his speech, or of his goodness. I must continually do this. But each time I do it he ceases to be Thou.
And just as prayer is not in time but time in prayer, sacrifice not in space but space in sacrifice, and to reverse the relation is to abolish the reality, so with the man to whom I say Thou. I do not meet with him at some time and place or other. I can set him in a particular time and place; I must continually do it: but I set only a He or a She, that is an It, no longer my Thou.
So long as the heaven of Thou is spread out over me the winds of causality cower at my heels, and the whirlpool of fate stays its course. I do not experience the man to whom I say Thou. But I take my stand in relation to him, in the sanctity of the primary word. Only when I step out of it do I experience him once more. In the act of experience Thou is far away.
Even if the man to whom I say Thou is not aware of it in the midst of his experience, yet relation may exist. For Thou is more than It realises. No deception penetrates here; here is the cradle of the Real Life.

Martin Buber

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