The individual can, to be sure, more and more replace direct with indirect experience, he can “acquire items of knowledge,” and he can more and more reduce his using of the world to specialised “utilisation”; … This is the usual meaning of the talk about a progressive development of the spiritual life. By this talk, guilt of the real sin of speech against the spirit is undoubtedly incurred; for that “spiritual life” is for the most part the obstacle to a life lived in the spirit, and at best the material which, after being mastered and fashioned, is to go to make that life.

It is the obstacle; for the development of the ability to experience and use comes about mostly through the decrease of man’s power to enter into relation – the power in virtue of which alone man can live the life of the spirit.

Martin Buber, I and Thou, Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith, Scribner Classics, 2000 (1956), 48.

red line embellished

Image: Scenes from the Exodus from Egypt, Dura Synagogue, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons