The quasi-biological and quasi-historical thought of to-day, however different the aims of each, have worked together to establish a more tenacious and oppressive belief in fate than has ever before existed. The might of karma or of the stars no longer controls inevitably the lot of [humanity]; many powers claim the mastery, but rightly considered most of our contemporaries believe in a mixture of them, just as the late Romans believed in a mixture of gods. … Whether it is the ‘law of life’ of a universal struggle in which all must take part or renounce life, or the ‘law of the soul’ which completely builds up the psychical person from innate habitual instincts, or the ‘social law’ of an irresistible social process to which will and consciousness may only be accompaniments, or the ‘cultural law’ of an unchangeably uniform coming and going of historical structures–whatever form it takes, it always means that [people are] set in the frame of an inescapable happening that [they] cannot, or can only in [their] frenzy resist. Consecration in the mysteries brought freedom from the compulsion of the stars, and brahman-sacrifice with its accompanying knowledge brought freedom from the compulsion of karma: in both redemption was represented. But the composite god tolerates no belief in release. It is considered folly to imagine any freedom …

Martin Buber, I and Thou, Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith, Scribner Classics, 2000 (1956), 62.

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Image: Detail of an image of the stained glass work in Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem, Israel, “The Tribe of Levi,” Marc Chagall / CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons