Nothing can doom man but the belief in doom, for this prevents the movement of return.

In this claim, Buber sums up his diagnosis of modern man's ills. The reason that modern man feels alienated from the world, that life is meaningless, and that he is oppressed by inescapable laws of nature, is because modern man no longer recognizes the second mode of engaging the world, the mode of encounter. Modern man believes that the It-world, the world of strict causal laws, of using and being used, is all that exists. It is only this belief that dooms him to feel alienated. If he could only open himself up to the possibility of encounter, he would find salvation.