[Carl Jung: The feeling of inner detachment and isolation is not in itself an abnormal phenomenon…]

To Dr. S.

Dear Colleague, 22 February 1938

The feeling of inner detachment and isolation is not in itself an abnormal phenomenon but is normal in the sense that consciousness has withdrawn from the phenomenal world and got outside time and space.

You will find the clearest parallels in Indian philosophy, especially in Yoga.

In your case the feeling is reinforced by your psychological studies.

The assimilated unconscious apparently disappears in consciousness without trace, but it has the effect of detaching consciousness from its ties to the object.

I have described this development in my commentary on the Golden Flower. It is a sort of integration process and an anticipation of consciousness.

The cross is an indication of this, since it represents an integration of the 4 (functions).

It is perfectly understandable that, when consciousness detaches itself from the object, the feeling arises that one does not know where one stands.

Actually one is standing nowhere, because standing has a below and an above.

But there one has no below and above at all, because spatiality pertains to the world of the senses, and consciousness possesses spatiality only when it is in participation with that world.

It is a not-knowing, which has the same positive character as nirvana in the Buddhist definition, or the wu-wei, not-doing, of the Chinese, which does not mean doing nothing.

The profound doubt you seem to be suffering from is quite in order as it simply expresses the detachment of consciousness and the resultant explanation of the objective world as an illusion.

The neurotic character of your skepticism is due essentially to the fact that you cannot accept positively the development that is being prepared or is already in progress but fight against it for understandable reasons: it is a figurative death against which one naturally has all kinds of objections to make.

If your shadow exhibits no inferior features you can be sure that your consciousness is living in the shade, that is, is playing a negative role.

But that doesn’t necessarily make you a dark horse.

It only means that your consciousness is not yet able to see anything positive in this development towards not-being.

As a result, the shadow naturally gets a positive value.

There is indeed an important task you have left unfinished.

The development now being offered to you is not accepted positively, whereas it is the meaning and purpose of all life’s wisdom to go along with natural developments that spring from the functioning of the whole personality.

With best greetings and wishes;

Yours sincerely,

C.G. JUNG [Letters Volume 1; Pages 240-241]