“Every man has some reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has others which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But finally there are still others which a man is even afraid to tell himself, and every decent man has a considerable number of such things stored away. That is, one can even say that the more decent he is, the greater the number of such things in his mind.”—Fjodor Dostojevskij
“When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?”—Oscar Wilde - De Profundis
“Would you like to save the world from the degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from shallow mass movements and quietly go to work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”—Lao Tzu
As a student of alchemy, he (and his followers) ‘compared the “black work” of the alchemists (the nigredo) with the often highly critical involvement experienced by the ego, until it accepts the new equilibrium brought about by the creation of the self’. Jungians interpreted nigredo in two main psychological senses.
The first represented on the one hand a subject’s initial state of undifferentiated unawareness: ‘the first nigredo, that of the unio naturalis, is an objective state, visible from the outside only…an unconscious state of non-differentiation between self and object, consciousness and the unconscious’. Here the subject is ‘“too conscious”…in reality unconscious of the unconscious; i.e. the connection with the instincts’.
In the second sense, ‘the nigredo of the process of individuation on the other hand is a subjectively experienced process brought about by the subject’s painful, growing awareness of his shadow aspects’. It could be described as a moment of maximum despair, that is a prerequisite to personal development. As individuation unfolds, so ‘confrontation with the shadow produces at first a dead balance, a standstill that hampers moral decisions and makes convictions ineffective or even impossible…nigredo, tenebrositas, chaos, melancholia’. Here is ‘the darkest time, the time of despair, disillusionment, envious attacks; the time when Eros and Superego are at daggers drawn, and there seems no way forward…nigredo, the blackening’.
Toska - noun /ˈtō-skə/ - Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.
No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.