The trade of chemist (fortified, in my case, by the experience of Auschwitz) teaches you to overcome , indeed to ignore, certain revulsions that are neither necessary or congenital: matter is matter, neither noble nor vile, infinitely transformable, and its proximate origin is of no importance whatsoever. Nitrogen is nitrogen, it passes miraculously from the air into plants, from these into animals, and from animals to us; when its function in our body is exhausted, we eliminate it, but it still remains nitrogen, aseptic, innocent.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table, translated by Raymond Rosenthal
Appendix 1: Extracts from C.G. Jung, Commentary on the Secret of the Golden Flower
The wise Chinese would say in the words of the I Ching: When yang has reached its
greatest strength, the dark power of yin is born within its depths, for night begins at midday
when yang breaks up and begins to change into yin.
The ‘enclosure’, or circumambulation, is expressed in our text by the idea of a ‘circulation’.
The ‘circulation is not merely motion in a circle, but means, on the one hand, the marking off
of a sacred precinct, and, on the other, fixation and concentration. The sun wheel begins to run;
that is to say, the sun is animated and begins to take its course, or in other words, the Tao begins
to work and to take over the leadership. Action is reversed into non-action; all that is peripheral is
subjected to the command of what is central. [...]
Thus the circular movement also has the moral significance of activating all the light and all
the dark forces of human nature, and with them, all the psychological opposites of whatever
kind they may be.
If viewed correctly in the psychological sense, death is not an end but a goal, and therefore
life towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed.