I do not know if it has ever been noted before that one of the main characteristics of life is discreteness. Unless a film of flesh envelopes us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler's helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego.
Towards the outside, at any rate, the ego seems to maintain clear and sharp lines of demarcation. There is only one state -- admittedly an unusual state, but not one that can be stigmatized as pathological -- in which it does not do this. At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of his senses, a man who is in love declares that "i" and "you" are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact.
In this way the ego detaches itself from the external world. It is more correct to say: originally the ego includes everything, later it detaches from itself the external world. The ego-feeling we are aware of now is thus only a shrunken vestige of a far more extensive feeling - a feeling which embraced the universe and expressed an inseparable connection of the ego with the external world.