How to Love Forever

The Dangers of Particulars

There is a traditional view of love that perhaps nearly everyone is familiar with: namely, the love of a particular. We love particular people, particular places, and particular foods. We invest wholeheartedly into those particulars which have won, through thick and thin, our affections. This way of love has a wide range of wondrous benefits, all of which we are most apt to ramble on about; since we are all the experts on this type of love. However, there is an inevitable depression for those who love particulars, and this depression stems from the traditional view of love.

The stormy clouds which gloom over the end of the path are in no hurry, they wait for those who love particulars. Like an ominous figure wearing a hood on a dark night, waiting outside the only entrance, a misery which regards the finite nature of each particular awaits those who love them, prepare to be robbed. To love just one thing means that the love connected with that thing will perish simultaneously with the particular. The wife that loses her loyal, life-long husband at age 70 loses not only her particular but also her connection to the world of love, for she invested all her love into that very particular which slept beside her each night. This, therefore, is the danger of being utterly infatuated with particulars.

This danger that is necessarily bound to each particular will have its day within each and every one of us; we will all face this stormy weather, together or alone. The beloved books on linguistics which sit beautifully, marked with enough pencil to dirty the fingers of anyone who flips through their pages, will one day perish into a nothingness. The deep feelings of connection and warmth shared between lovers, friends, and family will meet this storm head-on as well, like all connections established to particulars.

But this need not be the case for us all; that is, we need not all head down the direction of particulars and into the storm which awaits, only to make chaos of our linear minds. There is another option, another path to be ventured.

To Love Types

If we forgo the love of tokens, then we may embrace the love of types; our minds do possess the faculties necessary to do so. This way of love, however, will bend one’s psychology at first, for it is unusual indeed. But, first, whatever do we mean by tokens and types?

A token is but a mere instance of a given type; a member of a category. A single motor vehicle is a token of its type; a single dog is a token of the category “dog”. Comparatively, a type is the category its self; the house to which all the corresponding tokens dine inside. The stacks of books which clutter my personal quarters are all tokens of a much more broad type: namely, “book”. Thus, as put, a token is a particular, and a type is a general form which particulars embody.

And so we may now, equipped with sufficient knowledge, understand what it means to love a type rather than a token. Let us consider more specific instances.

When one confesses their love for either their wife or husband, they do so for their particular wife or husband. But a less injurious means to confess one’s love would be to confess love on the fact of having a wife or husband. Enjoy the type rather than the token. If one loves reading a particular novel, then say that it is reading, more generally, which excites your passions. In doing so, one becomes immune to the inevitable misery which awaits those that love particulars. Upon the last breath of a dying partner, we will be unlike the many others who experience this event, for we love the form of relationship partners rather than the particular partner. Upon the tragic decay of the books within our personal libraries, our emotions will remain undisturbed; if only because we love books. When it is books that we love, the particular books which that tragically decayed may go where they must. To abide in types is to put no weight on the particular.

To have a more concrete insight into the nature of the mindset which I convey, ponder in thought the following: the loss of a beloved particular. If one loses this particular, it will devastate the lands which grow happiness with a drought. However, if one’s love was for the form of the thing rather than the particular, then no devastation shall occur; only because there has been nothing lost. That is, if the particular were a book, then we apriori loved books, not specific books, and so the loss of a book is not the loss of its form. There are still books to be written, to be found in the depths of our wonderous libraries, and so forth. Thus, to love the form, then, is to love something which can go beyond being finite so long as one thinks it.

How to Love Forever

And so, to love forever is to love the form of a thing rather than the particular. The forms can exist so long as there is some willing agent, for this agent can create a particular of a given form. And to be clear, it is fine to have a favor for one particular over the other, but the point is to remain cognizant that it is ultimately the form we favor. This requires a high degree of open-mindedness as well, and so it is much easier said than done.  But we may conclude that the love of forms is forever, whereas the love of particulars is temporary. The form is forever, thereby extending the love forever; contrastingly, the type is finite, thereby restricting the duration of one’s love. Thus, to love forms is to love throughout one’s lifespan.


Ideasinhat is a business development analyst and longtime reader of academic literature. He writes books and essays on science and philosophy, and posts them to this website. The essays, as with the books, cover topics from psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science to economics, politics, and law.

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