What Kind Of Lover Are You?

Material And Transcendent Love: A Philosophy of Love


Love, that vital component of human life which makes us say the dumbest of things yet at the same time perform the greatest of feats: we conquer nations for love, we build empires for love, and we become murderous for love. But love can also be quite blinding at times. When we are overtaken by love, we run wildly into battle, knowing not a single detail about the land, about the enemy, or about the dangers that await us. Unprepared and blind, we are; for love has the brightness and intensity of the sun. We become overwhelmed by the feeling and beauty which love so bestows across our being, lighting up our entire consciousness. But such a brightness blinds us to the essence of love its self, it makes us unable to look directly at love. What kind of love so enlivens our passions?

Through the reflective mode of writing, we shall glance directly at the sun, so that we may glimpse onto the nature of love and see its phylogeny. We shall think consciously rather than feel blindly about love.

Table Of Contents

What We Need To Understand Love

Type-Token Distinction 

The Type-Token distinction references the split between the category and the instances which demonstrate category membership; consider a concrete example: a movie can be a type/category, and 101 Dalmatians can be an instance of that type, namely, a token.

A = Type

AAA = 3 Tokens Of Type “A”

(See Essay: On Proper Names For Further Applications)

Materialism And Transcendence

Materialism is a term that comes with many implications. There are implications about monism and dualism, singular substance versus multiple substances, and etc.,. But I have not much use for a thorough account of all those nuanced and idiosyncratic metaphysical details found therein, and so I shall herein declare a simple use for materialism, as well as transcendence.

When I think of tokens, I have in mind material conditions; that is, the arrangement of objects, people, and other various things within the environment; the various physical aspects of the world. I think of those and only those conditions as material conditions, as they have not any type wedded to them; only because types depend entirely on a point-of-view: types are human constructs, produced inside the mind’s eye.. Therefore, the material world cannot contain any instances of types as it is composed only of tokens, inherently so – the categories of the mind are just that, categories of the mind.

Now since the material world can only be tokens of our mentally manifested types, then that means transcendence has to be about the types. Put more thoroughly, since a type is an idealized model located inside the mind’s eye, it is something which we use to create and organize the tokens of the material world around us. That is, we know a chair to be a chair because we have inside our mind an ideal or perfect image of what so constitutes a chair, and we have inside our mind an ideal or perfect image because we focused, with great effort, on forming the ideal. We derived from the world the essence which constitutes a chair. It is the mental type which transcendence concerns its self with.

Thus, the material realm has not any meaning; it cannot be arranged or understood on its own. Much how a book needs a writer, so too will the world require a diligent, imaginative, and lively observer to receive upon their senses the beauty which the world so bestows upon them. To be arranged. To be organized. To be understood. Such is required of us from the world, and returned in ten-fold it will be. We are the the beholder of types, ready to accept the tokens which the world so graciously offers.

Material Love

The End Goal of Love

For material love, we have a map with a dotted red line, upon the end of which an X is located. If and only if we reach the X shall we find the treasure of love. Put in the language of types and tokens, material love is a token that need be sculpted and formed; effort on behalf of both lovers must be made, so as to fit the world to their whims.

Without the perfect first-date, the relationship is veered off course. There must be roses that smell fresher than spring its self; there must be a scenery which holds more beauty than reality; and the romantic interactions cannot deviate from the play-by-play that either lover has, inside their respective heads, walked through a million times over. The perfect first-date is starting off on the right foot rather than the left hand.

But it stops not there, nay; the roadmap has yet more obstacles, of which have to be overcome if the relationship is to arrive at the end goal.

Material Love Has Material Requirements

Not only will the material lovers have to arrive at various checkpoints that are not only perfect in presentation but also in execution, for a deviation from such generates movement in the wrong direction, but the material lovers will also have to come prepared with the right materials.

Since the relationship has some end goal, then, it logically follows, transformations must take place. The current conditions are unsatisfactory; they fit not to the ideal which the material lovers so yearn for, and thus require some tools to transform their world to represent most aptly their idealized fantasies.

Material lovers cannot stand, more often than not, those materials that are less than desirable amongst a given culture. They hunt for that which is the utmost desirable within the culture: high-quality consumable goods, high-quality non-consumable goods, and high income. For the material lovers are of the belief that the desirability of these objects will transfer into a desirability for them: a cultural illusion of sorts. And to some extent, it does indeed work. People do become envious of those who have high-status goods, but it is only because those who have become envious accepted assumptions, values, and axioms which they were told to accept: namely, the value-based norms of their society. But moreover, for the material lovers, the pursuit of an improved relationship starts with improved materials.

The material lovers shall eat nothing less than that which is suited for kings and queens; they shall drink the wine and beverage which graces chalices rather than mere ordinary glasses; they shall purchase the finest of fabric, the silk fit only for the proper: popes and scholars. All the consumable goods to be had are of the best available brand.

And on the other hand, we have the non-consumable goods. The material lovers require the fanciest of houses, nothing less than what others have but also anything more than what others have. To travel, if they must so, they require a stallion; only because a lack of such is an act of self-hatred or masochism.

Likewise, if the income be not sufficient, then the relationship shall lack sustenance; a bond which cannot be maintained, as the upkeep is far too expensive. Income is the aphrodisiac of material lovers, with the only difference being that maximal pleasure comes only from having the most money.

The various goods and riches of society create the foundations for the material lovers.

Beautiful Is Not Beautiful Enough

As with any venture which has an end goal in mind, the status quo must always go; for any stagnation or lack thereof change indicates nothing but the inability to achieve a mitigation of that elongated discrepancy which resides between thy self and thy goal. Indeed, such be the thoughts of the material lovers, as they have places to go with little time to make it so.

The end goal not only places a demand on the material lovers to make so their material desires, the goods and income which they so seek to reach together, but it also has the potential to place a demand on their standards for beauty. I caution, however; not all material lovers need their beauty to match their materials, and such is for a few reasons.

On the one hand, some material lovers, though they may desire goods that increase their surface level desirability, nevertheless, care very little for physical attraction or cultural beauty standards. They are so extrinsically motivated that even their physical appearance is too intrinsic, relative to their worldview. And such is why beauty standards have been given no attention by them.

But there is another possibility, one ever so unfortunate possibility, as to why material lovers may neglect beauty standards. It be possibly so, that, of the material lovers, both lack within their genetic make-up something which is desirable. Put more descriptively, it is quite possible that one partner has a terrible body structure while the other has an undesirable figure. If so precise a possibility be, then it is of impeccable convenience for the material lovers to suppose of normal standards about physical beauty that they matter not; that physical beauty weighs little on their mind. Such an insecure supposition is, of course, a convenience for the ugly material lovers, though only because their devaluation of physical beauty increases their relative value in other domains of material standards.

Now we have not yet exhausted the logical possibilities as to why material lovers will devalue the standards of physical beauty, but we have, nevertheless, covered the two opposing extremes of the spectrum of possibilities for doing so. And so, we need spend no further time on it here or anywhere else, as the same analysis can be applied to virtually any act of devaluation. That is, people have a terrible tendency to devalue something simply because they cannot have it, or have simply not had the opportunity to value it just yet.

As deeply fascinating as the esteem which we associate with physical beauty standards so be, I have yet another deeply curious subject to discuss.

An Ode To Icarus

The Personality Of A Duck

The mirror never looks inwards to reflect upon its self, just as the material lovers likewise fail to reflect inwards on themselves. The mirror actively sculpts the world around itself into an idealized presentation, of which was produced through force. Similarly, the material lovers force the world around them to fit as aptly as possible to their ideals. The ever so peculiar consequent of their doing so results in the manifestations of mentally ugly ducklings.

I agree, my interpretation is biased here, that is, I have supposed that those who lack internal self-development have ugly personalities. Though my bias interpretation aside, I have stumbled upon a grain of Truth here, even if there are exceptions to the rule.

The material lovers cannot further develop their mental aesthetics because they have not the time nor desire to reflect inward and alter those self-evident properties which Descartes so loves to ramble on about. Their foundations are like the boxes to a new refrigerator which children use to build forts and play cops and robbers inside. We can say they are packaged in standard fashion, but nothing has been done; at least the children paint their boxes from time-to-time, though the material lovers just peer outwardly from within it.

That being said, I have little else to comment. Just remember that the more inwardly focused we are, the less outwardly focused we become; those who focus on the external neglect the internal, and so on and so forth. Merry Christmas.

Look At Them, Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!

One of the dirty secrets which comes with material love, of which is remarkably dangerous for even the most superior of folks, be that they compare each other to one another. And not only do they compare each other to one another, they have fierce competition amongst each other: race, achieve, out-perform. I am better, we are better, they are worse.

Since we have discussed nothing but the material, and how these material properties are treated as ranking systems, that is, we have projected arbitrary value on to them so as to be ranked, then it is only a natural progression that material lovers engage in comparisons amongst each other. It is one of the metrics which they use to determine whether they have been outcompeted in striving towards some goal, due to limited resources, or are far ahead of those who are likewise competing for precisely the same goal. Put otherwise, Adam Smith once said, “…to satisfy unlimited human wants with a limited amount of resources,” or something like that.

Basically, scarce resources means some will fail to obtain what they so desire, especially if they have some material end-goal in mind. Race onwardly, they do so. Since nothing is yet at that stage of ideal, we need to work harder, work better, and work faster; we cannot succumb to defeat or weak will. If another approach toward those materials which we require to achieve our ideals, then bitterly and harshly, like the chillest of winds in the coldest of lands, they shall be treated. It is business as usual, no personal dynamics involved.

As said earlier, such a dirty little secret has a cost, but what be it?

The Dangers Of The Dirty And Rather Small Secret

Okay, so the danger I speak so hesitantly of regards failure and utter destruction. Nothing is so damaging as the process of disillusionment and the recognition that one will be unable to obtain their ideal. To become disillusioned from our illusions is to be left with nothing but knowing the illusion of something that be an illusion.

When the material lovers pursue their ideal and they fail to achieve it, they then become broken and beaten. But how the failure is realized or comes about matters, though only insofar as the way in which it occurs determines to some extent the pain that shall be brought on by the wrath of failure.

Just imagine, after 10+ years of seeking some end goal, of which has yet to have been reached, to then have some random and younger couple come along who have achieved precisely that end goal which the material lovers sought after for 10+ years. How sour a Truth of that sort would be.

But there is yet another form of disillusionment, one which might very well ruin the material lovers lives, if not only their relationship. Suppose after years of effort, they had come to realize that their ideal was unobtainable. Far beyond reachable, like a child sitting at the bottom of a counter looking at how unreachable the cookie jar be. All their desires would become useless. Not anything they could do, not an action to be taken; they become prisoners to their minds, forever torcher’d by the fact that their ideals shall never be realized.

Likewise, if the ideal so desired is rooted on something which cannot be done by one’s self, that is, the couple had overestimated their ability and skill, then they have set out to climb Mt.Everest with nothing but sandals and broken backs, unwittingly so. Doomed to die on their journey, their hearts will freeze over before nightfall.

Such is the dirt secret of material love, as the material lovers seldom ever discuss most openly the possibility of complete and utter failure; it is something which they ignore, as does the average person. But the benefit which change in conditions brings, that is, the negation of stagnancy, is something that lacks inside the transcendent lovers. Meaning, transcendent lovers have the risk of being stagnant because transcendent love is momentary.

Transcendent Love

Transcendent Love Is Momentary

Time is short, the material lovers tell us. We must hurry, work, work, work; if we want love, then we must reach it before another. Such ought be expected from the material lovers, as the primary stone which lay at their foundation be, “the ends justify the means”. The material lovers have at the ready, so as to consult upon each occasion, a blueprint for what they want and a map for how to get there.

It is no wonder as to why the material lovers be well-skilled in the practices of time-management; their lofty goals require of them much work, though life places onto them a constraint of that which is needed most to achieve: time. And so, the material lovers are not only in a race against others but also time, as the window to reach their goal remains open for but a mere handful of years.

However, the Transcendent lovers have not any problem which so resembles that of the material lovers; time may flow continuously as it so does, depleting the rivers from which it falls, but that has no impact on the boat of transcendent love. They have not any restriction to explore the waters of love, despite the imminent decline of the waters wherein which their love so beautifully manifested. Closer and closer, to the sea floor they go; further and further their love may float, but love they did have, for their hearts made it so. Thus, transcendence is not about the location wherein which one no longer rows, but instead transcendence is about the journey rather than the goal. It is a momentary pleasure; an acceptance of all that is there as all that there needs to be.

Transcendent Love Lacks Material Requirements

The material lovers have, definitionally so, some goal to reach, but the transcendent lovers have not any goal to reach. There be no end in sight. And because there is a lack of end-game in the transcendent lovers worldview, there is likewise a lack of material requirements.

A world of material diversity tempts us so, we seek and yearn for more clothes, more cars, and more wealth. Atop the mountain of our status, we deem ourselves superior; that external gratification which reflects how verified we are inside the context of society’s values, or, more unfortunately, how unimportant we are. Driven by material temptation, most are, but not the transcendent lovers.

The transcendent lovers walk along side the road, they look onto those who have more as they pass by, and utter in the most genuine of fashions: “I need not a thing more in my life”. No status can tempt them, no material can urge them; submerged, they are, drifting in the wind as though it were water.

I Am A Unique Existential Quantifier: From Token To Type – ∃!

A token of some type, a great number of us are. We take the world and the tokens it has to offer us, and we place them into the types which lurk between the cracks of our fatty, soft, and computationally complex brains: “Yes, I remember what that feels like, it reminds me of feeling X, which I had some years ago”. Put otherwise, we create types as we go along in life, and we then find tokens that meet the criteria for those various types which we previously established in life. But there are times wherein which we may so choose to do something radically different.

There are times wherein which we may stop to not only smell the roses but also notice them in more vivid detail than ever before. When we are distant, the smell of a rose can be rough, not well sculpted, and have only a vague presentation. Its detail being hard to see, we understand it in the most shallow of ways: impersonal and distant. Of course, we can still categorize the rose as a rose with such a shallow understanding, but we have not any vivid detail to categorize the rose with any nuanced or distinct differences. That is, when we place the rose beneath our nose and breathe slowly, so as to explore its scent with our sense of olfaction; when we touch in the most gentle of fashions its soft and fuzzy pedals; or admire the vibrancy and liveliness of its eloquent beauty as it so displays upon the retina, we discover a world of hidden treasures. And something is allotted by precisely these treasures; namely, the ability to organize the world into nuanced and idiosyncratic ways, and that includes our romantic relationships.

We may find ourselves with another person, whom of which fits some type inside our head, though a type which had been established by another or some culture. We know that our lover is a lover because we have a criteria that they map onto. We may compare the features, either physical or psychological, to someone we previously engaged with romantically, so as to understand the person relative to another: the previous one made me feel x, but this one makes me feel y. Or, we can be shocked and surprised, as there are times wherein which a lover defies our previously established categories of love and not only pushes the boundaries but also creates new features, entirely. However, such misses the point of searching for treasure.

When we search for treasure, we are not to compare A to B. We are to focus our attention upon the unique qualities of either A or B, to notice those qualities which make the law of identity that which it is. Little if any attention is given to the comparable features, of which had initially granted us our ability to categorize both A and B into the same set or group.

To smell the scent of a lover, so as to understand most thoroughly the differences therein, to the point where we may so understand the scent as a function of her dietary or hygienic habits; to embrace in a prolonged fashion her lips, so as to have a map of each sensation she produces with the many ripples on her lips; to rub compassionately her physicality so as to develop an intuitive understanding of her flesh-based geography. To understand that which makes the law of identity what it so be: her.

So becomes of the token, a type.

Transcendental Idealism Has Transcendental Dangers

She Is Replaceable, He Is Not

How great our insecurities become when the realization of our own insignificance strikes down upon the immediacy of awareness. Like a pair of clothes, we may be what is fashionable on Monday yet become used and dirty fabric which sits amongst other dirty clothes by Thursday; from the deluded and optimistic self-perception of product inelasticity, to the dreadful and pessimistic self-perception of product substitution. We are more transient to others than thoughts and sensations are to a buddhist.

That most definitely be the case for the material lovers as well. Albeit, the end-goal which so guides the material lovers through obstacles and complexity found within the world has some form of rigidity; and therefore, increases the difficulty which one must encumber to find a readily available substitute, but they are each nevertheless replaceable.

If the end-goal is to be with someone who has fierce business skills, has the motivational drive of a hunger-stricken lion in pursuit of a gazelle, and demonstrates loyalty found only among the strongest of cults, then we have a much smaller sample size to pick from. Less rather than more will have such material traits. However, even though the sample size be smaller, the number nevertheless remains greater than one. And so such a partner can be replaced as any sample from the population can fit that criteria.

So, the material lovers can replace one another, more often than not; only because that which they pursue depends not on uniqueness, nay, that which they pursue depends on an end-goal, of which has multiple paths that can be taken when we so opt to embark on a journey towards it. We are nothing to a lover unless we have whatever it is they so seek, whatever it is which be necessary for the achievement of their end-goal.

But what happens when there be not any end-goal; how can the lack of an end-goal impact the degree to which one becomes replaceable?

A rock once thrown can easily be replaced by another which sits beneath our feet as we look onto the waters from the vantage of the shore; but a rock once thrown cannot be brought back by those who stare from the shore. We cannot replace transcendent love, as it is dependent entirely upon the two lovers and their unique qualities. The transcendent lovers care not to achieve some end-goal, they are content. Not a thing more could be desired: their relationship is an idealized perfection. And so, the transcendent lovers cannot be replaceable, they are perfectly inelastic.

A Warning About Transcendent Love

We humans live in idealized worlds rather than the realized world; we fantasize about ideals more than we romanticize what is real. We have stowed away in our heads the perfections of imagination and creativity. But seldom can these perfections be wedded to the real world. However, such is not something which the transcendent lovers need worry about.

As said before, the transcendent lovers grasp a token of the world and produce out of it a new and unique type. As a consequent, they have sculpted an ideal into reality: a real perfection. But nuance must be made of such an instance.

We cannot say of just any person that they are our true love; our transcendent type. We need choose wisely who that person shall be. For if we continually call each person who steps into our romantic lives our one and only one true love, it degrades most seriously the entire notion. And it also introduces a serious self-doubt; that is, some people will suppose another to be their one true love simply because they are currently insecure in their attachment to them. Put otherwise, when we categorize someone as our true love, it increases the psychological significance we have towards them; which thus combats or mitigates the insecurities which stir beneath the surface. But moreover, if we so suppose that each romantic partner is the one, then we must doubt our motivations: do we suppose them to be the one because we are insecure? Or, if I was entirely wrong the last time I supposed it, then why have I any other reason to believe I be accurate in my current judgements? A great deal of time – that is, months if not years – and reflection is required for one to ascertain whether the current partner is the token which will become a type or not. The choice should be anything but easy.

Closing Reflections

Science or Spirituality

In many ways, our discussion has been precisely the same discussion which occurs between those who seek reductionistic methods, such as neuroscience, to explain the nature of love and those who seek holistic methods, such as spirituality, to explain the nature of love.

Material love is disjunctive, it has multiple components and requires a combination of different elements. The right car, the right appearance, the right timing, etc., It has multiple parts that, when added together, form love. Such is deeply similar to the reductionism found in science: all things can be understood via analyzing the contributions of its constituent pars.

Likewise, spiritual philosophers often speak of emergence and the inherent non-reducibility of consciousness; we are all unified in some monistic universe, an absolute God-mind.

And as a result of one love being reductive while the other be emergent, we have a mutual exclusion: one cannot see the breadth of the sky while analyzing a single star. Put non-metaphorically, we miss the whole if we focus on the parts, though we likewise miss the individual parts if we focus on the whole. So, in other words, it is of utmost importance that we decided wisely on which love we so seek.

Love is an emotion which will accompany us, so long as we are with our partner, until our death; and so, the style of love which one adopts will impact the blend of emotions that so accompany us to our death beds. Does one want to die with a material lover or a unique existential quantifier?

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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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