Love, Will, or Reason: What Is Your Approach to Life?

Given the realities inherent in the human psyche, there are three ways of approaching life in this world. No one exists entirely within a single stream, but each mode has its own distinct set of characteristics. For the first approach, I have used love as a substitute for emotion since people who choose the feeling life emphasize love above all other emotions.

The Three Ways of Life: Love, Will, and Reason

Your authentic self will determine which approach to life you favour. (Image: Thomas Cotterill)

The way of love is a life dominated by instinct with its accompanying emotions. Rewards in this mode of existence arise almost exclusively from emotional gratification and the experience of sensual pleasure, which prompts a sense of eagerly desired physical happiness. It is a crudely conceptualized, non-intellectual, irrational, bodily approach to life, with little manifestation of will, a sort of corporeal drifting from one source of satisfaction to the next. Life lived in this way is often haphazard or even chaotic. People in love with falling in love epitomize the type.

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The Purpose of Consciousness Is Language

The sense of loneliness and yearning for something beyond personal needs, something lost or forgotten, some Eden is the longing to return to a state of unconscious union with the world, an abolition of fretful ego in favour of carefree unknowing, a state like that of crocodiles basking on the river-bank with a belly full of fish. All is well! All is right with the world! We hunger for sheer, unadulterated, unexamined contentment. In short, we want to regain the childish condition Jung so aptly called the “participation mystique,” the situation where, as small children, we could not tell what was “us” and what was the world.

Painting depicting people in conversation

The purpose of consciousness is language which enables us to communicate and co-operate. (Photo: Wikimedia)

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What Powers the Human Psyche?

Cross-section of an electronic and mechanized brain.

Does reason or emotion rule the mental roost? Or is there another factor? (Image: public domain

Nothing happens in this world without some kind of energy to power it, to make it manifest. That being the case, what powers the human psyche where so much of what is important in this world occurs? The most obvious candidates are the powerful urges of emotion and the more precise logical functions of reason. Most often, opinion divides between these two options while a minority (trying to be moderate and sophisticated) take the middle ground and say that both reason and emotion power the psyche in a sort of psychic balancing act. This, they claim, yields the proverbial well-balanced person.

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