You will often see in mythology various things centered around the number four – four of this, four of that, four times four, etc.
Carl Jung states that the nucleus of the Psyche or Self works as a fourfold structure. We will looks at this structure first as it relates to personal development and then as it relates to love.
Four Levels of the Psyche
Psyche Level 1
Purely instinctive and biological relations – man as an animal, the Id.
Psyche Level 2
Romantic or aesthetic pleasure, the appreciation of beauty and the higher senses.
Psyche Level 3
The spiritual level, man as a spiritual animal, the appreciation of the ineffable or indeterminate.
Psyche Level 4
A super-wisdom transcending even the most holy and pure. This is something like the state of satori that the Zen monks talk about. It can also be seen in higher states of consciousness by Indian yogis accessed via yoga and whatnot. This may refer to what Nietzsche was talking about when he discussed the Ubermensch, the man who has transcended all base and earthly passions and has risen above it all.
I am thinking that most people in the West never reach Psyche Level 4 in their lives.
Now we will look at the same structure as it refers to love:
Four Levels of Love
Love Level 1
Sexual love. Pure sex and animalism, sex without love, a biological and primitive yet enjoyable act.
Love Level 2
Romantic love. A step above pure sexual love in that it rises above to the level of romance and passion to where one actually feels an almost religious-like devotion to the other person. However, this is still considered to be “tainted” somewhat by base and primitive passion, as there is usually still quite a bit of animalistic sexual passion here.
Love Level 3
Spiritual love. Here we see love at one of its highest levels – the love of God or the spiritual realm. This rises above even romantic love; it is more all-encompassing, and it is not even grounded on the Earth or in one other person as romantic love is. It can extend to the love of many or all and to love beyond the simple Earthly plane.
Love Level 4
Love raised to its highest level, even beyond spiritual love. Here we are dealing with a type of “Love” or “Passion” that may better be termed something like “Wisdom” that transcends even the most holy and pure spiritual love. In this sense, “wisdom” is the ultimate form of love or passion.
As with Psyche Level 4, I believe that most people in the West never reach Love Level 4 in their lives.