The first of these schools is predicated on the subjugation of the material and demonstrating its unworthy crassness. This includes any improper propensities one might possess, such as overindulging in eating and other physical delights in common with animals. When a human conducts himself like an animal, he debases himself even more than a brute creature. For lacking the power of reason, an animal is unable to desire anything loftier than its own physical gratification. A human, however, is endowed with intelligence enabling him to aspire to something higher, to moral virtue, to intellectual values. When he prefers physical pleasures he is more degenerate than an animal. This school, which rejects the material by depicting the baseness of physical pleasures and passions, and by describing their dire consequences, is the school of Musar.

The second school stresses the qualities of the spiritual, of morality and intellect. It teaches the means of attaining these higher goals, exalting them as the basis of perfection and the aim of Creation, making this world a fitting fulfillment of His desire for an abode in the lower 1 worlds. This is the school of Chakira, religious philosophy.

The highest school expounds the superiority of form over matter. It emphasizes the value of purified matter (physical matter that is consecrated to a higher, spiritual purpose, and that thus ceases to be merely physical); and of form when embodied in matter (the spiritual that influences and elevates physical matter, and itself is no longer merely ethereal), in an inseparable and harmonious union. In this union there is no beginning or ending, no superior or inferior; each is essential to the other; each is implanted within the other. One G‑d created them both for the identical purpose of revealing His Holy Light, and only in perfect unity do they achieve the perfection He desired. This is the approach of Chasidus.