A mystical throwback* and a short essay update to modernize the ‘elementalism’. Thanks to the many sources and the one source.
(* The throwback is referring to a shared ‘Post from the Past’ which was presented on FB from 5 years ago today. That post is shared later on in this entry.)
The classical elements were concepts that helped our ancestors tap in to various ways of knowing – spiritual and ecological knowledge, as well as proto-scientific knowledge. Most folks reading this base their life, knowingly or not, on scientific ways of knowing. Science teaches us that ‘the elements’ are not simply Earth Wind Water Fire and Quintessence; there are chemical elements – unique atoms – and a whole weird world of particles and finer yet.
Are the ‘classical’ elements still useful, given our scientific progress?
Potentially, yes. For one, even in present times, shamans continue to do their timeless work with variations of the 5 classical elements as core tools. A basic way the classical elements are useful are as a lens for observing the world, to identify common patterns (i.e. seeing ‘common elements’ in the world) and to exchange lessons from different experiences in the world that correspond to those essential common elements. For examples of this, simply consider Earth Wind Water and Fire as essences of the obvious in your day to day.
This practice of using the elements as a lens is a rich mystical exercise which can be done using scientific ways of knowing. Take any well supported scientific theory and ‘test it’ by the obvious, checking your observations of the obvious mundane world by your concepts of the essential patterns of the world, and vice versa. For example, in everyday life – as your open doors, write, press keys, walk, move objects, be moved by objects – consider how a concept of physics applies to a moment you’re experiencing. Think of 3-5 or more forces that you’d include in a force diagram as you sit and sip coffee; think of some forces for a force diagram as you open and walk in a door out. Consider thermodynamics as your warm mug warms your hands, or as your warm feet become cold on the chilly floor. Feel and recognize nature’s forces; feel and recognize the essential elements of experience.
Simple exercises in observing the obvious can help us identify patterns, especially when testing well-founded concepts like the classical elements or well-supported premises of physics that apply to everyday life. By balancing chaotic observation with orderly reflection (…or vice versa) you can get much more out of your experiences. Mindfulness inherently has benefits, and harmonizing your mind with patterns in the world can empower your focus and processing, or inspire you to go deeper (e.g. as I think of that force diagram of me sitting, I realize each vertebrae has a unique set of forces on it…better take care of my posture!)
Ironically, practice in seeing separate essential elements, through harmonious and balanced practices, can actually help with seeing wholeness and interconnections.
‘All is information’
The throwback post from this day, 2012:
Elemental 101: The elemental fire kingdom is the most separated from humans in part due to the human abuse of the fire element. Most humans are over logical and seek to conceptually justify all things without regard for intuition and this signifies an imbalance of fire energy. Fire is also an element which allows us comfort which had also been greatly abused by modern humans and taken unnecessary precedence over other matters. Fire is often the least compassionate and least forgiving of the elements but when brought into balance with the other elements may be a most useful and powerful force, capable of empowering the will.