the finest mofo this side of the west side (vicariance) wrote,
the finest mofo this side of the west side

The Ancient Elements


These are the four elements as understood by the Ancient Greeks. Modern chemistry would assert that the true elements are much tinier and sorted in a much more complex way. But the ancient elements have profound symbolic meaning. Phases of matter, seasons, celestial phenomena. Every system can be simplified as the manifestation of an element or the interaction of elements.

Energy can be potential or kinetic. The heavier something is, the more potential it has to release energy. Releasing this energy kinetically involves moving faster, and when something moves fast enough, it changes state, changes the way it can be perceived, and changes the way it affects everything else.

The first element, and the first state of matter, the slowest, the one with the most potential, is EARTH.

EARTH is heavy and still. It has the most gravity, and the most strength. It sits beneath all other things, enduring.

In the beginning, the world was all EARTH, for an endless period. Then, finally, the EARTH needed to become something else. Its energy bursted forth from it, up.

WATER became and moved freely above the EARTH. The EARTH below guided it and carried it, and the WATER learned how to release earth's energy.

There are many depictions of EARTH as green and lush. And sometimes EARTH is omitted entirely as an element, in favor of LIFE.

But LIFE could not exist until WATER taught EARTH flow. Once flow was learned, LIFE bloomed. LIFE is the product of the dance between WATER and EARTH.

Having tasted the glory of that dance, WATER yearned to move even faster. To reach out into the sky, and leave the EARTH behind. AIR became, and it was much faster than WATER. It still had substance, but it was more energy than potential. WATER fed AIR its energy, and created wind, and wind returned AIR's energy to the WATER and created waves and then storms.

The storms taught AIR that it could be even more purely energetic, AIR stormed and swirled, harder and harder, and eventually released FIRE, which was pure energy, without any substance.

FIRE rose above AIR, but it also felt connected to all beneath it.

So sometimes FIRE would travel through the AIR as lightning and would return its energy all the way down to the earth.

FIRE was pure energy, but it realized that it too had some memory of substance, something like containment, some kind of slowness. FIRE knew that it could be even faster, could reach all places without limit. And so around the edges of FIRE came LIGHT, and LIGHT moved without even the memory of substance, as fast as anything can, and it reached out to everywhere, filling everywhere in the world with its brilliance.

And finally, LIGHT gave birth to TIME, and the world was filled with motion, and energy, LIFE and magnificence.
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