Humans have always sought to identify the primary elements of existence. Across cultural traditions the details vary but the pattern remains the same. At the macro level, what is life on earth made of?
eleMental is an exploration into the fundamental elements of existence – and in particular into harnessing said elements – from the perspective of a modern traveler, engineer, and mountain-sport warrior. elemental eb – that’s me! So what’s my take on the elements?:
earth the chalise for it all
- form, structure, mountains, roads, trails, rocks, sand, dirt
- hike, climb, build, create
wind the breath of life
- flow, blow, breeze, breath
- fly, sail,
fire the energy of combustion
- power, heat, flame, light
- travel, throttle, electricity
water the blood of the earth
- liquid, hydraulic, flow, current, rapid, river, lake, ocean
- kayak, surf, boat
ice liquid water frozen in to complex structure
- flake, crystal, icicle, snow
- ski, climb, slide, skate
space a culturally neutral word for mind and the energy of life
- prana, chi, spirit, universal energy
- meditation, thought, inspiration, travel, culture, humanity, science
Conventional enough. Earth and wind seem to explain themselves. Earth is the form for all of the physical world. Wind is the mixture of gasses that makes up the atmosphere, brought to life by the currents of rotation, heat and moisture to create what is referred to as weather.
Ice was split out from water mostly because it fulfills my personal needs – much of my life has been defined by snow activity; ie various forms of skiing; so it will certainly be a common topic. But the complexities of water in its frozen crystalline forms are sufficiently unique to deserve attention of their own.
Space is a word selected to avoid the dogmatic prejudice associated with various translations of the concept of subtle energy – it refers to the energy of life. Science has come to identify matter as consisting of elementary particles held in a particular orbit within their space, and given form through the energy of their alignment. Other traditions have long acknowledged the connection between matter and energy. The Chinese and Japanese philosophies often label the subtle energy as Chi. Indian and ayurvedic traditions refer to this as Prana. Western esoteric traditions call this Spirit, while the front-lines of Science continue to wrestle with the distinction between matter and energy through Quantum Mechanics.
But what about Fire? From the perspective of harnessing the elements to be an elemental warrior, what part does Fire play? I could spin Poi and call it the dance of fire, but is that really the way that the element of fire affects my existence? On a more practical level, fire is the energy of combustion that has been harnessed in to power and locomotion. I pour gasoline in my car and combust it to propel myself across the continent with ease. I purchase a ticket on an airplane, which funds the fuel and the aircraft with which to propel through ‘wind’ to arrive at destinations around the globe. From our current perspective within the 21st century, these processes can be completely taken for granted. But harnessing fire in to the power of combustion lies at the heart of our modern lifestyle.
earth, wind, fire, water, ice. elemental is an exploration into harnessing these basic elements together with the power of mind or ‘space’ to depict a wild ride through an exotic contemporary global landscape. Enjoy!