“The elementary qualities are four, and any four terms can be combined in six couples. Contraries, however, refuse to be coupled: for it is impossible for the same thing to be hot and cold, or moist and dry. Hence it is evident that the ‘couplings’ of the elementary qualities will be four: hot with dry and moist with hot, and again cold with dry and cold with moist. And these four couples have attached themselves to the apparently ‘simple’ bodies (Fire, Air, Water, and Earth) in a manner consonant with theory.” – Aristotle¹
It’s amazing how universal some concepts are. Cultures all around the world have separately developed music and dance, religion and deities, an understanding of minerals and the elements.
The four elements of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire have been a documented part of Western civilization since 350 BC. Ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Buddhists recognized them as well. Native Americans use them. Many of these cultures added fifth elements – variously the sky, void, metal, spirit or soul.
But the four central elements have been a constant. They have beauty we can see and touch. This week’s Travel Theme challenge is to show them in photos. I chose these photos from our trip to Hawaii:
Earth: An open field at Kualoa Ranch (where Jurassic Park was filmed) on the island of Oahu.
Air/Wind: Sailing on air currents over the Pacific Ocean
Water: The surf on Oahu’s North Shore
Fire: Glowing steam from Kilauea’s Halemaumau Crater
Nature is amazing-changing all the time, but defined by four constant elements for millennia.
¹ from On Generation and Corruption by Aristotle, written 350 B.C.E., Translated by H. H. Joachim