10
Aug
09

Classical elements


Many philosophies and worldviews have used a set of archetypal classical elements, most developed sets of the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. There are several approaches (Ancient, Medieval, and Modern), the most frequently occurring theories of classical elements are held by the Ancient systems of thought. In use as an the explanation for patterns in nature, the word element refers to a substance that is either a chemical compound or a mixture of chemical compounds, rather than a chemical element of modern physical science.
The most frequently occurring theory of classical elements, held by the Hindu, Japanese, and Greek systems of thought, is that there are five elements, namely Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and a fifth element known variously as space, Idea, Void “quintessence” or Aether (the term “quintessence” derives from “quint” meaning “fifth”).
In Greek thought the philosopher Aristotle added aether as the quintessence, reasoning that whereas fire, earth, air, and water were earthly and corruptible, since no changes had been perceived in the heavenly regions, the stars cannot be made out of any of the four elements but must be made of a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.
The pancha mahabhuta, or “five great elements”, of Hinduism are [Shristi] or bhumi (earth), ap or jala (water), agni or tejas (fire), marut or pavan (air or wind), or akasha (aether). Hindus believe that God used akasha to create the other four traditional elements; each element is then used to create the next, each less subtle than the last. It is also a religious and spiritual belief by most people that the human body is made up of these five essential elements and according to Hinduism, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of nature, set in motion by the greater Lord God of this world.
Each of the five elements are inherently connected with one of the five senses, and acts as the gross medium for the experience of it; the basest element, earth, was created out of all more subtle elements, and is accessible to all the senses, including scent. The next higher element, water, has no smell (being more subtle than earth) but can be tasted. Next, fire cannot be tasted or smelled, but can be seen (and is associated with sight). Air can be heard or felt, and akasha, being space or ether, is the medium of sound but is inaccessible to all other senses.
In the Pali literature, the mahabhuta (“great elements”) or catudhatu (“four elements”) are earth, water, fire and air. In early Buddhism, the four elements are a basis for understanding suffering and for liberating oneself from suffering.
The Buddha’s teaching regarding the four elements is to be understood as the base of all observation of real sensations rather than as a philosophy. The four properties are cohesion (water), solidity or inertia (earth), expansion or vibration (air) and heat or calorific content (fire). He promulgated a categorization of mind and matter as composed of eight types of “kalapas” of which the four elements are primary and a secondary group of four are color, smell, taste, and nutriment which are derivative from the four primaries.

Many philosophies and worldviews have used a set of archetypal classical elements, most developed sets of the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. There are several approaches (Ancient, Medieval, and Modern), the most frequently occurring theories of classical elements are held by the Ancient systems of thought. In use as an the explanation for patterns in nature, the word element refers to a substance that is either a chemical compound or a mixture of chemical compounds, rather than a chemical element of modern physical science.

The most frequently occurring theory of classical elements, held by the Hindu, Japanese, and Greek systems of thought, is that there are five elements, namely Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and a fifth element known variously as space, Idea, Void “quintessence” or Aether (the term “quintessence” derives from “quint” meaning “fifth”).

In Greek thought the philosopher Aristotle added aether as the quintessence, reasoning that whereas fire, earth, air, and water were earthly and corruptible, since no changes had been perceived in the heavenly regions, the stars cannot be made out of any of the four elements but must be made of a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.

The pancha mahabhuta, or “five great elements”, of Hinduism are [Shristi] or bhumi (earth), ap or jala (water), agni or tejas (fire), marut or pavan (air or wind), or akasha (aether). Hindus believe that God used akasha to create the other four traditional elements; each element is then used to create the next, each less subtle than the last. It is also a religious and spiritual belief by most people that the human body is made up of these five essential elements and according to Hinduism, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of nature, set in motion by the greater Lord God of this world.

Each of the five elements are inherently connected with one of the five senses, and acts as the gross medium for the experience of it; the basest element, earth, was created out of all more subtle elements, and is accessible to all the senses, including scent. The next higher element, water, has no smell (being more subtle than earth) but can be tasted. Next, fire cannot be tasted or smelled, but can be seen (and is associated with sight). Air can be heard or felt, and akasha, being space or ether, is the medium of sound but is inaccessible to all other senses.

In the Pali literature, the mahabhuta (“great elements”) or catudhatu (“four elements”) are earth, water, fire and air. In early Buddhism, the four elements are a basis for understanding suffering and for liberating oneself from suffering.

The Buddha’s teaching regarding the four elements is to be understood as the base of all observation of real sensations rather than as a philosophy. The four properties are cohesion (water), solidity or inertia (earth), expansion or vibration (air) and heat or calorific content (fire). He promulgated a categorization of mind and matter as composed of eight types of “kalapas” of which the four elements are primary and a secondary group of four are color, smell, taste, and nutriment which are derivative from the four primaries.

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So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.

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