Elemental Understanding

The idea that the world is made of four primal elements is shared by many ancient cultures and philosophies including Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, and Greek. The 2010 film Airbender, based on a popular animated TV series, is worth examining in this new light. In the story, humanity “is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads, …

Howard Esbin, PhDElemental Understanding

Elemental Imagination

The poet Octavio Paz described the world as “A conspiration of elements all moved by universal sympathy.” Gaston Bachelard, the French philosopher, believed our archetypal affinity with the four elements is revealed as a form of poetic truth. T.S. Eliot’s classic the Four Quartets is one example. “This adoptation of the ‘elements’ is archetypal, a product of what Jung called ‘the …

Howard Esbin, PhDElemental Imagination