Log24

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday June 25, 2008

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 7:20 PM
The Cycle of
the Elements

John Baez, Week 266
(June 20, 2008):

“The Renaissance thinkers liked to
organize the four elements using
a chain of analogies running
from light to heavy:

fire : air :: air : water :: water : earth

They also organized them
in a diamond, like this:”

Diamond of the four ancient elements, figure by John Baez

This figure of Baez
is related to a saying
attributed to Heraclitus:

Diamond  showing transformation of the four ancient elements

For related thoughts by Jung,
see Aion, which contains the
following diagram:

Jung's four-diamond figure showing transformations of the self as Imago Dei

“The formula reproduces exactly the essential features of the symbolic process of transformation. It shows the rotation of the mandala, the antithetical play of complementary (or compensatory) processes, then the apocatastasis, i.e., the restoration of an original state of wholeness, which the alchemists expressed through the symbol of the uroboros, and finally the formula repeats the ancient alchemical tetrameria, which is implicit in the fourfold structure of unity.”

— Carl Gustav Jung

That the words Maximus of Tyre (second century A.D.) attributed to Heraclitus imply a cycle of the elements (analogous to the rotation in Jung’s diagram) is not a new concept. For further details, see “The Rotation of the Elements,” a 1995 webpage by one  “John Opsopaus.”

Related material:

Log24 entries of June 9, 2008, and

Quintessence: A Glass Bead Game,”
by Charles Cameron.

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