Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The five elements

A few weeks ago Tall One and I were having an interesting discussion about...I guess it must have been about teaching creationism in schools. Anyways, he made the comment "What are they going to do next? Maybe instead of teaching the periodic tables, they'll be teaching about the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water."

An awesome pentacle
I agreed that such a thing would be ridiculous, but observed that I do tend to think of the elements as being earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Tall One was surprised, so I pointed out something that seems rather obvious to me, but which I guess not everyone has thought of, which is that these five "elements" do correspond to nature:

Earth -- solids
Water -- liquids
Air -- gases
Fire -- it starts with a ph, but I can't remember what it's called!
Spirit -- what science can't (yet) detect

Of course these don't replace the periodic table, but I run with it because it's what (according to some, including myself) that five points of the pentacle represent, and it's just what makes sense to me. Also, I don't see one worldview as excluding the other. Rather, I think that the two ideas can coexist quite happily, one being the scientific way of looking at the world, the other being a spiritual way of looking at the world.

Do you think of the elements as being earth, air, fire, water, and spirit? Do you think of them as being some other combination? Or do you stick to the periodic table? I am curious to hear what others think. :)


Magaly Guerrero said...

I don't know about ridiculous... a century ago Witches were burned at the stake, today you have colleges teaching introduction to Witchcraft... times change.

Heck, Vanderbilt University is recognizing Pagan Holidays... that seems like a pretty cool step into soon learning about the elements ;-)

Sarita Rucker said...

Ok, so let me rephrase's not necessarily ridiculous for the five elements to be taught in schools, but it wouldn't be so great for them to be taught in science class in place of the periodic table. :)

Judy said...

If they are teaching creationism, they should teach the other religions also...including the pagan ones which would include the 5 elements of Nature...

Toriz said...

Maybe they could teach the elements alongside the periodic table? I mean, everyone has some kind of belief system, and I think it would be good to teach things that would be represented by the elements while also teaching the scientific stuff; combining the scientific with the non-scientific wouldn't be difficult when they have so many similarities.

Also, I think they should teach about all religeons at school. Over here they teach about most, but for some reason the main missing religeons are the Pagan ones; religeous studies should be a study of all religions, not just those they feel are "right" ones. I mean, when I was still in school they were teaching about Christianity and many others, and we had to do a project about the origin of Christmas. I failed because I mentioned it having Pagan roots, and the teacher told me that was rubbish and she didn't know where I was getting my facts, because she'd never heard such nonsense. I provided her with information on my sources, but still failed the course. I didn't care though (still don't). My point is, they should educate children on all religeons so they can make a properly informed decision on the path they feel is right for them in life.

Sarita Rucker said...

Of course, if they try to teach *all* religions they'll inevitably leave out some religions. There are just too many to even mention all of them! But they can at least talk about the religions that are historically significant, such as the Greek/Roman religions, since those cultures were so influential.

You had a teacher who failed you because you mentioned the Pagan roots of Christmas? Even when you showed her your sources? I just cannot believe some people.

Toriz said...

I wasn't thinking they'd do every single one, just the main ones; as in, mention Paganism, but don't necessarily go in to all the branches of it. That kind of thing.

Yes, seriously. She took a red marker pen and drew a huge "F" on my paper. I thought it was a great project, personally... I could still see back then, and I'd sat and patiently drawn various holiday symbols with detailed descriptions about their origins and current beliefs about them, but as soon as she realized I wasn't going down the "Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus" root that others were (and that she apparently wanted us all to) she gave me an F. Never mind, I wasn't bothered about passing thhat class anyway; I only took it because I had no choice. As soon as I had the oppertunity I dropped that class.