Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Fifth Element

Ancient philosophers banged their heads together to come up with the ESSENTIAL elements that the universe is made up of. One thought everything boiled down to water. Water is most of the earth and makes up most of us. Another believed it was dirt, or earth. After all we return to the dirt after we die so earth must be one of the basic elements. Then there were the fire starters who believed that everything burned and that energy of fire was a core element in our makeup, once we lost our fire we were gone. Then, of course, there was the Wind faction. That invisible force that influenced everything and everyone. These four elements were fought over to the point that ALL of them came to be known as the Four Essential Elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.

The question then became: "How do these four elements interact with each other?" Water breaks down earth, earth blocks wind, wind enhances fire, fire boils water, water feeds earth, earth funnels wind, wind blows out fire, fire it put out by water, etc. So began the search for the Fifth Element. The Fifth Essential (quintessential) element that explained everything. That perfect answer to the questions of elemental interaction.

Socrates tackled this problem calling the quintessential element "ether" and described it as the "pure essence where the gods lived and which they breathed" The ether had no measurable qualities (hot, cold, wet, dry, etc) but you could observe its influence on planet systems and in the lives of people. Later science disproved the ether theories in favor of gravity and the atomic.


We have lost that sense of the Fifth or Quintessential Element but we still struggle to define it. Now we seek to bring together the two essential theories in Physics: Newtonian Physics based on normal gravitational influences and Quantum Physics based on EXTREME gravitational influences like black holes and bent space. So now with two contradictory theories to explain observable interactions we are left looking for the ether again. This time it is called the "Theory of Everything" which will combine quantum mechanics with general relativity. Hawking's new book "The Grand Design" attempts to solve this with his version of ether called the "Multiverse" after his failed attempt to explain it in his earlier book on string theory.
I tend to fall back on one the best philosophical minds of the first century AD. Who referred back to those Greek philosophers when he described God as not living in temples built by hands and not needing anything from us because God gives all life and breath to men. He is never far from us and if we reach into the ether we can find him for "In HIM we live and move and have our being" or God IS the ether you are looking for. That essential element that resolves and controls all the elements.

God himself is the quintessential Fifth Element.

2 comments:

Ron Krumpos said...

In "The Grand Design" Hawking says that we are somewhat like goldfish in a curved fishbowl. Our perceptions are limited and warped by the kind of lenses we see through, “the interpretive structure of our human brains.” Albert Einstein rejected this subjective approach, common to much of quantum mechanics, but did admit that our view of reality is distorted.

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity has the surprising consequences that “the same event, when viewed from inertial systems in motion with respect to each other, will seem to occur at different times, bodies will measure out at different lengths, and clocks will run at different speeds.” Light does travel in a curve, due to the gravity of matter, thereby distorting views from each perspective in this Universe. Similarly, mystics’ experience in divine oneness, which might be considered the same eternal event, viewed from various historical, cultural and personal perspectives, have occurred with different frequencies, degrees of realization and durations. This might help to explain the diversity in the expressions or reports of that spiritual awareness. What is seen is the same; it is the seeing which differs.

In some sciences, all existence is described as matter or energy. In some of mysticism, only consciousness exists. Dark matter is 25%, and dark energy about 70%, of the critical density of this Universe. Divine Essence, also not visible, emanates and sustains universal matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and cosmic consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). During suprarational consciousness, and beyond, mystics share in that essence to varying extents. [quoted from my e-book on comparative mysticism]

Bjorn said...

Hey Steve!

We love the Egyptian picture!! We are Bjorn and Emily from Dordt College PLIA team. We have been desperately trying to get a hold of you (and Frankie) to let you know we are still coming down and ask if you guys are ready for us for when we do. :/ Our spring break falls on March 10-21. We called your hot line and left a number and e-mailed you as well so if you could call or e-mail us back soon that would be great! We are coming down to the wire and would greatly appreciate your quick response. Thank you very much!

God Bless,
Bjorn and Emily

P.S. Sorry to bother you on your blog.