Four Life Elements In Nature
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The Constructive Intelligence of nature operates through agents, or Life Elements.
There are at least four Life Elements which have power over matter.
THE CONNECTING LINKS OF THE FOUR KINGDOMS.
1. Electro-Magnetism Mineral.
These Life Elements collect and integrate suitable combinations of matter and cause various entities to exist, to grow and to develop. One or more of these vital Elements magnetizes, vivifies, vitalizes or animates all physical matter, including the mineral atom, the plant, animal and human bodies, unless they have become devitalized or dead through a destructive process.
The temporary correspondences established between these four Life Elements and various combinations of material substances, produce all the phenomena which we call magnetism, potency, life, intelligence, desire, love, etc. As for instance :
A steel magnet exhibits a certain quality of vitality called magnetism. Another quality of vitality is found in plant life, another quality in animal life and still another in man. Any mineral substance may be devitalized by extracting the Electro-Magnetism. Corks are provided for all bottles of medicine to retain their potencies. All plant and animal life is conditioned upon protection and sustentation of the Life Elements. In fact, in each kingdom of nature the withdrawal of the Life Elements produces the same result, namely, devitalization or death.
All the elements of the mineral kingdom are charged with either positive or negative Electro-Magnetism unless they have passed through some destructive process which has for a time demagnetized them. According to the principle of the transmutation of matter,—or as it is generally called, the law of the conservation of matter,—nothing can be destroyed. Therefore, if devitalized chemical elements are restored to a normal environment, the universal Electro-Magnetic Element will find them and again charge or magnetize them.
As for example, cut down a "live" tree and burn the trunk, roots, branches and leaves. That particular tree has forever lost its individual identity. From the ashes, potash-salts can be obtained by chemical processes and become of great value. For if the ashes are simply strewn upon the soil they impart an element of value which has its effect upon future crops. Nature will revitalize the ashes and produce other organisms from the simple elements restored by fire to her unorganized stock of materials. The farmer is simply a transportation agent, though much depends upon his intelligence as to the quality of results.
When this Electro-Magnetic Element is sufficiently individualized in a material body which has become in itself an independent magnet, it is easier to examine its qualities. For instance, our earth is a magnet. It possesses a true individuality as a magnetic body. Its negative pole lies to the North, though it does not coincide with the geographic North Pole. Its positive pole lies to the South where there is a corresponding variation from the geographic pole.
Thus the earth possesses what is called Terrestrial Magnetism. This can be tested by any person who has a magnetic needle at any time and in any place. The magnetic needle is any small magnetized iron or steel rod turning upon a pivot, such as the needle of the mariner's compass. The North-seeking end of a magnet is called its positive pole; the other is called its negative pole. It is found that like poles of two magnets repel and unlike poles attract each other.
The lines of force of Terrestrial Magnetism point down-wards and northwards in the northern hemisphere : upwards and northwards in the southern hemisphere. So, while the positive end of the magnetic needle will always be inclined to point north, at the true negative pole of the earth the inclination, or dip, of the needle is 900: any person standing at this theoretical point could go no further north for if he moved a step in any direction it must be toward the south.
At the southern magnetic pole, the positive pole of the magnetic needle would point straight up while its negative pole would dip 90°. Thus the needle used at any point on its surface indicates that the earth possesses and constantly exerts a magnetic force. The intensity of its magnetization is not equal throughout. The magnetic effect of the sun upon the earth is in the highest degree obscure; and the magnetic effect of the "fixed stars" is only dimly sensed.
If a magnet is broken into halves, each half is found to be a complete magnet with a north and south pole ; and this is true, no matter how often the process of division is repeated. It is thought that the magnetic polarity belongs to each molecule of the magnet throughout and the maxi-mum attraction near the ends is only the resultant effect of all the individual forces of the molecules. For the time they are united, all the molecules contribute to a distinct individuality possessed by the magnet as a whole.
THE UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE OF POLARITY.
Nature's formula for the entire evolutionary process is but an amplification of one principle, though on ascending planes of life, and through the continual introduction of additional installments of the Four Life Elements. This formula is as follows :
"THERE IS A PRINCIPLE IN NATURE WHICH IMPELS EVERY ENTITY TO SEEK VIBRATORY CORRESPONDENCE. WITH ANOTHER LIKE ENTITY OF OPPOSITE POLARITY."
Each of the Life Elements is dual in its nature. Therefore, as a result, everything from the chemical atom to the intelligent soul of man is charged with either positive or receptive energy and is governed by the law of attraction, or the principle of sex. The negative and positive polar attraction inheres in the vital elements.
Every particle of cosmic substance is charged with either positive or negative Electro-Magnetism. The negative and positive atoms cohere and the larger the aggregation, the greater is the force exerted, unless man alters nature's rule with his Science. Whether the force of the entity is positive or negative depends upon the other entity with which it is related. There is a distinct individuality conferred upon each aggregation of molecules which is not possessed by a lesser number, such as size, weight, attraction, repulsion, etc. If the aggregation is large enough it may possess an individual atmosphere. The earth is large enough; the moon is not.
Magnetism is considered as one mode of action of the totality of Energy which pervades the universe. This Electro-Magnetic Element possesses the powers of union, cohesion and aggregation. Energy is either generated or manifested through the impelling of each molecule of matter to seek vibratory correspondence with another like entity of opposite polarity.
Just how this magnetic principle of polarity, or attraction and repulsion, becomes amplified and differentiated into chemical affinity is beyond our finite powers of comprehension. But it is a wonderful help to be able to note what nature has accomplished through these agents, the Life Elements, simply through a regular process of gradually introducing them into organisms and thus producing a constantly increasing ratio of intelligence. The facts are in us and all around us, results actually attained by this natural process.
Electro-Magnetism begins the work of collecting, uniting and integrating elements in various combinations. If this were the limit of nature's forces, a partially organized mineral world would be the final result. But soon a higher degree of power is manifested and all the varied and wonderful phenomena of chemical affinity are accomplished, accompanied by a constantly increasing ratio of intelligence.
When the required chemical combination is attained, another element is inducted, the Vital Element. This subject will be more amply discussed in chapter VII and it is sufficient for the present purpose to quote from Dr. Oscar Hertwig's valuable work, The Cell:
"Protoplasm cannot be placed under different conditions without ceasing to be protoplasm, for its essential proper-ties, in which its life manifests itself, depend upon a fixed organization."
After this fixed organization with its consequent capacity to serve as a medium for the Vito-Chemical Element, is attained, then modifications of structure and increased manifestations of intelligence proceed more rapidly.
2. THE VITO-CHEMICAL LIFE ELEMENT.
In the vegetable kingdom, the constructive, integrating and organizing Intelligence operates through two Life Elements instead of one as in the mineral kingdom. That is, it operates through both the Electro-Magnetic and the Vito-Chemical Life Elements. Of these two, the Vito-Chemical is the dominant one in the vegetable organic process. It controls that function of nature known as the organic process in vegetation as this process is distinguished
Four Life Elements in Nature 143 from that of simple aggregation and inorganic integration in the mineral kingdom.
Thus, the Constructive Intelligence operates in the vegetable kingdom through a second Life Element which possesses the powers of organization and growth in addition to the powers of the Electro-Magnetic Element. This second Element seems to be in itself a linking of two powers, for the Chemistry of nature is assisted by a Vitalizing Element of greater and more rapid organizing ability. This Element of superior Life in a vegetable is clearly seen. It is not mere chemical affinity which unites two or more molecules of material substance. It is manifested in a new growth by a combination of ponderable substances drawn from earth, air and water.
Alexander von Humboldt reported his observation of the operation of this process as follows :
"Plants are incessantly engaged in disposing into order towards subsequent organization the raw materials of which the earth is composed; it is their office, by their vital forces and powers, to prepare those substances which, after undergoing a thousand modifications, are gradually converted to nobler purposes in the formation of nervous tissues. In directing our consideration towards the various families of plants, we shall at the same time glance at the multitude of animated beings to which they afford nutriment and protection. . . . If new lands are formed, the organic forces are ever ready to cover the naked rock with life. . . . As mankind, in forming settled communities, pass through different stages of civilization, so is the gradual propagation and extension of plants connected with determinate physical laws. Lichens form the first covering of the naked rock, where afterward lofty forest trees rear their airy summits. The successive growth of mosses, grasses, herbaceous plants, and shrubs or bushes, occupies the intervening period of long but undetermined duration."
—Physiognomy of Plants.
3. THE SPIRITUAL LIFE ELEMENT.
In the animal kingdom there is manifested a third and higher Life Element through which the Constructive Principle operates. This third agent is the Spiritual Life Element of nature. It is the dominant factor in animal life.; it is something above the power of material integration; it does more than produce structural growth and the functions of physical organs.
The Spiritual Life Element is that agent of the Constructive Intelligence which differentiates an animal from a vegetable. It not only constructs physical organs from chemical materials but it manifests through these physical organs another plane of life in psychical capacities. It lifts the animal by gradual increase of structure, function and capacity far above the vegetable structure, function and capacity. Its presence is indicated by those added characteristics which so clearly manifest themselves in the faculty or capacity of consciousness and in the powers of voluntary action and locomotion.
The induction of this Spiritual Life Element is very gradual. Hardly any degree of this third Element is manifested in the lower animals and it is difficult to distinguish where the beginnings of the Spiritual Life are inducted. It is impossible to distinguish the transition from mere physical life to a psychic capacity. Nevertheless, we know that a change has gradually taken place and a new Element has become manifested in physical forms. When the higher degrees have been reached, it becomes perfectly apparent, as for instance, when we see "a spirited horse" or "an intelligent dog." We are perfectly sure that here there is an additional capacity and power which is not witnessed in the vegetable kingdom.
4. THE SOUL LIFE ELEMENT.
In the kingdom of man we note the Constructive Principle of nature operating through four Life Elements in harmony. Of these four, the Soul Element is the dominant one in the human organism and gives to man such added characteristics as self-consciousness, will, reason, independent choice, conscience, faith, hope and love. Through this Life Element, man has the power of speech, of expression of his inner psychic nature, of free communication with his fellows. Through this Element he has power of rapid, intelligent, independent progress. Through this Element man exhibits a vast range of moral capacities.
The importance of this Soul Element is above and beyond our own appreciation and to it are due all the potentialities which man possesses above the animal. If all literature is searched and all expressions of appreciation are gathered and united, the result would indicate only a partial comprehension of the vastness of present achievement and future possibilities, resulting from the harmonious coordination of the four Life Elements in a human organism.