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semi-scientific explanation for 5 elements?

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posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 02:32 AM
many ancient cultures thought that the world was composed of five elements: usually fire, water, earth, wind and a fifth which in some is ether, others is "the void" (japan), and still others have what I would consider possible corruptions of these (where one or more "element" is "wrong")

on top of this, some cultures (eg ancient indian) supposedly also had some simple "atomic" theory of matter as well (however wrong/distorted/partially wrong it may have been)

what if we (and they) are confused, not understanding the original true purpose of this knowledge:

what if the real "translation" of the original knowledge these are based on was something like:

all matter is made of atoms (insert possible further depth to this knowledge, eg subatomic particles, chemistry etc here) and all matter is in one of 4 forms solid, liquid, gas or plasma, and the void/zero point fluctuations in between and all around.

and whoever heard this didnt understand so was given EXAMPLES of the four states, ie earth, water, wind and fire*, plus another (ether) and was confused into thinking that everything was MADE of these things, not that these were just examples of the states everything was in...

*plasma would be called fire/flame by someone who didnt know what plasma was, and flame does have some plasma in it

so what is ethe supposed to representr? higgs boson flux? zero point fluctuations? empty space? I dunno
any suggestions?

notice that contrary to what I had thought previously when I heard of cultures that believed in 5 elements, it does not prove they were always wrong, instead there is the (slight) possibility that they once had an understanding compatible with our own which was simply corrupted through time...

(yes this is a follow on from the ancient Indian civilization thread, but I felt this idea deserved discussion separately, especially since MANY seemingly unrelated cultures had this 5 elements thing, not just ancient India


[edit on 27-9-2007 by diablomonic]

posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 02:55 AM
Well if ether is responsible for the propagation of light, electromagnetism, gravity and the collapse of the wave function then perhaps that is the 5th state of reality. One way of looking at it could be the constant flow of unknown particles which occupy all of observable reality.

posted on Oct, 4 2007 @ 11:49 PM
I will be interested to see if any future GUT contains something we can approximate to ether. (I know there are some theories now for gravity that could fit, perhaps..

anyway, is this really that uninteresting that it gets only one reply? the thought that maybe, they were RIGHT (even if the version we get is the dumbed down misunderstood version?) seems amazing to me...

posted on Oct, 5 2007 @ 05:19 PM

Originally posted by diablomonic

so what is ethe supposed to representr?

Dark matter maybe? (note, when at a loss for what to say in any situation try "dark matter", it actually works sometimes...)

posted on Oct, 5 2007 @ 11:26 PM
reply to post by Tryptich

hehe, isnt that the standard way to "explain" any cosmological problems these days?

posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 12:52 PM
I've read a "theory" that I believe was used more of as a metaphor that equated each of the four (or five) elements of ancient Greece with one of the fundamental particles. I can't recall the exact ones that were used, but it had quarks and photons I know.

posted on Oct, 8 2007 @ 07:30 AM
I believe the ether is essentially an ocean of consciousness where we all exist. I could call this the fifth element, but it doesn't seem to have much in common with earth, wind, fire, water. Grouping consciousness into things as mundane as the four elements seems an affront to consciousness itself.

posted on Oct, 9 2007 @ 12:47 AM
reply to post by diablomonic

This is my first post ATS and I made the post because i want to see people talk about this more. You even inspired my name(with our powers combined….Captain Planet!). I think you got the idea here in the "Proof: Advanced Ancient Indian Civilization existed" thread:

Originally posted by Indigo_Child
And yes, these texts do have an understanding of chemicals and atomic elements.

According to Indian texts there were five main elements, fire, earth, water, air and ether. All elements, except ether, were believed to be physical and could be subdivided into miniscule particles until the last particle, that could not divided any further. This was called the Paramanu, or the atom.

Kanada, an ancient Indian scientist, who lived in 600 BC(2600 years ago) first put forward a systematic atomic theory, that was known as Vaisheshika-Sutra (Peculiarity Aphorism). He himself was influenced by the ancient texts. Kanada postulated that all substances were composed of unique parmanus's and had their own properties.

I think your right on the money. They were arguing throughout that whole thread because they couldn't come to terms on the fact that some of the stuff could be true while some of it was overly interpreted like you said. I think your idea makes perfect sense in the context of what he is describing.

I'm not a scientist but i play a lot of videogames and can offer something that might at least be relevant. Reading that other thread and your idea, i can't help but think of the Final Fantasy series. I'm pretty convinced now it is supposed to loosely depict this lost world. They deal with airships, and pseudo modern worlds using "ether" or sometimes "mako" energy. I know it's just a stupid game but i think whoever comes up with the themes might know a thing or two about these old texts. At least more than us right? They depict the elements through magic in the game. There have been about 12 games so far, and the most consistent thing throughout all the games is the elemental themes and ether/mana/mako. Ether is usually the source of power that functionalizes the elements. Or the end result of their being manufactured. Some kind of energy.

Maybe ether was nuclear waste or material. You can't break it down like the other elements and that’s why we don't know what to do with it, right? I also saw a post in the other topic about an ancient natural nuclear reactor they found in Africa that’s been well documented. Well, what if these natural reactors used to be common and some ancient civilization exploited them until they were useless and then they could no longer sustain their technology? Like the evil Shinra Electrical Corporation in FF7. Maybe FF7 wasn't a metaphor on the modern oil crisis. Maybe it was about the ancient mako/ether/uranium crisis.

So did any of that make sense or am i just playing too many video games. I don't mean to stupefy your topic but no one seems to care about it anyway and i think it is plausible that the Asians that made those games are more familiar with these stories than us and might be trying to present us with the viewpoint we need to understand them. At least a metaphoric interpretation from someone who has spent a lot of time with them. I don't know. I'm just throwing it out there.

posted on Oct, 9 2007 @ 10:31 AM
reply to post by captainplanet

thanks for the enthusiastic response.
As hinted at by another poster (talking about lumping conciousness in with the other 4 states of matter/elements), the thing that confuses me about the ether one is that I feel it should fit, ie be a similar thing to the others: ie, if the others reallly are EXAMPLES of 4 states of matter, then shouldnt ether be an example of another (unknown) state? Allthough I could accept "4 states plus the cosmic soup they exist IN as a plausable answer, perhaps they knew more about this soup than we do,

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 11:44 PM
I just watched "The Fifth Element", and I know I sound like a total flake, but maybe the movie is correct and the fifth element is love. By this I mean that the fifth element is the intangible and the abstract, a dynamic of existence almost everyone admits exists but that is separate from matter and energy. The ineffable.

posted on Oct, 16 2007 @ 05:46 AM
I started thinking about this again and looked into it a little. I found a decent amount of stuff about it on Wikipedia. You might want to read some of it:

Wikipedia look up: Aether_(classical_element) - General run down of the different concepts about ether

Wikipedia look up: Classical_element - This one talks more about the subject as a whole, with a lot more specific cultural views on the subject. It starts of with this general statement:

Many ancient philosophies used a set of archetypal classical elements to explain patterns in nature. These naturally-occurring fundamentals are actually more accurate in being classical states of matter than "elements" as they are defined in modern science. Most notably the four Greek classical elements Earth, Water, Air, and Fire correspond approximately with the four states-of-matter, Solid, Liquid, Gas, and Plasma. The fifth Greek classical element "Idea" ("quintessence" in Latin; "Aether" in Hindu theory; "Void" in Japanese theory) corresponds approximately with the non-matter (non-material world) of cyberspace, mathematics, algorithms, and computer programs that run in analog as well as digital computers, regardless of whether their material embodiment is mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, optical, electric, or otherwise[1], i.e. a computer program is made of the fifth state-of-matter even if the computer itself is made of solid matter ("Earth"). In the Plato/Aristotle sense, the mind is made of Idea (non-matter), whereas the brain in which the mind "runs" is part of the material world (matter).

It denies ether as a state of matter by calling it separate from matter all together. It considers ether to be the enabling system within and around matter, non material, but just as real as matter..

From the same article, relating more to the Hindu idea:

Classical elements in Hinduism

Main article: Tattva
The Pancha Mahabhuta, or "five great elements", of Hinduism are Prithvi or Bhumi (Earth), Ap or Jala (Water), Agni or Tejas (Fire), Vayu or Pavan (Air or Wind), and Akasha (Aether). Hindus believe that God used Akasha to create the other four traditional elements, and that in it the Akashic records, the knowledge of all human experience, are imprinted.

God using ether to create the other elements goes along with the idea of ether enabling matter by saying ether creates matter. The Akashic records are a concept from a more modern movement called Theosophy. Wikipedia claims Theosophy attempted to combine religious truths and weed out societal B.S. The Akashic records concept is only Hindu in name and in borrowed concepts. It is a “new age” thing. It s described, in short, as this in wiki:

The Akashic records (Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term from Theosophy denoting a collection of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. The Records are supposed to contain all knowledge, including all human experience, held in the Universe. The Akashic Records are metaphorically described as a library and are also likened to a universal computer or the 'Mind of God'. The records are supposed to be constantly updated. The concept originated in the Theosophical movements of the 19th Century, and remains prevalent in New Age discourse.

A theosophical term referring to a universal filing system which records every occurring thought, word, and action. The records are impressed on a subtle substance called akasha (or Soniferous Ether). In Hindu mysticism this akasha is thought to be the primary principle of nature from which the other four natural principles, fire, air, earth, and water, are created.

I don’t know anything about Theosophy beyond the little read I there:
Wikipedia look up: Theosophy
But they seem to be right minded, and must at least be knowledgeable on spirituality if they are trying to combine various religious view points.

posted on Oct, 16 2007 @ 05:47 AM
Back to ether, everything I’ve read about it talks about how it directly connects with the formation and function of matter. And these Akashic records describe ether as soniferous. Soniferous implies it acts like sound. Sounds is represented in waves. Religious, spiritual, and scientific concepts like chi, auras, and radiation are all wave like, they are energy.

electrons can be represented by wavefunctions

Electrons are sub atomic particles that make up the atoms that make up matter in all it’s states. Just like ether. I heard a pretty interesting theory in some google or you tube video, I could probably find it if someone wanted me to. It said that electrons are all identical. That the only difference in the atoms they produce is the way that they are set up, and that if you could somehow completely map the arrangements of all the electrons in something, you could make a perfect clone of it using only the formulation for electrons. The trouble is, electrons are very small and hard to study and predict, much like ether. Maybe the ancients were onto, or into, some kind of wave functions science, possibly due to a drastically different way of thinking than our own. They at least somewhat understood wave functions and how they relate to the creation, manipulation, and connection of all matter and life.
In modern science, electrons make up atoms, or “create the elements”. Electrons are also involved in the of conduction of electricity. Ancient civs could have had that on some level too. Just google ancient batteries and spark plugs.
Maybe some ice age climate shift or Atlantian natural disaster whipped out the people that knew science long ago. Maybe they used up their resources and had to move on in a different direction, and their technology was lost and religiousized because they lost the means to use it. Maybe some barbaric civilization/s took them over and their mechanisms have been used for scrap over the years because no one knew what they were. Or maybe evidence is buried deeper because it’s older than we think(like the stuff found in solid rocks), or maybe it’s underwater, or built over. Or maybe information about ancient civs is squashed as part of a greater agenda by religious powers to not loose faith. Or Maybe I’m digressing

In conclusion:
The five states of matter: Earth(solid), Fire(plasma), Water(liquid), Air(gas), Ether(radiation). They understood, to the extent of which I don‘t know, quantum mechanics in Ancient India.

Quantum Mechanics - Wikipedia
In physics, quantum mechanics is the study of the relationship between energy quanta (radiation) and matter, in particular that between valence shell electrons and photons. Quantum mechanics is a fundamental branch of physics with wide applications in both experimental and theoretical physics. The effects of quantum mechanics are typically not observable on macroscopic scales, but become evident at the atomic and subatomic level. Quantum theory generalizes all classical theories, including mechanics and electromagnetism (except general relativity), and provides accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena such as black body radiation and stable electron orbits.

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