The 5th Element

Do you remember that movie…The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis?  I loved that movie, and probably would still enjoy it.  Before I get all serious on you, let me first confess that when it comes to my taste in film, I generally feel like a 14yr old boy trapped in a 32yr old woman’s body!  I love the classic sci-fi, adventure type movies; which can feel rather embarrassing at times….

Anyhow, the real purpose of my blog today is to share a recent ‘ah-ha’ moment I had.  Yesterday I was eating my curds and whey, when along came an idea…  I was contemplating the four or five elements often referred to as either: earth, air, fire and water; or as earth, air, fire, water and ether/spirit.  You hear of 5 rhythms dance, or the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or the five spokes of the traditional medicine wheels of North American Indigenous people.  But then sometimes you only hear folks speak of the four elements in line with the four directions.  Now, I’m not trying to suggest that any of these perspectives are incorrect OR cancel out each other, as I am a firm believer in Both/And philosophy.  However, I was thinking about the 5 element philosophy and was specifically contemplating ether.  My train of thought went something like this: “but, if ether is spirit, (and many postulate that spirit is the one thing that lives in everything), how could one of the five elements be THE thing that lives in everything?…so what else could ether be?…what are elements anyhow?  Wind, water, earth, fire…they all seem more like forces at work in the world; elements conventionally represent more so the building blocks of earth, water, air and fire, as in the periodic table of elements… so the ‘elements’ maybe could instead be called forces….so what could the fifth force be?”  And then it hit me: Consciousness!!!  Now, this might not seem like a big deal to you, but it felt like a big deal to me.  I was all giddy and excited, like a 14yr old boy trapped in a 32yr old woman’s body about to watch X-Men for the enteenth time.

Of late, I have been oft wrestling with the concept of consciousness.  I’ve been stewing on one of the ideas I learned in my last university class, about how the level of consciousness experienced or measured is determined by the information processing capacity of the being (sentient or not) it is measured in.  Applied to us humans as an example, the coalesced experience of consciousness we have is the result of the information processing capacity of our neurological system, aka our brains and all its nerve endings through out our bodies.  For me, this suggests that like the other forces at play in the uni/multiverse, consciousness is just another ‘element’ or ‘force’ that expresses itself as it gathers.  And, if we take the physical law that applies to all other elements or atoms in the uni/multiverse (that nothing is ever destroyed, only ever changed or transformed) and apply it to consciousness, then it is conceivable that consciousness too is never destroyed, only ever changed or transformed…talk about past-life regression work!!!!! 🙂  Anyhow, this fits in well for me with the whole Five Elements perspective on life, but transplant “consciousness” in place of “ether” as the fifth element.

So, that was my thought the other day.  And if you have enjoyed reading about it, then I am thrilled!



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