Thursday, April 26, 2012

4: Earth and Harmony

"Diamond in a Square" Quilt Top
via Cowan's
Let's continue on with the number series based on The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael Schneider. 

With number four comes the square, the symbol of matter and stability—four directions, four seasons, four elements (reinterpreted by Schneider as solid, liquid, gas, and plasma), and so on. 

Part of the beauty of the square is the way it can be diminished or expanded by using its midpoints to create a diamond or using its endpoints as the midpoints of a bigger diamond. 

This expanding and diminishing pattern makes a great metaphor for the common saying "as above, so below": as we see the pattern in the physical world, so can we look creatively into our inner worlds to see patterns of fourness. Jung saw four psychological functions: thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation (see his Psychological Types). Schneider describes Adam's dominion over the earth as mastery over the four elements of his inner nature. 

Part of me feels uncomfortable with the assertions of that last paragraph, that there is truly some fourfold aspect to our psyches, but I do think these metaphors can be helpful. If we can learn from the harmony outside of us, perhaps we can transform our inner lives to be more harmonious as well.

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