The people of Shaftal believe that the four elements are the source of a person's talent, way of thinking (logic), and personality. While it's possible for a person to be shaped exclusively by a single element, most people have a mix, or balance, of elemental influences.
Laurie J. Marks explains: How I dreamed it up
The idea of elemental logic evolved over many years, and such an organic process is not easy to describe (or remember). What I do know: I was first exposed to the idea of the four humors while studying Shakespeare as an undergraduate. Later, while working in an adult literacy organization, I became familiar with Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, and I also did the Myers-Briggs personality assessment a few times. (I'm an INFJ, in case you care.)
I started work on what became Fire Logic in 1995. In the next few years I moved from the west coast to the east coast, went to graduate school, fell in love with teaching, and was fortunate to enter the next phase of my development as a writer, also, in the company of the members of my writer's group.
Susan Wall, one of my graduate school professors, once said, “Don't teach writing. Teach students.” In the effort to do so, I began to figure out that writing students have cognitive approaches that I could identify through the strengths and weaknesses of their compositions, and I began to class or group these students into categories that were useful to me: those who go instantly from question to answer but can't explain how they got there, those who can methodically go from one logical statement to the next but can't see what it all means, those who benefit from a clear sense of purpose and no instructions, those who benefit from specific instructions or “rules,” and so on.
I also began to see how these propensities were not just writing propensities, but living propensities; or, as a Buddhist might put it, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” And at some point, during one of many complete overhauls of Fire Logic, I began to write about the four kinds of magic as four kinds of thinking. I didn't begin using the word logic to describe this scheme until I was (or thought I was) nearly finished with the novel.
Characteristics of the elementals
Fire logic (possibilities)
- Passion, imagination, transformation, insight.
- Words, symbols, images, and stories.
- Used to:
- Write poetry, predict the future, foment revolution.
- Non-judgmental, seek out risk and instability
- Artist, philosopher, teacher, writer, eccentric.
- Emily Dickinson, Rosa Parks, Friedrich Nietzsche.
Earth logic (realities)
- Compassion, reality, balance, exertion, connection.
- Flesh, stone, wood, and dirt.
- Used to:
- Fix things, build things, make things, and make things happen
- Inordinately humble, cautious and conservative, either obstinately unmovable or obstinately unstoppable.
- Artisan, child care worker, landscape architect, farmer, doctor.
- Martin Luther King, Margaret Sanger, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Water logic (holistic)
- Flow, movement, rhythm, repetition
- Music, math, weather, time, humor.
- Used to:
- Understand and create macro-patterns of numbers, time, sound, and meaning.
- Fascinated by the big picture, drawn to sound, rhythm, repetition, perceive people and events as small parts of a big picture, amused by violations or contradictions.
- Musician, physicist, meteorologist, mathematician, choreographer, economist.
- Albert Einstein, Karen Joy Fowler, Mozart, Carl Sagan.
Air logic (analytical)
- Truth, reason, structure.
- Thought, theory, motivation.
- Used to:
- Establish and sustain principle-based social structures and systems of thought.
- Ideological, rational, principled, concerned with fine distinctions.
- Lawyer, accountant, theologian, psychologist.
- Mary Daly, Emily Post, Joyce Brothers.
Laurie's elemental profile
At the moment, Laurie's elemental profile is:
Fire: 5 parts out of 12
Earth: 3 parts
Water: 1 part
Air: 2 parts