Explanation of the Elemental Figure by Bl. Raymond Lull

bullet1 4 - Elemental Action and Passion

1. In the said plant, in which fire is in the fourth degree, the six points into which fire divides itself are formally active, whereas the points of the other elements in the same plant are materially passive, and this is how form and matter are constituted in the said plant, which is a thing united and aggregated from the said form and matter. And as this form and matter transit within one another, they attain to a species which is neither under the form and matter of fire nor under those of any other element, rather, it is only under the form and matter of this plant which belongs to this species, and obviously, this must be so, given the mixture and transmutation of each element into every other element; now once they are totally mixed and confused together, in this unity they seek an end which is not a species of any of the elements, but is the plant as such. And then, in the same plant, the points of earth act in the other elements by terreificating them while the other elements are passive in receiving terreity and dryness from earth, and the same applies to air and water in their own way, so that in the same plant, every element is both active and passive, as clearly shown by what was just said; but some of them are more active and have greater quantity than others, so that fourth degree fire in the said plant is more active than earth; then, third degree earth is more active than air because it is greater in quantity than second degree air; and then second degree air is more active, due to its greater quantity, than first degree water.

2. Likewise, in the same plant, the form of fire has greater action than the forms of the other elements in the same plant, and consequently, the action of fire's heat is greater in this plant than the action of dryness, moisture and cold; now substantial form moves its heat into the other elements so that the dryness of earth is more active in this plant than the moisture of air and the moisture of air is more active than the coldness of water, as motive qualities accidentally exist in substantial forms.

3. Compound fire is passive under simple fire, because compound fire is an effect of simple fire, so that simple fire is active and flows into compound fire throughout the whole plant in which simple fire is active as much as passive fire and the other elements can be receptive to it; and because the totality of simple fire cannot be received in this plant, some simple fire remains outside of the plant, given that simple fire also exists in other plants. Now just like the action of simple fire has an effect on compound and passive fire, and therefore also on the other passive elements, so does it also have an effect on the other elements in the same plant.

4. Clearly, each and every one of these elements is more or less active or passive in this plant in which fire is in the fourth degree, and in which fire acts on simple earth and on the other simple elements, so that all the elements except fire are passive under fire through accidental action and passion as simple fire acts on compound earth which is an effect of simple earth; now in the fire which endues earth in a plant that is more hot than dry and more fiery than earthy, simple fire acts through compound fire whereas simple earth is passive by means of compound earth, and what applies to fire and earth also applies to earth and air, and so to the others in their own way. And conversely, in this same plant, simple earth acts on simple fire inasmuch as it resists simple fire; now as simple earth moves compound earth throughout the whole plant, the compound earth dries the compound fire; and in the same way that simple earth acts on simple fire, so does it also act on simple air and simple water; and as this applies to earth, it also applies to air and water in their own ways.

5. Just as the elements are ranked in degrees and situated in greater or lesser quantity in plants and in sentient beings, so likewise their actions and passions are ranked in degrees and situated so that the all of the degree of fire and all of the degrees of the other elements are formally and materially situated in action and passion in greater or lesser quantity; and this is clearly obvious, as fire is greater, and therefore more active than the other elements in a plant which is hot in the fourth degree; but its action and passion are diversified in intensity, now fire in this plant is more intense in its action than are the other elements, and also less passive, but with respect to the total extent of the plant, fire is as active and passive as the other elements are.

6. In a plant which is fiery in the fourth degree, the form of fire is active in its own subject, namely in its own proper passive ignificable, and this is due to the nature of fire's own form, matter and essence; the totality of simple and compound fire acts on the remote ignificable, namely on the other elements of this plant which is subject to fire, so that it acts everywhere in the plant by ignificating and heating the plant or seed, and the same applies to the other elements in accordance with the elemented things proper to them. The form of fire in a plant in the fourth degree of fire is active, but the other forms of the other elements are passive under it, although each one of them acts on its own subject, for instance the form of earth subjected to the form of fire is passive under it, although it is active in its own terreificable and dryable. Now the action and passion of forms exists because a more active form induces alien forms to follow its own natural appetite and its own end, which is the form of a plant whose existence is due to the form of fire more than to the forms of the other elements; therefore the form of fire moves the other elemental forms so that every one of them moves its own passion toward the end that the form of fire seeks to achieve by way of vegetation and production.