Explanation of the Elemental Figure by Bl. Raymond Lull

bullet1 7 - Elemental Generation and Corruption 

1. Simple fire is ignificative in form and ignificable in matter, and its essence consists of these two entities; now the same applies to the other simple elements each in its way, and hence, simple fire in a herb fiery in the fourth degree generates compound fire from itself by communicating its six points to the other elements, as described above; and thus, from its points together with the points of the other elements, generated compound fire follows; and because in this plant, fire is stronger than the other elements, it reduces the other elements to its own end, namely to a plant hot in the fourth degree; now this is an incomplete end for the species of fire, for this end transits to another end which is complete, namely the species of the plant, so that the appetite of fire becomes corrupted because its act of generation does not attain its own species, but rather an alien species, and consequently, just as the appetite of fire is corrupted by reason of the end, so does the appetite of each remaining element also get corrupted.

2. In a plant, fire attracts the other elements as much as it can so that they take on its likeness, and thus because of its appetite for reproducing its species, fire congregates the likenesses of the other elements in itself, so it can alter their likenesses into its own likeness; and as it generates such likenesses, it corrupts them by vegetating, mixing and digesting them, and the things we said about fire also apply in their way to each one of the remaining elements, so that each element has the likenesses of the other elements engendered within itself, and in turn, engenders its own likeness in the others; for instance, fire generates heat in air so that air's moisture carries heat in itself which enables it to convert water to its own likeness: therefore, fire generates through form and corrupts through matter; and thus, by means of such generation and corruption, the plant is generated and corrupted, which is self evident.

3. While an elemented supposite or plant is being generated, the natural agent attracts the elements to itself as much as it can, in order to transfer their likenesses into its own likeness and thus to produce the generated supposite; we can see this in animals in whom the vegetative, moved by the sensitive, transmutes food into the forms of their species; and through this transmutation, animals feed and live, because their radical moisture is conserved through it; the same likewise occurs in a plant, now the natural agent generates it by attracting the simple elements and compounding them to produce a plant of the same species as the generating plant, by converting into itself, i.e. into its own species, the elements it receives, and by transmuting them into the likeness of its own species, namely into the generated plant so its species does not expire; therefore in this generation and corruption, there is the generation and corruption of the elements; the generation of the elements consists in their generating of compound elements, and their corruption consists in their transmutation into an alien species, namely into the plant engendered from them.

4. In a plant, fire ignificates the other elements in the plant and instills its heat into them all, now as it instills its heat, it also instills the subject of this heat and thus it corrupts and mortifies the other elements. As air and the other elements receive heat from fire, they also receive in themselves some parts of fire; and thus, fire is generated and enlivened in air and in the other elements, and consequently, air and the remaining two elements are corrupted: therefore air, and consequently the other elements, are not as intensely pure as they were before.

5. Fire heats water in a pot, and as it actually comes into contact with the pot, it brings into act the heat which had been habitually in the water and corrupts the water's coldness inasmuch as it reduces it from act to habit as long as there is hot water left in the pot. But when the water is entirely consumed, its coldness remains in potentiality in the species of compound fire into which water has been transmuted by means of its own corruption; and the same occurs in a plant, as each element in the plant generates and corrupts every other element; now all the simple elements in the plant are corrupted in each of their simple acts, but not in the essences of their forms and matters which remain essentially in the supposite; here, the sum total of the elements, with respect to the said essences of simple forms and simple matters essentially remaining in the supposite, makes up one species alien to the species of any one element, therefore the simple elements are the subjects of composition while the compound ones are the substance of the plant, and the compound elements are situated in the simple ones, and the species of the plant is situated in the compound ones; and thus, in generating the plant, there is no increase or decrease at all in the simple essences of the elements; and this is how simple elements are transmuted into compound ones, and the compound elements are transmuted into the species of the plant.

6. Now this is enough about the Elemental Figure and the explanation of its first quadrangle which is that of fire; and the things said about fire and its degrees in a hot elemented supposite or in a hot plant, apply likewise to each one of the remaining elements according to its quadrangle and its own degrees in its own elemented supposites.

The statements we made in this book can be rationally demonstrated by following the discourse of Ars Demonstrativa: now if we went on to demonstrate everything said in this book, it would grow far too large and so we prefer to leave this as an exercise for artists. Amen.