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I came to the United States to continue discovering the world and see other horizons. I thought I knew this country well since Europe is steeped in culture from across the Atlantic. However, I discovered I didn’t know it as well as I thought.

I had chosen to go to Northern California, a hub of technology and scientific progress, described by my friends as one of the most progressive places in the United States. But, here, I learned something: what the word ‘polarity’ meant as two modes of thought confront each other, as in other economically developed countries, but, here, the polarity is more blatant. It imposes itself. Two worlds coexist:

On one hand, there’s the world symbolized by artificial intelligence and its mechanistic vision of man. The human being is a machine whose intellectual functions can be replicated. This mechanistic and futuristic world is one of robots and driverless cars, algorithms, and the left behind. Its values are intelligence, power, and wealth. The governance is centralized as Man is considered a perfectible machine that can and should be controlled. For those interested in symbolism, this is the universe of Air.

On the other hand, there’s the world of spirituality and compassion. In this world, every life is valuable. Technology and finance serve humanity and not the contrary. It is about returning to nature, ecology, and saving the planet from the excesses of capitalism. What is important is self-knowledge and to find one’s unique place in the world. The Inhabitants of this world are interested in ancient traditions like Buddhism, Shamanism, Kabbalah… The modes of governance are decentralized, and the community becomes the basic social unit. The symbol here is Water.

In fact, TAir and Water do not oppose but ignore each other; this is what I have observed here. wo societal models coexist. No one questions scientific progress, but there’s also no debate on the limits and consequences of these advances which, as history has shown, can become suicidal for humankind. No public debate is organized on the subject, with reflection on the limits of progress left to the academic world.

Esoteric tradition teaches us that polarity is resolved by the emergence of a third element that encompasses and surpasses the first two, according to the principle: 1+1=3. Here, the equation may be solved either by the symbolic element Earth or by the Fire. The former would urge us to turn our backs on the described polarity by withdrawing from the hustle and bustle of the world to rediscover concrete and secure values: family, land, village… This, of course, requires most of us to reduce our economic standard of living. But peace of mind has a price.

Fire represents action, the conquering spirit, and elimination. Fire transforms. It’s a symbol of life and immortality. For alchemists, there are three kinds of fire: the combustible represented by the flame, the secret fire (or philosophical salt) representing the life force at the heart of the matter, and the Spiritus Mundi, the cosmic fire that Christian Hermeticism associates with the Holy Spirit. Fire and Water are complementary, just like air and earth.

What to understand from this elemental organization? the importance of balance and moderation: Stepping back and avoiding, if possible, the world agitation and the media carrying negative news; or, acting by following one’s inspiration or intuition (for instance, by organizing debates on the limits of science without conscience).

The choice is yours. Which of these four elements do you prefer?

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