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Monday, September 13, 2010

Pellatarrum: Meditations on Elemental Nature

In the wake of my discussions about Insanity in Pellatarrum, a friend of mine asked why I chose Insistence for Air when, to him, Air represented freedom and flight and creativity and not compulsive behavior.

What it comes down to is that I looked at each element and what I felt was its base nature. Once I had established a feel for it, I matched it to a mental illness with a similar feel.

Fire and Earth were pretty simple. Fire is inherently destructive, so it's easy to pair with violent tendencies. Earth tends not to move (earthquakes and avalanches notwithstanding), so illnesses like autism are a perfect fit.

Water was a bit trickier. Because it's so mutable it was difficult to define, until I realized that its inherent mutability was its definition. Water doesn't like to be picked up or contained or held: it always seeks a way out, seeping through the earth and leaking through your fingers and corroding or eroding whatever is in its path. And since I had already established fire as destructive, it made sense to me that water was cowardice and its constant flowing was it attempting to escape.

Air is insistent because air gets into everything. Everything. It is in your lungs, it is in caves below the ground, it is in the smoke rising from the fire, it is even in sea foam. Give air just the tiniest opening and BAM, it is there, man. It wants to be there, it has to be there, and by golly it will be there. You can't keep it out. You can't touch it or hold it but you need it to survive. Unless you're aquatic, air is that stuff you move through. Air is everything else that isn't the ground you walk you walk on or the water you sail on.
Sounds pretty damn insistent to me, and if you know people with OCD, you realize how well this fits. 

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