If one chooses not to break the world into two, or into four, but into three, one comes across the three fundamental elements of mercury, sulphur and salt. Here the sulphur represents the masculine, the mercury the feminine and the salt the world. As this essay will investigate, these elements also reflect the three elementary personality types.
Anthropologically speaking, men can be described by the ethological niche that they fall into: they can be an alpha, a beta or an omega. This refers to their position on the dominance hierarchy, where alphas have high status and get the best women, and omegas have low status and no women. In modern parlance, these personality types can be described as chads, bugmen and soyboys.
The alpha is a creator. His nature corresponds to sulphur, which is the creative force. This creative energy makes things out of nothing; it imposes order upon chaos. He is Romulus, Gilgamesh, Alexander. He is the cardinal force, which makes something appear where once only chaos existed. This sort of man builds monuments, nations and empires.
Alphas aren’t generally interested in fitting into pre-existing systems. This is why he is also described as Chad, irresistible to women. The cardinal force is the most attractive to women because the essence of masculinity is precisely the capacity to impose order upon chaos. The chad imposes order upon the world around him, therefore he is masculine, and the feminine element naturally becomes devoted to him.
The beta is a maintainer. His nature corresponds to salt, which represents the world. In this sense, there is nothing remarkable about the beta. He doesn’t have a lot of personality, but he is extremely efficient when there are many like him in a bureaucracy – or a paramilitary group. Less intelligent than the alpha, the beta’s intellect can only encompass a limited sphere, but he is perfectly effective within it.
Betas are described as bugmen in modern parlance. This is because they appear to have neither personality nor free will, much like insects. Betas need alphas to give them direction, because they are afraid of doing the wrong thing and getting punished. He knows, however, that he is next in line to inherit the position of the alpha, and so he wants things to change the least. He therefore represents the fixed force.
The soyboy represents the mutable force, corresponding to mercury. This is because he is at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy, and therefore has nothing to lose and everything to gain from its dissolution. He represents the mutable force because the more things change, the better it is for him. He is also, for these reasons, the destroyer.
In this sense, mercury serves as the divine feminine in her representation as chaos. The soyboy is a natural loser, in that he never gets laid except for by pity, and the world seems to be rigged against him. Consequently, he is the one with the largest incentive to change things. This is why he is associated with resentment and other slave moralities. The mercurial element is unpredictable, because it resents having order imposed upon it.
These three personality types all depend upon, and interplay with, each other. Without the chads, there is no civilisation for the bugmen and soyboys to populate. Without the bugmen, the chads and the soyboys do not have enough in common for the ground to exist upon which a civilisation can be built. Without the soyboys, the chads and the bugmen are constantly at war with each other, having no mutually agreed weaker party to beat down upon.
The three are also natural divisions that reflect reality. This is why we can see the creator-maintainer-destroyer trichotomy in Hinduism, where Brahman acts as creator, Vishnu as maintainer and Shiva as destroyer. In Hinduism, however, it is understood that all three are necessary for life to function, and there is less emphasis on the mercurial element being unwanted.
In another sense, the chads and the soyboys follow each other around like the yin and yang of a taijitu, with the yin as mercury and the yang as sulphur. The bugmen are then like the unwobbling pivot of Taoism, as a kind of fulcrum around which the rest of the world turns. This is also reflective of reality in that yin and yang come and go, so that sometimes one is fashionable and the other not, and other times the reverse.
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