My sister posed the above question on Facebook and I am totally intrigued by this question. I wonder if there truly is one more powerful than another, because after having spent some time thinking about this, I have come to the conclusion that they are interdependent on each other.
I’ll start with water, because it is my element and the one I wanted to be the most powerful. Water seems to be the giver of life, or the beginning of most, if not all, life forms on Earth (e.g., mammals begin life in utero in water). Water can extinguish fire, but fire cannot eliminate water – only change its shape. And water can erode earth, but earth cannot be extinguished by water – it can only change its shape. Water is composed partly of oxygen (air – or for this debate wind), so without wind, water could not exist. So, in the beginning (and there are many examples) it would appear that water is the most powerful, but it cannot get rid of earth and it relies on wind to exist.
So, what about fire? Someone mentioned that it was “the beginning of everything.” Fire is a giver of life – without it everything would be frozen… Fire is also a destroyer of life – get too close and you (and everything else) will become a heaping mess of ash (earth) – earth again is not destroyed, but changes form. But fire cannot exist without earth or air (wind) – its fuel sources.
Earth has been mentioned a few times here, so let’s do that next. (I have a friend who simply said that earth contains all the others. Hmmm…I will have to think on that one a little more…) Earth is quite powerful in that it seemingly cannot be destroyed by water or fire – it can only change shape or form, but still exists as earth. I would presume that earth is responsible for gravity too. So, in effect, earth moves water (the moon on tides for example). Landslides and earthquakes can be quite devastating too (I cannot include volcanoes here, because that is fire). But, even though we have concluded earth cannot be destroyed by water or fire (or even wind), it can be changed to a smaller or weaker form/consistency. Getting a rock thrown at you vs. a handful of sand can make a difference on whether or not you get a bruise for example.
So, what about wind? Wind creates hurricanes and tornadoes, which are pretty devastating disasters when they strike. Wind can change the shape of earth, move water, and blow out fire. Wind can also carry water (rain, humidity). It fuels fire and is a necessary part of water. Wind does not seem to be destroyed by water, earth or fire, but wind (oxygen) can be consumed by fire. Wait! Can it? Wind is composed of many elements (helium, carbon dioxide), so again, it can only change form, but still exists as wind. But, wind is dependent on earth (gravity) and fire (heat) to move.
So, even though I can list many examples as to why one is stronger than another or why one is weaker than another, I think the bottom line in MY opinion, is that none are more powerful, because of the interrelationship these elements share with each other. (I could be wrong, of course…)