that can be processed into means for evaluating experience. In fact, the air signs are so civilized that the only inanimate object in zodiacal symbolism - the Balance - belongs to Libra, an air sign. I think, therefore I am human, and no longer animal. Air is the most human element, the quality which has enabled men to create societies, rules for living together, codes for ethics, writing, learning, and the vast and awesome array of gifts and curses which fall under the umbrella of modern technology. Air has made man master of his planet: or so he thinks.
Now what do you notice about a person who is predominantly airy in temperament? The old medieval word for an airy temperament was sanguine, and a sanguine person was always optimistic, never ruffled, never upset, always positive. First and foremost, the airy temperament is reasonable. He is less likely to go hysterical when things do not fall his way, because he has developed the knack of seeing viewpoints other than his own. He is objective enough to recognize that the world is larger than just him; so he is prepared to cope with disappointments and vicissitudes in a rather philosophical way. Even when angry, he will try to reason with his opponent, and he is a great adherent to the ethical code of integrity and honesty in all human dealings. He is usually prepared to consider society as an organism which is built for the benefit of those who belong to it, so that he will deliberately fight what he considers selfish or irrational behaviour. It just isn't fair, from his point of view. And because he is often well-educated, and at least self-educated, he has a wide variety of sources to draw for his attitudes and his beliefs. Air is rarely narrow-minded. He may be horribly narrow in other ways, but his mind is always open to ideas.
The airy person will, because of his constant propensity for reflection, rarely react spontaneously. He will assess a social situation carefully, rather than feel his way into it. He is logical, and must have explanation and names for the things which come into his field of awareness. They need not be tangible, but they must be explainable. He is sometimes so logical that he can make you scream, when he asks you to explain feeling states or moods or nonrational intuitions which in a million years do not lend themselves to the careful scrutiny of his analytical brain. He can make you feel as though you have teamed up with a cross between a computer and a refrigerator. Naturally those sterling virtues would have to be balanced with some pretty sterling problems. And air's greatest problem is what appears as coldness in ordinary human relationships.
Yes, air people can give the impression of being exceedingly cold. Not, mind you, in the ordinary social sense. There is no element so adept at the graces of group interchange: ordinary chit-chat about a wide variety of interesting topics, objective and intelligent discussion, stimulating conversation, genuine tolerance of others' viewpoints. But the arctic breeze brushes you sometimes when you are alone with him and you want to talk about how you feel, and he does a lot of thinking about how he feels, and some more thinking about how you feel, and then a lot about how he thinks he thinks he feels, and by the time he has got around to working it out to his satisfaction - structured, named, analysed, evaluated and slotted into the grid which to him offers the final differentiation of his values in life, the moment - as they say - has passed.
Having already said that there is no such thing as total objectivity, it should be said that the air signs as a group try harder than anybody else to achieve it. And they do come close; they have the priceless gift of being willing to consider people, events and ideas outside their own personal range of experience as equally valuable and deserving of attention and energy as those things that touch their personal lives. In fact, it's sometimes weighted so heavily on the larger picture that the smaller picture - particularly that of personal relationships - often recedes into the misty distance and you are left feeling peculiarly unimportant and ashamed of your own demandingness. Well, nobody's perfect. Without the element of air, we would still be hitting woolly mammoths on the head with rocks, and there never would have been a wheel; it is the element of air which gives us the ability for abstract