Another way of getting some understanding of the airy temperament is to watch the way an air type strives to understand things. He will perpetually ask why, in contrast to his fellows who will either react with a simple 'I like it' or 'It's horrible', and leave lofty speculations about the nature of man and the cosmos to the philosophers. Questioning the structures behind the manifest world comes as naturally to him as breathing. Even on a prosaic level, the scientific minds of air will be at work ferreting out the secrets of the economic structure of a business, the composition of fertilizer, the organization and systemization of farmland, the tensions and pressures and laws at work within social groups. One key word for air is reason. Another is logic. And a third, equally important, is system. Air is the element of systems. Everything must have a coherent pattern. If it doesn't fit into the pattern, either the airy type will make up a new pattern - often called philosophy, psychology or religion - or he will refuse to recognize that thing is a reality. Things that don't fit into patterns are extremely inexplicable patterns of behaviour, unwonted emotions and moods that do not fit into the schema, unusually charismatic or strangely magnetic personalities, and actions that do not stem from any obvious cause. Watch the air signs when something like this, some denizen of the oceanic depths of the nonrational side of life, smacks him in the face like a mermaid's tail flicked out of the water. You can virtually see his brow furrow as he begins the long chain back to what might possibly explain this phenomenon, so that he can understand it. Expecting him to accept something without understanding it is hopeless. He must understand everything. His whole picture of the universe rests on his capacity for comprehension. Take it away and you will see a very frightened individual.
A long time ago, I noticed that the field of psychology was full of air signs. At first this struck me as odd; after all, apart from the odd pastimes of chasing rats in the laboratory which go under the misnomer of academic psychology, the field itself deals with the 'soul' of man (the word means the study of the soul), and thus concerns itself with inner states, mainly emotional. I expected lots of Scorpio and Cancer and Pisces. Instead I found an overwhelming number of Aquarians, large groups of Geminis, hordes of Librans. Eventually it began to come clear. The air signs, because they must understand everything, must make systems to describe the phenomena they encounter in life. The one phenomenon they perpetually encounter and find perpetually difficult to comprehend is the human being. Hence psychology: for air it is a way of understanding that which intrinsically cannot be explained, let alone defined. But as we said, air tries harder.
I suspect air signs gravitate toward astrology too, for the same reason. You find most of them working on the research side, attempting to systemize the cosmos itself. God, to the air signs, is alive and well and hiding in systems. Very well. It doesn't do to knock it, when for the element of air this is where reality lies.
We must, of course, talk a little about the dark side of air. It is, after all, such a light element by nature - sanguine. You might have guessed the dark side is pretty dark. And you can guess as well that the side of life which defies systematization most consistently, which refuses analysis and structure, which cannot be explained verbally or conceptually, is both the most annoying thing in the world to air and also the most fascinating. Emotion.
Air, as we said, can give the appearance of being rather cold. In fact, airy people are often afraid of this quality in themselves, and try particularly hard to show sentiment at the appropriate moment, lest they get the reputation of being heartless. The sense of being cut off is a common experience for those living with airy people. It is as though the person is there one minute and then gone, leaving his body sitting in the chair talking. But there is a distinct impression that the room is empty, that you are alone in it. It is a highly amusing experience if you aren't involved, since you can see the flick of the light switch as the air sign