Love is what has been said to bring the elements together, and strife is what has been said to separate them apart. This philosophy was first set forth by empedocles, who also constructed the original understanding of the four elements in the western world. The elements are eternal, immutable, and the building blocks of reality, and because of this they cannot be created nor destroyed. They are able to change state, and are dynamic, when the forces of love, and strife act upon them.
These forces known as love, and strife are two important metaphysical forces that helped give birth to existence, and cause change, and movement in reality. Love, and strife are these two forces that are always interacting, and changing the state of the elements that make up the world, and because of this are seen as the forces of change, and motion in existence. Love is seen as this force pulling the elements together, which in turn would create substance, and because of this it is a force of attraction. Strife is seen as a force that would push the elements away, which in turn decomposes substances back into their separate elements, and because of this it is a force of repulsion. Strife has been also translated as hate, or anger.
When love is at its extreme everything is compressed into a combined state, and when strife is at its extreme nothing can interact, and is separated from each other. Balance, and life in existence can only exist when love, and strife are not at their extremes. When strife gets too extreme love comes to pull everything back together, when love gets too extreme strife comes to separate it apart.
The stages of love and Strife in existence:
The rule of love:
In this stage of existence love is the dominant force, and all the elemental properties are brought together in divine union, and strife was kept to the outskirts. Nothing happens, or exists within this state because everything is connected in this divine unity where there is no change, or movement.
The advancing of strife:
In this stage strife will begin to influence the elements, along with love, separating the elements from their union, while also allowing some of them to come together to create smaller individual substances. In this existence with love, and strife both impacting the elements, existence as we know it takes shape. Different entities, and constructs made up of the elements held together by love, and individualized, and separated by strife. Such things as fire, water, earth, and air are seen to be some of the biggest separations of strife in the elements, while living creatures were seen to be the biggest collection of love between the elements.
The rule of strife:
In this stage strife is the dominant force, and all of the elements are segregated between their kinds. Love will be kept to the outskirts around the segregated elements. Substance cannot exist within the state, because the elements are not allowed to interact, and are no longer changing, or moving.
The advancing of love:
In this stage the force of love will begin to create substance with the elements again, and will create an existence where there is change, and movement, until the force of love returns everything back to the rule of love starting the process over again. This stage will be just like the advancing of strife, but in the opposite direction.
By understanding these two forces you would be able to bring them into your understanding as a way to look at movement, and change within the elements, along with understanding how you could bring the elements together, and separate them apart.