|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Grimm's Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm:
the young wrens heard that, they were frightfully angry, and screamed:
'No, that we are not! Our parents are honest people! Bear, you will
have to pay for that!'
The bear and the wolf grew uneasy, and turned back and went into their
holes. The young willow-wrens, however, continued to cry and scream,
and when their parents again brought food they said: 'We will not so
much as touch one fly's leg, no, not if we were dying of hunger, until
you have settled whether we are respectable children or not; the bear
has been here and has insulted us!' Then the old King said: 'Be easy,
he shall be punished,' and he at once flew with the Queen to the
bear's cave, and called in: 'Old Growler, why have you insulted my
Grimm's Fairy Tales
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Under the Andes by Rex Stout:
I rose to my feet, scarcely able to stand, and moved away.
But the fate that had finally intervened for us--too late,
alas! for one--did not leave us long with our dead. Even now I do
not know what happened; at the time I knew even less. Harry told
me afterward that the first shock came at the instant he had taken
Desiree in his arms and pressed his lips to hers.
I had crossed to the other side of the passage and was gazing
back toward the chasm at the Incas on the other side, when again I
felt the ground, absolutely without warning, tremble violently
under my feet. At the same moment there was a low, curious rumble
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Alkahest by Honore de Balzac:
added a dreadful and ceaseless fear which made the future terrifying.
Women have presentiments whose accuracy is often marvellous. Why do
they fear so much more than they hope in matters that concern the
interests of this life? Why is their faith given only to religious
ideas of a future existence? Why do they so ably foresee the
catastrophes of fortune and the crises of fate? Perhaps the sentiment
which unites them to the men they love gives them a sense by which
they weigh force, measure faculties, understand tastes, passions,
vices, virtues. The perpetual study of these causes in the midst of
which they live gives them, no doubt, the fatal power of foreseeing
effects in all possible relations of earthly life. What they see of
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
a higher arithmetic, and a higher mensuration, which is exclusively
theoretical; and a dialectical science, which is higher still and the
truest and purest knowledge.
(7) We are now able to determine the composition of the perfect life.
First, we admit the pure pleasures and the pure sciences; secondly, the
impure sciences, but not the impure pleasures. We have next to discover
what element of goodness is contained in this mixture. There are three
criteria of goodness--beauty, symmetry, truth. These are clearly more akin
to reason than to pleasure, and will enable us to fix the places of both of
them in the scale of good. First in the scale is measure; the second place
is assigned to symmetry; the third, to reason and wisdom; the fourth, to