|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Timaeus by Plato:
America. It helped to form the Utopia of Sir Thomas More and the New
Atlantis of Bacon, although probably neither of those great men were at all
imposed upon by the fiction. It was most prolific in the seventeenth or in
the early part of the eighteenth century, when the human mind, seeking for
Utopias or inventing them, was glad to escape out of the dulness of the
present into the romance of the past or some ideal of the future. The
later forms of such narratives contained features taken from the Edda, as
well as from the Old and New Testament; also from the tales of missionaries
and the experiences of travellers and of colonists.
The various opinions respecting the Island of Atlantis have no interest for
us except in so far as they illustrate the extravagances of which men are
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Anabasis by Xenophon:
leading role. This occurred between 401 B.C. and
March 399 B.C.
This was typed from Dakyns' series, "The Works of Xenophon," a
four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon's works (though
there is doubt about some of these) is:
Work Number of books
The Anabasis 7
The Hellenica 7
The Cyropaedia 8
The Memorabilia 4
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
PROTARCHUS: What are they, and how do you separate them?
SOCRATES: I mean to say, that if arithmetic, mensuration, and weighing be
taken away from any art, that which remains will not be much.
PROTARCHUS: Not much, certainly.
SOCRATES: The rest will be only conjecture, and the better use of the
senses which is given by experience and practice, in addition to a certain
power of guessing, which is commonly called art, and is perfected by
attention and pains.
PROTARCHUS: Nothing more, assuredly.
SOCRATES: Music, for instance, is full of this empiricism; for sounds are
|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 Charmides by Plato:
uncle Glaucon: I rather think that you know him too, although he was not
grown up at the time of your departure.
Certainly, I know him, I said, for he was remarkable even then when he was
still a child, and I should imagine that by this time he must be almost a
You will see, he said, in a moment what progress he has made and what he is
like. He had scarcely said the word, when Charmides entered.
Now you know, my friend, that I cannot measure anything, and of the
beautiful, I am simply such a measure as a white line is of chalk; for
almost all young persons appear to be beautiful in my eyes. But at that
moment, when I saw him coming in, I confess that I was quite astonished at