|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Lesser Hippias by Plato:
easily overthrown by the superior dialectics of Socrates, who pretends to
show that Achilles is not true to his word, and that no similar
inconsistency is to be found in Odysseus. Hippias replies that Achilles
unintentionally, but Odysseus intentionally, speaks falsehood. But is it
better to do wrong intentionally or unintentionally? Socrates, relying on
the analogy of the arts, maintains the former, Hippias the latter of the
two alternatives...All this is quite conceived in the spirit of Plato, who
is very far from making Socrates always argue on the side of truth. The
over-reasoning on Homer, which is of course satirical, is also in the
spirit of Plato. Poetry turned logic is even more ridiculous than
'rhetoric turned logic,' and equally fallacious. There were reasoners in
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Middlemarch by George Eliot:
due to the painter's fancy. Romanticism, which has helped to fill
some dull blanks with love and knowledge, had not yet penetrated
the times with its leaven and entered into everybody's food; it was
fermenting still as a distinguishable vigorous enthusiasm in certain
long-haired German artists at Rome, and the youth of other nations who
worked or idled near them were sometimes caught in the spreading movement.
One fine morning a young man whose hair was not immoderately long,
but abundant and curly, and who was otherwise English in his equipment,
had just turned his back on the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican
and was looking out on the magnificent view of the mountains from
the adjoining round vestibule. He was sufficiently absorbed not
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe:
sorry to lose three charges of powder and shot upon a creature that
was good for nothing to us. However, Xury said he would have some
of him; so he comes on board, and asked me to give him the hatchet.
"For what, Xury?" said I. "Me cut off his head," said he.
However, Xury could not cut off his head, but he cut off a foot,
and brought it with him, and it was a monstrous great one.
I bethought myself, however, that, perhaps the skin of him might,
one way or other, be of some value to us; and I resolved to take
off his skin if I could. So Xury and I went to work with him; but
Xury was much the better workman at it, for I knew very ill how to
do it. Indeed, it took us both up the whole day, but at last we
|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 Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:
She held up her crimsoned blade that he might see it.
"No," she said, "he did not harm me."
A grim smile lighted Carthoris' face.
"Praised be our first ancestor!" he murmured.
"And now let us see if we may not make good our
escape from this accursed city before the Lotharians
discover that their jeddak is no more."
With the firm authority that sat so well upon him in
whose veins flowed the blood of John Carter of Virginia
and Dejah Thoris of Helium, he grasped her hand and,
turning back across the hall, strode toward the great
Thuvia, Maid of Mars