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Today's Stichomancy for Steve Martin

The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from In the South Seas by Robert Louis Stevenson:

certainly to bear a great expense, for the Tahuku will not work without reward; and certainly exquisite pain. Kooamua, high chief as he was, and one of the old school, was only part tattooed; he could not, he told us with lively pantomime, endure the torture to an end. Our enamoured countryman was more resolved; he was tattooed from head to foot in the most approved methods of the art; and at last presented himself before his mistress a new man. The fickle fair one could never behold him from that day except with laughter. For my part, I could never see the man without a kind of admiration; of him it might be said, if ever of any, that he had loved not wisely, but too well.

The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell:

that you were not going there again? But that has little to do with it. I must say, Mr. Sawyer, that a more unmanly, brutal treatment of a little pony it was never my painful lot to witness, and by giving way to such passion you injure your own character as much, nay more, than you injure your horse; and remember, we shall all have to be judged according to our works, whether they be toward man or toward beast."

Master rode me home slowly, and I could tell by his voice how the thing had grieved him. He was just as free to speak to gentlemen of his own rank as to those below him; for another day, when we were out, we met a Captain Langley, a friend of our master's; he was driving a splendid pair of grays in a kind of break.

The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from The Unseen World and Other Essays by John Fiske:

occupy at any rate a sounder philosophic position when we recognize the limits within which our conclusions, whether positive or negative, are valid.

It seems not improbable that Mr. Mill may have had in mind something like the foregoing considerations when he suggested that there is no reason why one should not entertain the belief in a future life if the belief be necessary to one's spiritual comfort. Perhaps no suggestion in Mr. Mill's richly suggestive posthumous work has been more generally condemned as unphilosophical, on the ground that in matters of belief we must be guided, not by our likes and dislikes, but by the evidence


The Unseen World and Other Essays