|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Philebus by Plato:
classification against the denial of plurality in unity which is also
attributed to them; warring against the Eristics as destructive of truth,
as he had formerly fought against the Sophists; taking up a middle position
between the Cynics and Cyrenaics in his doctrine of pleasure; asserting
with more consistency than Anaxagoras the existence of an intelligent mind
and cause. Of the Heracliteans, whom he is said by Aristotle to have
cultivated in his youth, he speaks in the Philebus, as in the Theaetetus
and Cratylus, with irony and contempt. But we have not the knowledge which
would enable us to pursue further the line of reflection here indicated;
nor can we expect to find perfect clearness or order in the first efforts
of mankind to understand the working of their own minds. The ideas which
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Research Magnificent by H. G. Wells:
of experience. That is what I am driving at in all this. The bark
of danger is worse than its bite. Inside the portals there may be
events and destruction, but terror stays defeated at the door. It
may be that when that old man was killed by a horse the child who
watched suffered more than he did. . . .
"I am sure that was so. . . ."
As White read Benham's notes and saw how his argument drove on, he
was reminded again and again of those schoolboy days and Benham's
hardihood, and his own instinctive unreasonable reluctance to follow
those gallant intellectual leads. If fear is an ancient instinctive
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Odyssey by Homer:
So spake he in wrath, and dashed the staff to the ground,
and brake forth in tears; and pity fell on all the people.
Then all the others held their peace, and none had the
heart to answer Telemachus with hard words, but Antinous
alone made answer, saying:
'Telemachus, proud of speech and unrestrained in fury, what
is this thou hast said to put us to shame, and wouldest
fasten on us reproach? Behold the fault is not in the
Achaean wooers, but in thine own mother, for she is the
craftiest of women. For it is now the third year, and the
fourth is fast going by, since she began to deceive the
|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 The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad:
of the letter. A couch was to the left, the bed place to the right;
my writing desk and the chronometers' table faced the door.
But anyone opening it, unless he stepped right inside, had no
view of what I call the long (or vertical) part of the letter.
It contained some lockers surmounted by a bookcase; and a few clothes,
a thick jacket or two, caps, oilskin coat, and such like, hung on hooks.
There was at the bottom of that part a door opening into my bathroom,
which could be entered also directly from the saloon.
But that way was never used.
The mysterious arrival had discovered the advantage of this particular shape.
Entering my room, lighted strongly by a big bulkhead lamp swung on gimbals
The Secret Sharer