|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Apology by Plato:
the Comic poets, and in the opinion of the multitude, he had been
identified with the teachers of physical science and with the Sophists.
But this was an error. For both of them he professes a respect in the open
court, which contrasts with his manner of speaking about them in other
places. (Compare for Anaxagoras, Phaedo, Laws; for the Sophists, Meno,
Republic, Tim., Theaet., Soph., etc.) But at the same time he shows that
he is not one of them. Of natural philosophy he knows nothing; not that he
despises such pursuits, but the fact is that he is ignorant of them, and
never says a word about them. Nor is he paid for giving instruction--that
is another mistaken notion:--he has nothing to teach. But he commends
Evenus for teaching virtue at such a 'moderate' rate as five minae.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Jolly Corner by Henry James:
as by a rest for the elbow.
It was with these considerations that his present attention was
charged - they perfectly availed to make what he saw portentous.
He COULDN'T, by any lapse, have blocked that aperture; and if he
hadn't, if it was unthinkable, why what else was clear but that
there had been another agent? Another agent? - he had been
catching, as he felt, a moment back, the very breath of him; but
when had he been so close as in this simple, this logical, this
completely personal act? It was so logical, that is, that one
might have TAKEN it for personal; yet for what did Brydon take it,
he asked himself, while, softly panting, he felt his eyes almost
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from In a German Pension by Katherine Mansfield:
has charged me extra for a miserable little glass of milk I drink in bed at
night to prevent insomnia. Naturally, I did not pay. But the tragedy of
the story is this: I cannot expect the milk to produce somnolence any
longer; my peaceful attitude of mind towards it is completely destroyed. I
know I shall throw myself into a fever in attempting to plumb this want of
generosity in so wealthy a man as the manager of a pension. Think of me
to-night."--he ground the empty bag under his heel--"think that the worst
is happening to me as your head drops asleep on your pillow."
Two ladies came on the front steps of the pension and stood, arm in arm,
looking over the garden. The one, old and scraggy, dressed almost entirely
in black bead trimming and a satin reticule; the other, young and thin, in
|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 Twelve Stories and a Dream by H. G. Wells:
my great-grandmother with an utter want of discretion.
"I never asked you to take the stuff," I said.
And generously disregarding the insults he was putting upon me,
I sat down in his armchair and began to talk to him in a sober,
I pointed out to him that this was a trouble he had brought upon
himself, and that it had almost an air of poetical justice. He had
eaten too much. This he disputed, and for a time we argued the point.
He became noisy and violent, so I desisted from this aspect
of his lesson. "And then," said I, "you committed the sin of euphuism.
You called it not Fat, which is just and inglorious, but Weight. You--"