|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Lysis by Plato:
that evil went far away, and in no way affected soul or body, nor ever at
all that class of things which, as we say, are neither good nor evil in
themselves;--would the good be of any use, or other than useless to us?
For if there were nothing to hurt us any longer, we should have no need of
anything that would do us good. Then would be clearly seen that we did but
love and desire the good because of the evil, and as the remedy of the
evil, which was the disease; but if there had been no disease, there would
have been no need of a remedy. Is not this the nature of the good--to be
loved by us who are placed between the two, because of the evil? but there
is no use in the good for its own sake.
I suppose not.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
other men's work. I have read it innumerable times, both in
Polish and in English; I have read it only the other day, and, by
a not very surprising inversion, the Lady Dedlock of the book
reminded me strongly of the "belle Madame Delestang."
Her husband (as I sat facing them both), with his thin, bony nose
and a perfectly bloodless, narrow physiognomy clamped together,
as it were, by short, formal side whiskers, had nothing of Sir
Leicester Dedlock's "grand air" and courtly solemnity. He
belonged to the haute bourgeoisie only, and was a banker, with
whom a modest credit had been opened for my needs. He was such
an ardent--no, such a frozen-up, mummified Royalist that he used
A Personal Record
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne:
life: my time seemed heavy, upon the loss of the lady, and knowing
every moment of it would be as two, till I put myself into motion,
- I ordered post horses directly, and walked towards the hotel.
Lord! said I, hearing the town clock strike four, and recollecting
that I had been little more than a single hour in Calais, -
- What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this
little span of life by him who interests his heart in every thing,
and who, having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually
holding out to him as he journeyeth on his way, misses nothing he
can FAIRLY lay his hands on!
- If this won't turn out something, - another will; - no matter, -
|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 Agesilaus by Xenophon:
Hellenes scattered in search of booty, put many of them to the sword.
Agesilaus, aware how matters were going, ordered his cavalry to the
rescue, and the Persians on their side, seeing the enemy's supports
approaching, collected and formed up in line to receive them with the
serried squadrons of their cavalry. And now Agesilaus, conscious that
his enemy's infantry had not as yet arrived, whilst on his side no
element in his preparation was lacking, felt that the moment was come
to join battle if he could. Accordingly he sacrificed and advanced
against the opposing lines of cavalry. A detachment of heavy infantry,
the ten-years-service men, had orders to close with them at the run,
while the light infantry division were told to show them the way at a