|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from St. Ives by Robert Louis Stevenson:
under my hand all day, I dreamed of it at night. In the inns, I
was afraid to go to dinner and afraid to go to sleep. When I
walked up a hill I durst not leave the doors of the claret-coloured
chaise. Sometimes I would change the disposition of the funds:
there were days when I carried as much as five or six thousand
pounds on my own person, and only the residue continued to voyage
in the treasure-chest - days when I bulked all over like my cousin,
crackled to a touch with bank paper, and had my pockets weighed to
bursting-point with sovereigns. And there were other days when I
wearied of the thing - or grew ashamed of it - and put all the
money back where it had come from: there let it take its chance,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Phaedo by Plato:
the few; when no one will be weighed down by excessive toil; when the
necessity of providing for the body will not interfere with mental
improvement; when the physical frame may be strengthened and developed; and
the religion of all men may become a reasonable service.
Nothing therefore, either in the present state of man or in the tendencies
of the future, as far as we can entertain conjecture of them, would lead us
to suppose that God governs us vindictively in this world, and therefore we
have no reason to infer that he will govern us vindictively in another.
The true argument from analogy is not, 'This life is a mixed state of
justice and injustice, of great waste, of sudden casualties, of
disproportionate punishments, and therefore the like inconsistencies,
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Euthydemus by Plato:
My God! I said, and where did you learn that? I always thought, as I was
saying just now, that your chief accomplishment was the art of fighting in
armour; and I used to say as much of you, for I remember that you professed
this when you were here before. But now if you really have the other
knowledge, O forgive me: I address you as I would superior beings, and ask
you to pardon the impiety of my former expressions. But are you quite sure
about this, Dionysodorus and Euthydemus? the promise is so vast, that a
feeling of incredulity steals over me.
You may take our word, Socrates, for the fact.
Then I think you happier in having such a treasure than the great king is
in the possession of his kingdom. And please to tell me whether you intend
|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 An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:
"Company! . . . Attention! . . . Shoulder arms! . . . Ready!
. . . Aim! . . . Fire!"
Fahrquhar dived -- dived as deeply as he could. The water
roared in his ears like the voice of Niagara, yet he heard
the dull thunder of the volley and, rising again toward the
surface, met shining bits of metal, singularly flattened,
oscillating slowly downward. Some of them touched him on the
face and hands, then fell away, continuing their descent.
One lodged between his collar and neck; it was uncomfortably
warm and he snatched it out.
As he rose to the surface, gasping for breath, he saw that he
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge