|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Theaetetus by Plato:
salvation from them, only because they excel them in knowledge? Is not the
world full of men in their several employments, who are looking for
teachers and rulers of themselves and of the animals? and there are plenty
who think that they are able to teach and able to rule. Now, in all this
is implied that ignorance and wisdom exist among them, at least in their
SOCRATES: And wisdom is assumed by them to be true thought, and ignorance
to be false opinion.
SOCRATES: How then, Protagoras, would you have us treat the argument?
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft:
The babe was sent to a parish-nurse, and afterwards to this woman,
who did not seem much better; but what was to be expected from such
a close bargain? She was only paid three shillings a week
for board and washing.
"The woman begged me to give her some old clothes for the
child, assuring me, that she was almost afraid to ask master for
money to buy even a pair of shoes.
"I grew sick at heart. And, fearing Mr. Venables might enter,
and oblige me to express my abhorrence, I hastily enquired where
she lived, promised to pay her two shillings a week more, and to
call on her in a day or two; putting a trifle into her hand as a
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Laches by Plato:
and unless a man be pre-eminent in valour, he cannot help being ridiculous,
if he says that he has this sort of skill. Such is my judgment,
Lysimachus, of the desirableness of this art; but, as I said at first, ask
Socrates, and do not let him go until he has given you his opinion of the
LYSIMACHUS: I am going to ask this favour of you, Socrates; as is the more
necessary because the two councillors disagree, and some one is in a manner
still needed who will decide between them. Had they agreed, no arbiter
would have been required. But as Laches has voted one way and Nicias
another, I should like to hear with which of our two friends you agree.
SOCRATES: What, Lysimachus, are you going to accept the opinion of 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 Father Goriot by Honore de Balzac:
force that they were being crushed and twisted out of shape; to
all appearance he meant to convert the richly wrought metal into
"Peste! what a man!" said Rastignac, as he watched Goriot's
muscular arms; there was not a sound in the room while the old
man, with the aid of the rope, was kneading the silver like
dough. "Was he then, indeed, a thief, or a receiver of stolen
goods, who affected imbecility and decrepitude, and lived like a
beggar that he might carry on his pursuits the more securely?"
Eugene stood for a moment revolving these questions, then he
looked again through the keyhole.