|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Art of War by Sun Tzu:
Because of the numerous mistakes in the text of Sun Tzu
which his editors had handed down, the Government ordered
that the ancient edition [of Chi T`ien-pao] should be used,
and that the text should be revised and corrected throughout.
It happened that Wu Nien-hu, the Governor Pi Kua, and Hsi, a
graduate of the second degree, had all devoted themselves to
this study, probably surpassing me therein. Accordingly, I
have had the whole work cut on blocks as a textbook for
The three individuals here referred to had evidently been
The Art of War
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Domestic Peace by Honore de Balzac:
greatly embarrassed the Comtesse de Gondreville, who cannot put two
ideas together. Repulsed by the mistress of the house, routed from
chair to chair by each newcomer, and driven into the darkness of this
little corner, she allowed herself to be walled in, the victim of the
jealousy of the other ladies, who would gladly have buried that
dangerous beauty. She had, of course, no friend to encourage her to
maintain the place she first held in the front rank; then each of
those treacherous fair ones would have enjoined on the men of her
circle on no account to take out our poor friend, under pain of the
severest punishment. That, my dear fellow, is the way in which those
sweet faces, in appearance so tender and so artless, would have formed
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Essays & Lectures by Oscar Wilde:
painting? Decorative art emphasises its material: imaginative art
annihilates it. Tapestry shows its threads as part of its beauty:
a picture annihilates its canvas: it shows nothing of it.
Porcelain emphasises its glaze: water-colours reject the paper.
A picture has no meaning but its beauty, no message but its joy.
That is the first truth about art that you must never lose sight
of. A picture is a purely decorative thing.
PROFESSIONAL models are a purely modern invention. To the Greeks,
for instance, they were quite unknown. Mr. Mahaffy, it is true,
tells us that Pericles used to present peacocks to the great ladies
|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 Kenilworth by Walter Scott:
Leicester was obliged to give way to court-forms, and with a
grave and formal inclination of the head, he paused until his
rival, a peer of older creation than his own, passed before him.
Sussex returned the reverence with the same formal civility, and
entered the presence-room. Tressilian and Blount offered to
follow him, but were not permitted, the Usher of the Black Rod
alleging in excuse that he had precise orders to look to all
admissions that day. To Raleigh, who stood back on the repulse
of his companions, he said, "You, sir, may enter," and he entered
"Follow me close, Varney," said the Earl of Leicester, who had