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Today's Stichomancy for Ludwig Wittgenstein

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Treatise on Parents and Children by George Bernard Shaw:

enslave and break in their children by the same means. These children, grown up, knew no other methods of training. Finally the evil that was done for gain by the greedy was refined on and done for pleasure by the lustful. Flogging has become a pleasure purchasable in our streets, and inhibition a grown-up habit that children play at. "Go and see what baby is doing; and tell him he mustnt" is the last word of the nursery; and the grimmest aspect of it is that it was first formulated by a comic paper as a capital joke.

Technical Instruction

Technical instruction tempts to violence (as a short cut) more than liberal education. The sailor in Mr Rudyard Kipling's Captains

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Firm of Nucingen by Honore de Balzac:

ceased to serve its purposes, or to pay dividends, though the speculations were sound. These misfortunes coincided with the events of 1827. In 1829 it was too well known that Claparon was a man of straw set up by the two giants; he fell from his pedestal. Shares that had fetched twelve hundred and fifty francs fell to four hundred, though intrinsically they were worth six. Nucingen, knowing their value, bought them up at four.

"Meanwhile the little Baroness d'Aldrigger had sold out of the mines that paid no dividends, and Godefroid had reinvested the money belonging to his wife and her mother in Claparon's concern. Debts compelled them to realize when the shares were at their lowest, so

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol:

they glowed in the sunshine, and, in short, what with the tears in her wide-open, arresting eyes, she presented so attractive a picture that our hero bestowed upon it more than a passing glance before he turned his attention to the hubbub which was being raised among the horses and the coachmen.

"Back out, you rook of Nizhni Novgorod!" the strangers' coachman shouted. Selifan tightened his reins, and the other driver did the same. The horses stepped back a little, and then came together again--this time getting a leg or two over the traces. In fact, so pleased did the skewbald seem with his new friends that he refused to stir from the melee into which an unforeseen chance had plunged him.

Dead Souls
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 Ursula by Honore de Balzac:


To Mademoiselle Ursula:

Mademoiselle,--I do not conceal from myself the distrust a young man inspires when he has placed himself in the position from which your godfather's kindness released me. I know that I must in future give greater guarantees of good conduct than other men; therefore, mademoiselle, it is with deep humility that I place myself at your feet and ask you to consider my love. This declaration is not dictated by passion; it comes from an inward certainty which involves the whole of life. A foolish infatuation for my young aunt, Madame de Kergarouet, was the cause of my going