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Today's Stichomancy for Robert Oppenheimer

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Poems by Bronte Sisters:

Where the tall turret rises high, And winds alone come near to rustle The thick leaves where their cradles lie,

I sometimes think, when late at even I climb the stair reluctantly, Some shape that should be well in heaven, Or ill elsewhere, will pass by me.

I fear to see the very faces, Familiar thirty years ago, Even in the old accustomed places Which look so cold and gloomy now,

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy:

been planning to go to see you. I wrote to you, and now this good fortune has come.'

'Pashenka, please listen to what I am going to tell you as to a confession made to God at my last hour. Pashenka, I am not a holy man, I am not even as good as a simple ordinary man; I am a loathsome, vile, and proud sinner who has gone astray, and who, if not worse than everyone else, is at least worse than most very bad people.'

Pashenka looked at him at first with staring eyes. But she believed what he said, and when she had quite grasped it she touched his hand, smiling pityingly, and said:

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Republic by Plato:

of such a metaphysic; but when Glaucon asks for the final revelation of the idea of good, he is put off with the declaration that he has not yet studied the preliminary sciences. How he would have filled up the sketch, or argued about such questions from a higher point of view, we can only conjecture. Perhaps he hoped to find some a priori method of developing the parts out of the whole; or he might have asked which of the ideas contains the other ideas, and possibly have stumbled on the Hegelian identity of the 'ego' and the 'universal.' Or he may have imagined that ideas might be constructed in some manner analogous to the construction of figures and numbers in the mathematical sciences. The most certain and necessary truth was to Plato the universal; and to this he was always


The Republic
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 The Princess by Alfred Tennyson:

But that there rose a shout: the gates were closed At sunset, and the crowd were swarming now, To take their leave, about the garden rails.

So I and some went out to these: we climbed The slope to Vivian-place, and turning saw The happy valleys, half in light, and half Far-shadowing from the west, a land of peace; Gray halls alone among their massive groves; Trim hamlets; here and there a rustic tower Half-lost in belts of hop and breadths of wheat; The shimmering glimpses of a stream; the seas;