|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Economist by Xenophon:
through pure love of husbandry and fondness of toil, he would become
enamoured of such a spot as I describe, and then nothing would
content him but he must own it, in order to have something to do, and
at the same time, to derive pleasure along with profit from the
purchase. For you must know, Socrates, of all Athenians I have ever
heard of, my father, as it seems to me, had the greatest love for
 i.e. out of cultivation, whether as corn land or for fruit trees,
viz. olive, fig, vine, etc.
 Or, "be it a dead thing or a live pet." Cf. Plat. "Theaet." 174
B; "Laws," 789 B, 790 D, 819 B; "C. I." 1709.
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce:
including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and
everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by
those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and
is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile. Being a
blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an
intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is
hereditary, but fortunately not contagious.
OPTIMIST, n. A proponent of the doctrine that black is white.
A pessimist applied to God for relief.
"Ah, you wish me to restore your hope and cheerfulness," said God.
"No," replied the petitioner, "I wish you to create something that
The Devil's Dictionary
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Human Drift by Jack London:
temperament was a combination of mule and jack-rabbit blended
equally. If you pressed your hand on her flank and told her to
get over, she lay down on you. If you got her by the head and
told her to back, she walked forward over you. And if you got
behind her and shoved and told her to "Giddap!" she sat down on
you. Also, she wouldn't walk. For endless weary miles I strove
with her, but never could I get her to walk a step. Finally, she
was a manger-glutton. No matter how near or far from the stable,
when six o'clock came around she bolted for home and never missed
the directest cross-road. Many times I rejected her.
The fourth and most rejected horse of all was the Outlaw. From
|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 Euthydemus by Plato:
cannot be taught at all, or that you are not the teachers of it? Has your
art power to persuade him, who is of the latter temper of mind, that virtue
can be taught; and that you are the men from whom he will best learn it?
Certainly, Socrates, said Dionysodorus; our art will do both.
And you and your brother, Dionysodorus, I said, of all men who are now
living are the most likely to stimulate him to philosophy and to the study
Yes, Socrates, I rather think that we are.
Then I wish that you would be so good as to defer the other part of the
exhibition, and only try to persuade the youth whom you see here that he
ought to be a philosopher and study virtue. Exhibit that, and you will