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Today's Stichomancy for Stephen Hawking

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

THEAETETUS: Exactly; no better description of him could be given.

STRANGER: Let us now take an illustration, which will still more clearly explain his nature.

THEAETETUS: What is it?

STRANGER: I will tell you, and you shall answer me, giving your very closest attention. Suppose that a person were to profess, not that he could speak or dispute, but that he knew how to make and do all things, by a single art.

THEAETETUS: All things?

STRANGER: I see that you do not understand the first word that I utter, for you do not understand the meaning of 'all.'

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Dream Life and Real Life by Olive Schreiner:

I could not wind it up and put it away. Men were curious creatures, who liked me, I could never tell why. Only one thing took from my pleasure; I could not bear that they had deserted her for me. I liked her great dreamy blue eyes, I liked her slow walk and drawl; when I saw her sitting among men, she seemed to me much too good to be among them; I would have given all their compliments if she would once have smiled at me as she smiled at them, with all her face breaking into radiance, with her dimples and flashing teeth. But I knew it never could be; I felt sure she hated me; that she wished I was dead; that she wished I had never come to the village. She did not know, when we went out riding, and a man who had always ridden beside her came to ride beside me, that I sent him away; that

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Criminal Sociology by Enrico Ferri:

which are not punished, for lack or inadequacy of evidence, and the frequency of trials which are based solely on circumstantial hints, it is easy to see the practical utility of the primary connection between criminal sociology and penal procedure.

The practical application of anthropometry to the identification of criminals, and to the question of recidivism, which was begun in Paris by M. Bertillon, and subsequently adopted by almost all the states of Europe and America, is too familiar to need description. It will be sufficient to recall the modifications of Bertillon's system by Anfosso, with the actual collection of anthropometric data, and their inclusion in the ordinary records

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 Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie:

"What do you mean by you 'suppose'? Your brother has no children. You *WOULD inherit it, wouldn't you?"

"Yes."

"Ah, that's better," said Heavywether, with ferocious geniality. "And you'd inherit a good slice of money too, wouldn't you?"

"Really, Sir Ernest," protested the judge, "these questions are not relevant."

Sir Ernest bowed, and having shot his arrow proceeded.

"On Tuesday, the 17th July, you went, I believe, with another guest, to visit the dispensary at the Red Cross Hospital in Tadminster?"


The Mysterious Affair at Styles