|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Euthydemus by Plato:
was a time when the human mind was only with great difficulty disentangled
from such fallacies.
To appreciate fully the drift of the Euthydemus, we should imagine a mental
state in which not individuals only, but whole schools during more than one
generation, were animated by the desire to exclude the conception of rest,
and therefore the very word 'this' (Theaet.) from language; in which the
ideas of space, time, matter, motion, were proved to be contradictory and
imaginary; in which the nature of qualitative change was a puzzle, and even
differences of degree, when applied to abstract notions, were not
understood; in which there was no analysis of grammar, and mere puns or
plays of words received serious attention; in which contradiction itself
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Mosses From An Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
in this howling wilderness!" And he hastened away, leaving her to
watch the fire beneath the gloomy pines.
Reuben Bourne's rapid pace gradually slackened as the pang,
unintentionally inflicted by the words of Dorcas, became less
acute. Many strange reflections, however, thronged upon him; and,
straying onward rather like a sleep walker than a hunter, it was
attributable to no care of his own that his devious course kept
him in the vicinity of the encampment. His steps were
imperceptibly led almost in a circle; nor did he observe that he
was on the verge of a tract of land heavily timbered, but not
with pine-trees. The place of the latter was here supplied by
Mosses From An Old Manse
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso:
And when most hot and bloody was the fight,
By secret paths and blind byways he went,
Till aided by the silence and the night
Safe in the city's walls himself he pent,
And there refreshed with corn and cattle store
The pined soldiers famished nigh before.
With surly countenance and disdainful grace,
Sullen and sad, sat the Circassian stout,
Like a fierce lion grumbling in his place,
His fiery eyes that turns and rolls about;
|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 Gentle Grafter by O. Henry:
porch and studied a newspaper, which was unusual in a man who despised
print. When he was through he took me to the end of the porch among
the sunlight and drying dish-towels. I knew that Caligula had invented
a new graft. For he chewed the ends of his mustache and ran the left
catch of his suspenders up and down, which was his way.
"What is it now?" I asks. "Just so it ain't floating mining stocks or
raising Pennsylvania pinks, we'll talk it over."
"Pennsylvania pinks? Oh, that refers to a coin-raising scheme of the
Keystoners. They burn the soles of old women's feet to make them tell
where their money's hid."
Caligula's words in business was always few and bitter.