|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Philosophy 4 by Owen Wister:
the relation of subject and object is implied as the primary condition
of all knowledge. Now, Plato never--"
"Skip Plato," interrupted one of the boys. "You gave us his points
"Yep," assented the other, rattling through the back pages of his notes.
"Got Plato down cold somewhere,--oh, here. He never caught on to the
subjective, any more than the other Greek bucks. Go on to the next
"If you gentlemen have mastered the--the Grreek bucks," observed the
instructor, with sleek intonation, "we--"
"Yep," said the second tennis boy, running a rapid judicial eye over his
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Reason Discourse by Rene Descartes:
desirous that they should know that all the other propositions, of the
truth of which they deem themselves perhaps more assured, as that we have
a body, and that there exist stars and an earth, and such like, are less
certain; for, although we have a moral assurance of these things, which is
so strong that there is an appearance of extravagance in doubting of their
existence, yet at the same time no one, unless his intellect is impaired,
can deny, when the question relates to a metaphysical certitude, that
there is sufficient reason to exclude entire assurance, in the observation
that when asleep we can in the same way imagine ourselves possessed of
another body and that we see other stars and another earth, when there is
nothing of the kind. For how do we know that the thoughts which occur in
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale:
And walking up the long beach all alone
I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder
As you and I once heard their monotone.
Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me
The cold and sparkling silver of the sea --
We two will pass through death and ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me.
On the Dunes
If there is any life when death is over,
These tawny beaches will know much of me,
I shall come back, as constant and as changeful
|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 A Lover's Complaint by William Shakespeare:
The deep-green emerald, in whose fresh regard
Weak sights their sickly radiance do amend;
The heaven-hued sapphire and the opal blend
With objects manifold; each several stone,
With wit well blazon'd, smil'd, or made some moan.
'Lo! all these trophies of affections hot,
Of pensiv'd and subdued desires the tender,
Nature hath charg'd me that I hoard them not,
But yield them up where I myself must render,
That is, to you, my origin and ender:
For these, of force, must your oblations be,