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Today's Stichomancy for Voltaire

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

THEAETETUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: Let us take you and me, or anything as an example:--There is Socrates in health, and Socrates sick--Are they like or unlike?

THEAETETUS: You mean to compare Socrates in health as a whole, and Socrates in sickness as a whole?

SOCRATES: Exactly; that is my meaning.

THEAETETUS: I answer, they are unlike.

SOCRATES: And if unlike, they are other?

THEAETETUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: And would you not say the same of Socrates sleeping and waking, or in any of the states which we were mentioning?

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Europeans by Henry James:

but she knew that she had never been so real a power, never counted for so much, as now when, for the first time, the standard of comparison of her little circle was a prey to vagueness. The sense, indeed, that the good people about her had, as regards her remarkable self, no standard of comparison at all gave her a feeling of almost illimitable power. It was true, as she said to herself, that if for this reason they would be able to discover nothing against her, so they would perhaps neglect to perceive some of her superior points; but she always wound up her reflections by declaring that she would take care of that.

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

the original we may assume that words are akin to the matter which they describe; when they relate to the lasting and permanent and intelligible, they ought to be lasting and unalterable, and, as far as their nature allows, irrefutable and immovable--nothing less. But when they express only the copy or likeness and not the eternal things themselves, they need only be likely and analogous to the real words. As being is to becoming, so is truth to belief. If then, Socrates, amid the many opinions about the gods and the generation of the universe, we are not able to give notions which are altogether and in every respect exact and consistent with one another, do not be surprised. Enough, if we adduce probabilities as likely as any others; for we must remember that I who am the speaker, and you who

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 First Men In The Moon by H. G. Wells:

trouble. It ended in a shriek, and everything was still again.

Presently the Selenite turned about, flickered into the shadow, stood for a moment retrospective at the door, and then closed it on us; and once more we were in that murmurous mystery of darkness into which we had awakened.

Chapter 13

Mr. Cavor Makes Some Sugestions

FOR a time neither of us spoke. To focus together all the things we had brought upon ourselves, seemed beyond my mental powers.

"They've got us," I said at last.

"It was that fungus."


The First Men In The Moon