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Today's Stichomancy for William Gibson

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

are always being sought after, is he not at once appointed a general?' Ion replies that he is a foreigner, and the Athenians and Spartans will not appoint a foreigner to be their general. 'No, that is not the real reason; there are many examples to the contrary. But Ion has long been playing tricks with the argument; like Proteus, he transforms himself into a variety of shapes, and is at last about to run away in the disguise of a general. Would he rather be regarded as inspired or dishonest?' Ion, who has no suspicion of the irony of Socrates, eagerly embraces the alternative of inspiration.

The Ion, like the other earlier Platonic Dialogues, is a mixture of jest and earnest, in which no definite result is obtained, but some Socratic or

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tales and Fantasies by Robert Louis Stevenson:

of voice, 'I want you to take me away,' she added.

'Away?' he repeated. 'How? Where?'

'To-day,' she said. 'I do not care where it is, but I want you to take me away.'

'For how long? I do not understand,' gasped Dick.

'I shall never come back here any more,' was all she answered.

Wild words uttered, as these were, with perfect quiet of manner and voice, exercise a double influence on the hearer's mind. Dick was confounded; he recovered from astonishment only to fall into doubt and alarm. He looked upon her frozen

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Familiar Studies of Men and Books by Robert Louis Stevenson:

They seized a fisherman's boat and rowed out - Perry lying far to sea because of the two tides. Their very manner of boarding was significant of determination; for they had no sooner caught hold upon the ship than they kicked away their boat to make return impossible. And now you would have thought that all was over. But the Commodore was already in treaty with the Shogun's Government; it was one of the stipulations that no Japanese was to be aided in escaping from Japan; and Yoshida and his followers were handed over as prisoners to the authorities at Simoda. That night he who had been to explore the secrets of the barbarian slept, if he

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 Perfect Wagnerite: A Commentary on the Niblung's Ring by George Bernard Shaw:

shoulders his way through them, joyously sounding his horn to the accompaniment of their crackling and seething. And never a hair of his head is singed. Those frightful flames which have scared mankind for centuries from the Truth, have not heat enough in them to make a child shut its eyes. They are mere phantasmagoria, highly creditable to Loki's imaginative stage-management; but nothing ever has perished or will perish eternally in them except the Churches which nave been so poor and faithless as to trade for their power on the lies of a romancer.


And now, O Nibelungen Spectator, pluck up; for all allegories