|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Phaedo by Plato:
'that I might injure the eye of the soul. I thought that I had better
return to the old and safe method of ideas. Though I do not mean to say
that he who contemplates existence through the medium of ideas sees only
through a glass darkly, any more than he who contemplates actual effects.'
If the existence of ideas is granted to him, Socrates is of opinion that he
will then have no difficulty in proving the immortality of the soul. He
will only ask for a further admission:--that beauty is the cause of the
beautiful, greatness the cause of the great, smallness of the small, and so
on of other things. This is a safe and simple answer, which escapes the
contradictions of greater and less (greater by reason of that which is
smaller!), of addition and subtraction, and the other difficulties of
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Golden Sayings of Epictetus by Epictetus:
"That Socrates should ever have been so treated by the
Slave! why say "Socrates"? Speak of the thing as it is: That
ever then the poor body of Socrates should have been dragged away
and haled by main force to prision! That ever hemlock should have
been given to the body of Socrates; that that should have
breathed its life away!-- Do you marvel at this? Do you hold this
unjust? Is it for this that you accuse God? Had Socrates no
compensation for this? Where then for him was the ideal Good?
Whom shall we hearken to, you or him? And what says he?
The Golden Sayings of Epictetus