|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Parmenides by Plato:
an unexpected result. It also helps to guard us against some fallacies by
showing the consequences which flow from them.
In the Parmenides we seem to breathe the spirit of the Megarian philosophy,
though we cannot compare the two in detail. But Plato also goes beyond his
Megarian contemporaries; he has split their straws over again, and admitted
more than they would have desired. He is indulging the analytical
tendencies of his age, which can divide but not combine. And he does not
stop to inquire whether the distinctions which he makes are shadowy and
fallacious, but 'whither the argument blows' he follows.
III. The negative series of propositions contains the first conception of
the negation of a negation. Two minus signs in arithmetic or algebra make
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Tin Woodman of Oz by L. Frank Baum:
party halted before a raised platform, on which stood a
sort of throne, consisting of a big, wide chair with a
string tied to one arm of it. This string led upward to
the roof of the dome.
Arranged before the platform, the prisoners were
allowed to sit up, facing the empty throne.
"Good!" said the big Loon who had commanded the
party. "Now to get King Bal to judge these terrible
creatures we have so bravely captured."
As he spoke he took hold of the string and began to
pull as hard as he could. One or two of the others
The Tin Woodman of Oz
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Barlaam and Ioasaph by St. John of Damascus:
answered, `All they that hold on the road that leadeth thither;
for none forbiddeth entrance, if a man but will.'
"Said the king, `And what is the way that beareth thither?' That
bright spirit answered, `To know the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, his only-begotten Son, and the Holy and quickening
"The king, endowed with understanding worthy of the purple, said
unto him, `What hath hindered thee until now from doing me to wit
of these things? For they appear to me too good to be put off or
passed over, if they indeed be true; and, if they be doubtful, I
must search diligently, until I find the truth without shadow of
|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 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:
cellar asked in a pathetic whisper what had become of her husband
who had remained in the street. A shopman who entered told her that
her husband had gone with others to the cathedral, whence they were
fetching the wonder-working icon of Smolensk.
Toward dusk the cannonade began to subside. Alpatych left the cellar
and stopped in the doorway. The evening sky that had been so clear was
clouded with smoke, through which, high up, the sickle of the new moon
shone strangely. Now that the terrible din of the guns had ceased a
hush seemed to reign over the town, broken only by the rustle of
footsteps, the moaning, the distant cries, and the crackle of fires
which seemed widespread everywhere. The cook's moans had now subsided.
War and Peace