|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from A Personal Record by Joseph Conrad:
detached, but resignation open-eyed, conscious, and informed by
love, is the only one of our feelings for which it is impossible
to become a sham.
Not that I think resignation the last word of wisdom. I am too
much the creature of my time for that. But I think that the
proper wisdom is to will what the gods will without, perhaps,
being certain what their will is--or even if they have a will of
their own. And in this matter of life and art it is not the Why
that matters so much to our happiness as the How. As the
Frenchman said, "Il y a toujours la maniere." Very true. Yes.
There is the manner. The manner in laughter, in tears, in irony,
A Personal Record
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Underground City by Jules Verne:
before resuming his work on the farm, he wished to go and visit
his friend Harry, and learn why he had not come to the Irvine
merry-making. He could not understand his absence, for Harry
was not a man who would willingly promise and not perform.
It was unlikely, too, that the son of the old overman had not
heard of the wreck of the MOTALA, as it was in all the papers.
He must know the part Jack had taken in it, and what had happened
to him, and it was unlike Harry not to hasten to the farm and see
how his old chum was going on.
As Harry had not come, there must have been something to prevent him.
Jack Ryan would as soon deny the existence of the Fire-Maidens as believe
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from At the Sign of the Cat & Racket by Honore de Balzac:
floating among the clouds that surround God the Father. The
apprentices snuffed up the exhalations of the street with an eagerness
that showed how hot and poisonous the atmosphere of their garret must
be. After pointing to the singular sentinel, the most jovial, as he
seemed, of the apprentices retired and came back holding an instrument
whose hard metal pipe is now superseded by a leather tube; and they
all grinned with mischief as they looked down on the loiterer, and
sprinkled him with a fine white shower of which the scent proved that
three chins had just been shaved. Standing on tiptoe, in the farthest
corner of their loft, to enjoy their victim's rage, the lads ceased
laughing on seeing the haughty indifference with which the young man
|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 From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne:
gentlemen, may imagine that the velocity we propose to impart to
it is extravagant. It is nothing of the kind. All the stars
exceed it in rapidity, and the earth herself is at this moment
carrying us round the sun at three times as rapid a rate, and
yet she is a mere lounger on the way compared with many others
of the planets! And her velocity is constantly decreasing.
Is it not evident, then, I ask you, that there will some day appear
velocities far greater than these, of which light or electricity
will probably be the mechanical agent?
"Yes, gentlemen," continued the orator, "in spite of the
opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut up the
From the Earth to the Moon