|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Soul of the Far East by Percival Lowell:
it seems to us. The cause lies in what is taken to be the basis of
socio-biology, if one may so express it.
In the Far East the social unit, the ultimate molecule of existence,
is not the individual, but the family.
We occidentals think we value family. We even parade our
pretensions so prominently as sometimes to tread on other people's
prejudices of a like nature. Yet we scarcely seem to appreciate the
inheritance. For with a logic which does us questionable credit, we
are proud of our ancestors in direct proportion to their remoteness
from ourselves, thus permitting Democracy to revenge its
insignificance by smiling at our self-imposed satire. To esteem a
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Red Inn by Honore de Balzac:
night, Wilhelm offered his bed to the merchant.
"You can accept it without hesitation," he said, "for I can sleep with
Prosper. It won't be the first, nor the last time either. You are our
elder, and we ought to honor age!"
"Bah!" said the landlord, "my wife's bed has several mattresses; take
one off and put it on the floor."
So saying, he went and shut the window, making all the noise that
prudent operation demanded.
"I accept," said the merchant; "in fact I will admit," he added,
lowering his voice and looking at the two Frenchmen, "that I desired
it. My boatmen seem to me suspicious. I am not sorry to spend the
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne:
to put any other ideas into their minds, than what I put into my
definition--For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of
noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs--I
declare, by that word I mean a nose, and nothing more, or less.
--'Because,' quoth my great grandmother, repeating the words again--'you
have little or no nose, Sir.'--
S'death! cried my great-grandfather, clapping his hand upon his nose,--'tis
not so small as that comes to;--'tis a full inch longer than my father's.--
Now, my great-grandfather's nose was for all the world like unto the noses
of all the men, women, and children, whom Pantagruel found dwelling upon
|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 Euthydemus by Plato:
And do the Scythians and others see that which has the quality of vision,
or that which has not? said Euthydemus.
That which has the quality of vision clearly.
And you also see that which has the quality of vision? he said. (Note:
the ambiguity of (Greek), 'things visible and able to see,' (Greek), 'the
speaking of the silent,' the silent denoting either the speaker or the
subject of the speech, cannot be perfectly rendered in English. Compare
Aristot. Soph. Elenchi (Poste's translation):--
'Of ambiguous propositions the following are instances:--
'I hope that you the enemy may slay.
'Whom one knows, he knows. Either the person knowing or the person known