|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy:
now to a consciously evoked obliteration of thought and feeling.
Then the sacristan, Father Nicodemus--also a great
stumbling-block to Sergius who involuntarily reproached him for
flattering and fawning on the Abbot--approached him and, bowing
low, requested his presence behind the holy gates. Father
Sergius straightened his mantle, put on his biretta, and went
circumspectly through the crowd.
'Lise, regarde a droite, c'est lui!' he heard a woman's voice
'Ou, ou? Il n'est pas tellement beau.'
He knew that they were speaking of him. He heard them and, as
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Statesman by Plato:
who is able to adapt himself to the endless varieties of circumstances.
Plato is fond of picturing the advantages which would result from the union
of the tyrant who has power with the legislator who has wisdom: he regards
this as the best and speediest way of reforming mankind. But institutions
cannot thus be artificially created, nor can the external authority of a
ruler impose laws for which a nation is unprepared. The greatest power,
the highest wisdom, can only proceed one or two steps in advance of public
opinion. In all stages of civilization human nature, after all our
efforts, remains intractable,--not like clay in the hands of the potter, or
marble under the chisel of the sculptor. Great changes occur in the
history of nations, but they are brought about slowly, like the changes in