|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Eryxias by Platonic Imitator:
quarrelling: so I said,--I heard that very argument used in the Lyceum
yesterday by a wise man, Prodicus of Ceos; but the audience thought that he
was talking mere nonsense, and no one could be persuaded that he was
speaking the truth. And when at last a certain talkative young gentleman
came in, and, taking his seat, began to laugh and jeer at Prodicus,
tormenting him and demanding an explanation of his argument, he gained the
ear of the audience far more than Prodicus.
Can you repeat the discourse to us? Said Erasistratus.
SOCRATES: If I can only remember it, I will. The youth began by asking
Prodicus, In what way did he think that riches were a good and in what an
evil? Prodicus answered, as you did just now, that they were a good to
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine and Mucedorus by William Shakespeare:
The shepherd's force would have saved thousands more.
Aye, shipsticks, nothing else.
Segasto, cease to accuse the shepherd,
His worthiness deserves a recompense,
All we are bound to do the shepherd good:
Shepherd, whereas it was my sentence, thou shouldst die,
So shall my sentence stand, for thou shalt die.
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin:
much they may differ from each other in external appearance, cross with
perfect facility, and yield perfectly fertile offspring. I fully admit
that this is almost invariably the case. But if we look to varieties
produced under nature, we are immediately involved in hopeless
difficulties; for if two hitherto reputed varieties be found in any degree
sterile together, they are at once ranked by most naturalists as species.
For instance, the blue and red pimpernel, the primrose and cowslip, which
are considered by many of our best botanists as varieties, are said by
Gartner not to be quite fertile when crossed, and he consequently ranks
them as undoubted species. If we thus argue in a circle, the fertility of
all varieties produced under nature will assuredly have to be granted.
On the Origin of Species
|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 Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll:
quite forgetting that the King couldn't hear her. `You make me
laugh so that I can hardly hold you! And don't keep your mouth
so wide open! All the ashes will get into it--there, now I
think you're tidy enough!' she added, as she smoothed his hair,
and set him upon the table near the Queen.
The King immediately fell flat on his back, and lay perfectly
still: and Alice was a little alarmed at what she had done, and
went round the room to see if she could find any water to throw
over him. However, she could find nothing but a bottle of ink,
and when she got back with it she found he had recovered, and he
and the Queen were talking together in a frightened whisper--so
Through the Looking-Glass