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Today's Stichomancy for Kurt Vonnegut

The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from The Republic by Plato:

Plato constructs the first or primitive State, introducing the elements of political economy by the way. As he is going to frame a second or civilized State, the simple naturally comes before the complex. He indulges, like Rousseau, in a picture of primitive life--an idea which has indeed often had a powerful influence on the imagination of mankind, but he does not seriously mean to say that one is better than the other (Politicus); nor can any inference be drawn from the description of the first state taken apart from the second, such as Aristotle appears to draw in the Politics. We should not interpret a Platonic dialogue any more than a poem or a parable in too literal or matter-of-fact a style. On the other hand, when we compare the lively fancy of Plato with the dried-up


The Republic
The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from The Cavalry General by Xenophon:

breed horses,[17] owing to their wealth; whereas, if they enter the service[18] during your term of office, you will undertake to deter their lads from mad extravagance in buying horses,[19] and take pains to make good horsemen of them without loss of time; and while pleading in this strain, you must endeavour to make your practice correspond with what you preach.

[14] Lit. "by bringing them into court, or by persuasion," i.e. by legal if not by moral pressure. See Martin, op. cit. pp. 316, 321 foll.

[15] i.e. "would cause you to be suspected of acting from motives of gain."

The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from Virginibus Puerisque by Robert Louis Stevenson:

women are old maids; and that those old maids, and wives who are unhappily married, have often most of the true motherly touch. And this would seem to show, even for women, some narrowing influence in comfortable married life. But the rule is none the less certain: if you wish the pick of men and women, take a good bachelor and a good wife.

I am often filled with wonder that so many marriages are passably successful, and so few come to open failure, the more so as I fail to understand the principle on which people regulate their choice. I see women marrying indiscriminately with staring burgesses and ferret-faced, white-eyed boys, and