|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Court Life in China by Isaac Taylor Headland:
have been compelled to issue this decree," said the Emperor,
"because our examinations have reached the lowest ebb, and we see
no remedy for these matters except to change entirely the old
methods for a new course of competition."
"What do you think of that?" I asked the Hanlin.
"The greatest step that has ever yet been taken," he replied.
This Hanlin was not a radical reformer, but one of a long line of
officials who were deeply interested in the preservation of their
country which had weathered the storms of so many
centuries,--storms which had wrecked Assyria, Babylonia, Media,
Egypt, Greece and Rome, while China, though growing but little,
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau:
was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was
done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn--a
wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view
of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had
seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar
institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend
what its inhabitants were about.
In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole
in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit,
and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and
an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again,
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience