|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
almost seemed threatening to cut it in two; the sudden profound dip
into the watery glens and hollows; the keen spurrings and goadings to
gain the top of the opposite hill; the headlong, sled-like slide down
its other side;--all these, with the cries of the headsmen and
harpooneers, and the shuddering gasps of the oarsmen, with the
wondrous sight of the ivory Pequod bearing down upon her boats with
outstretched sails, like a wild hen after her screaming brood;--all
this was thrilling.
Not the raw recruit, marching from the bosom of his wife into the
fever heat of his first battle; not the dead man's ghost encountering
the first unknown phantom in the other world;--neither of these can
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Tao Teh King by Lao-tze:
that name, (men) can know to rest in it. When they know to rest in
it, they can be free from all risk of failure and error.
5. The relation of the Tao to all the world is like that of the great
rivers and seas to the streams from the valleys.
33. 1. He who knows other men is discerning; he who knows himself is
intelligent. He who overcomes others is strong; he who overcomes
himself is mighty. He who is satisfied with his lot is rich; he who
goes on acting with energy has a (firm) will.
2. He who does not fail in the requirements of his position, continues
long; he who dies and yet does not perish, has longevity.
34. 1. All-pervading is the Great Tao! It may be found on the left
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne:
the sun could be observed with advantage. I directed our steps
towards a vast bay cut in the steep granite shore. There, I can aver
that earth and ice were lost to sight by the numbers of sea-mammals
covering them, and I involuntarily sought for old Proteus,
the mythological shepherd who watched these immense flocks of Neptune.
There were more seals than anything else, forming distinct groups,
male and female, the father watching over his family, the mother
suckling her little ones, some already strong enough to go a few steps.
When they wished to change their place, they took little jumps,
made by the contraction of their bodies, and helped awkwardly enough
by their imperfect fin, which, as with the lamantin, their cousins,
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
|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 The Rig Veda:
For Indra laud ye strength allied with Tawny Steeds, laud him
cows content as 'twere with yellow drops.
3 His is that thunderbolt, of iron, goldenhued, gold-coloured,
dear, and yellow in his arms;
Bright with strong teeth, destroying with its tawny rage. In
set fast all forms of golden hue.
4 As if a lovely ray were laid upon the sky, the golden thunderbolt
spread out as in a race.
The Rig Veda