A clear difference between the thought processes of Earth and Metal was revealed to me to me on a day when I happened to treat an Earth patient followed immediately by a Metal patient. I became aware that I was moving from a room in which a patient was almost obsessively concerned with repeating a story she had already told me several times to a room with a totally silent patient, who left it to me to start the verbal interaction between us. The comparison between the two was very stark and very illuminating, and probably gave me some of the most memorable insights into the differing qualities of the two elements. I could see that Earth needed me to listen and understand. It wanted to be heard, and would not be satisfied with simply telling me of an incident in its life, but had to repeat it several times in case I did not hear it properly. Metal, on the other hand, far from wanting me to hear the processes by which it had reached a conclusion, only wanted to impart the conclusion it had come to quietly by itself in the least number of words possible. It presented me with a complete episode, leaving unspoken the process by which it had reached this conclusion. It was interested only in the finished product. One could say it allowed its mother element, Earth, to do the preliminary processing work, whilst it waited to complete the action, to finalize the thought.
In each case, the speaker, here my patient, was demanding different things from me, the listener, and since these different demands reflected characteristics typical of each element, this could be used as another helpful pointer to a patient’s element. Of course these individual characteristics can become exaggerated the more out of balance a patient is, and less obvious the more balanced a patient is.