Feng Shui Science and Its Influence on the Western Culture
The traditional Chinese culture has an increasing influence on the formation and development of the modern Western culture. To be more precise, huge part of these Orient rituals and practices are adopted by the contemporary Occident world. This tendency is widespread and it is quite understandable whereas these implications regulate a range of different aspects in various spheres of life. One of such Chinese systems of beliefs is feng shui. It is an ancient Chinese philosophical study of bringing harmony into the human life by the positive changes within the surrounding environment. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago. Feng shui can be literary translated into English as “wind-water” since “feng” means wind and “shui” is water (Field, 1998). The Chinese culture used these powers for description of good health and well-being. Thus, good feng shui means strong health and well-being and bad feng shui is associated with bad luck. Moreover, feng shui is based on the ancient Taoist vision and explanation of nature. People used to believe that land is alive and contains certain energy – Chi) (Kalinowski, 1999).
What is more, it is important to note that feng shui is considered to be one of the Five Arts described in the Chinese Metaphysics. This art is argued as the physiognomy analysis of the surrounding environment by means of formulas and specific calculations. This concept presents architecture in the symbolic terms concerning invisible forces that determine the power incorporated in the buildings. Apart from that, feng shui underlines that these powers are appropriate to the universe, earth, and people. The power connecting all these elements is called “gi chi” energy (Pankenier, 1995).
Historically, feng shui was created and used while orienting buildings and things within them. In accordance with this set of beliefs, all the elements of the new buildings were organized. A lot of moments were taken into account while making the plans of the particular building. However, the style and way of usage could differ due to the local features of a certain territory and its traditions. The aspects that could influence the entire picture of the feng shui usage are: water direction, position of stars and compass (Moore, 2010).
Thus, the essay attempts to understand the essence of feng shui, its substantial influence on the modern Western culture, as well as trace whether it is connected to science, especially environmental psychology among other disciplines.
To start with, feng shui is a philosophy based on the Chinese understanding of the energy flow and its influence on people’s lives and determining the ways in which individuals are affected by the surrounding environment. This aspect of connection between the surrounding and inner world of person is substantial for clarification of the role of this practice in modern culture (Wang, 2000).Chinese people believe that life harmony and success depends on five main influences that are not always under the control of people. Therefore, these influences may be outlined as follows:
- feng shui;
- knowledge and personal experience;
- facts from personal life (family traditions, actions, events in the past, choices that were already made) (Campbell, 2001).
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Feng shui could be also recognized as the environmental aspect of the traditional Chinese medicine. Moreover, it deals with such specific direction of medicine as acupuncture. The main idea of this concept in health care sphere lies in finding harmony and balance between yin and yang, energy of the universe and fife elements – water, fire, wood, and earth, metal. In addition, feng shui also focuses on the energy of moving and changing elements (e.g. landscape, space).
Chi is the determining energy that influences the life of every individual. Nonetheless, this energy could be influenced by multiple factors itself. In other words, it could be considered a specific combination of real and abstract forces from the surrounding environment. Particularly, it may comprise of the energy of space, sun, earth magnetic field, different vibrations, positive and negative thoughts and emotions, objects of the surrounding environment, quality of the air. These factors determine the power that chi could bring to people’s life and influence their well-being (Montenegro, 2003).
On the other hand, the feng shui is impacted a lot by the concept of yin and yang. This notion is concentrated on the idea that in this world, as well as all things, events, thoughts and emotions in it have two polarizing aspects of their essence. Besides, the origin of yin and yang as elements of this ideology has been traced from the Chinese philosophy of Taoism (Emmons, 1992).Among the examples of two polarized sides of every event and circumstance in life day and night, heat and cold, good and bad, male and female can be named, to list a few. Furthermore, the proper balance of yin and yang is absolutely necessary to achieve harmony and positive energy. In case this correlation is imbalanced, positive outcomes of following feng shui cannot be achieved.
As it has been previously mentioned, the philosophy under consideration is influenced a lot by the power and energy of five primary elements – water, wood, metal, earth, fire. These components are also known as the five stages of transformations. Moreover, each of them is connected with specific compass direction, shape, and color among other attributes (Lewis, 2006).
One needs to understand that feng shui is not magic or a power tool. It is the amount of theoretical grounds and practical instruments and techniques that are used as the philosophical concept of energy distribution. However, positive feng shui could bring visible harmony to the place where people work, life, and study. Additionally, it is based on positive thinking. Thus, to reach harmony, individual has to believe in the power of energy that one is going to use in order to improve own life.
Practical Application of the Philosophy under Analysis in the West
Nowadays, following the ideas and advices of feng shui becomes main stream not only for Chinese people. This tractate has gained its popularity among the Western population as well. The research of the implementation of feng shui practices is regularly held by the Feng Shui Society Accredited Consultants. It shows the rates of its usage among individuals, enterprises, other commercial structures in the United Kingdom and in Europe. The results of the research evidence that there is a huge number of corporate organizations that have followed advises given by the Feng Shui Society Accredited Consultants. This list even includes Coca Cola, British Airways, Hilton Hotels, Cyprus World Trade Center and a lot of other companies. What is more, interviews demonstrate that people have used to follow feng shui while building their homes, placing furniture, putting plants. Individuals also apply for help of feng shui practices while communicating and developing relations, when getting married and in health care.
Feng Shui vs. Science
To a great extent, the Western business world knows and implements feng shui through the lens of work performed by Jan Cisek – a leading international expect in these practices, consultant and trainer in the field. He has acquired huge experience in this sphere. Specifically, he is researching and studding this ideology for more than 25 years (Li, 2004).The scholar used to work with three main schools of feng shui concept, such as:
- classical feng shui;
- intuitive feng shui;
- environmental psychology.
As a result, His experience in this philosophical area is used by top companies of the world and well-known celebrities. Apart from that, he has paid attention to other tracing the connections with a range of feng-shui-related disciplines, such as pollution, radiation, and space activity.
It is to be emphasized that environmental psychology researches the connection between the surrounding environment and human behavior. Additionally, it is linked with a number of similar scientific areas: for instance, psychology, biology, ecology, and sociology. It follows that feng shui may be perceived as original environmental psychology. To be more precise, it studies the emotional relationship between places and people. Moreover, main aims of feng shui and environmental psychology are the same. In particular, both of them concentrate on the atmosphere of harmony in the homes, places of work and study. The major difference these two fields lies in the circle of questions that are included in their concepts. To illustrate, feng shui has much broader view on the life and relationships between people. Environmental psychology is focused primarily on the natural environments and information taken from the cosmos. While feng shui could be considered as art and philosophy, sometimes it contains scientific elements. However, environmental psychology is a pure science.
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Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophical study of bringing harmony into human life by the positive changes of the surrounding environment. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago. As Chinese Culture has an increasing influence on the Western culture, many of the traditional practices and rituals of the former are adapted by the Occident world. Today, feng shui has a growing popularity among various representatives of West. The circle of relations regulated by this concept includes architecture specifications, interior design aspects, and even questions concerning private life and health care (Bruun, 2008). It is generally believed that following the feng shui advices sufficiently improves well-being and total harmony. Therefore, it makes it possible to assert that this ideology is actually real and works in modern social conditions. Moreover, there is evidence showing that the major part of feng shui practices is supported by environmental psychology. However, while Feng shui could be considered as art and philosophy along with scientific elements it contains, environmental psychology is a pure science. Apart from that, the implications of the analyzed set of beliefs are widely used in Chinese medicine (acupuncture), psychology and philosophy and even Book of Wars to Business.