|What They Say||Reality Check|
|Your thoughts affect your emotions, your physical state influences your thinking, your thoughts influence your body and so on and on and on.||Robert Park (echoing James Alcock’s famous article) reminds us that our brains are “belief engines.” They process information from our senses and generate new beliefs about the world which are selected by the brain to be consistent with already-held beliefs, but they are created without any regard for their relation to reality.
“Your thoughts affect your emotions…” is urban mythology: a meme to infect the brains of the credulous! The truth is something entirely different.
Let’s see what’s said by Candace Pert, a well-known pioneer in this field:
Antonio Damasio’s lifework on the neurobiology of emotion also exposes the DeAmicis’ assertion as urban folklore.
The truth is so much stranger than the DeAmicis fiction: both our brains make decisions before they let the consciousness know.
Humans, like many creatures, have two brains: the one everyone already knows about (the one in the head) and the enteric brain (the one in your gut).
To add insult to intellectual injury, the DeAmicis betray their reliance on Descartes‘ ideas of how the world works (which, as it turns out, were nearly all completely wrong). Descartes (like the DeAmicis) relied on “folk theories,” as Lakoff and Johnson called them (we call them urban myths or memes) to substantiate his concepts of the world.
Unfortunately, most of what we accept as how the world works isn’t how it really works.
Most of human thinking is unconscious, largely metaphorical, and imaginative. It’s emotionally engaged, not dispassionate.
Being human doesn’t mean we can draw on some sort of transcendent thinking — we cannot know our minds by self-reflection. We have to approach things empirically.
In fact, because of our different conceptual systems, reason isn’t something universal in humans.
|An ancient herbal tradition called Signatures explains that we can know plants by their shape and color, and their similarity to parts of the body. The human body, on the most intimate level, knows the world through the shapes and colors it perceives. It’s from this physiological reality that Form School developed. It could be called the physical, shape or taste school, because the body touches and tastes the world in order to know it.||The Doctrine of Signatures began as a spiritual philosophy with the belief that the Christian God marked everything with a sign that indicated the item’s true purpose.
The writings of Galen (131 to 200 CE) allude to this idea, but the book Signatura Rerum (“The Signature of All Things”) written by Jacob Boehme and published in the first half of the 17th century shows the idea as a complete philosophy.
The Doctrine of Signatures didn’t influence feng shui because feng shui was already 5,000 years old.
Joey Yap, in “Identifying a Classical Feng Shui System” (2002) explains the beginnings of feng shui from one school and it did not apply “psychology, superstition or make-believe positive thinking.”
This original school, as scholars know from archeological evidence, involved astronomy and the location of astronomical features in the landscape, including solar gain.
Of course this list doesn’t exhaust the techniques, it just names the more common ones. Keep in mind that mathematical computations form the basis of all of these techniques.
To quote Joey:
|Your physical body is aware of a multitude of information that it rarely shares with the conscious mind.||Again from Candace Pert:
To repeat: most of human thinking is unconscious, largely metaphorical, and imaginative. It’s emotionally engaged, not dispassionate. Being human doesn’t mean we can draw on some sort of transcendent thinking — we cannot know our minds by self-reflection. We have to approach things empirically. In fact, because of our different conceptual systems, reason isn’t something universal in humans.
Our bodies and our brains, along with our interactions with the world around us, provide mostly unconscious cues for our sense of what is real.
|A clear indication that you’re using Form methods is that someone is moving heavy objects around.||Which “form methods” would those be, exactly, when San He feng shui uses mathematical formulas as its methods?|
|Coming from below, the physical schools tend to be feminine and Yin in nature.||Barbara Walker notes that
Based on the previous list of techniques, which “physical schools” do the DeAmicis define as “feminine and yin”?
Racial profiling with the DeAmicis
There also exists a disquieting racist subtext in all of the DeAmicis’ works.
In Feng Shui and the Tango they said that
For the DeAmicis, Chinese astrology is “graceful” while western astrology is “precise.” page 149
yin = small lower moist graceful Asian =. feminine
yang = large upper dry precise Euro-American = masculine
This is all racist nonsense. Ralph and Lahni are merely broadcasting to the world their poor understanding of Yin Yang Theory by forging it into a finely-tempered weapon of racial and sexual prejudice.
In Chinese science (of which feng shui is a part) yin is supplied when movement reaches a limit and comes to rest. Yin and yang are the only two components of qi operating in nature successively in a wavelike motion.
There is no one “Asian culture” because Asia is a huge continent — Israelis are from Western Asia, Uyghurs from Central Asia, Mongolians from Northern Asia, the Han are from Eastern Asia, and Sikhs and Hmong are from South-east Asia. Not all of these are “small” people and not all of them are consistently “dark-haired.”
There are plenty of strongly patriarchal cultures in Asia (including Chinese) whose members would deeply resent being labeled small, moist and anything remotely feminine.
A variety of crops are grown throughout Asia, including rice. However, rice growing is generally confined to particular climatic conditions, below the 40th parallel. Most of Asia does not provide an adequate climate to grow rice — and never has.
Americans invented racial profiling, including the term. The DeAmicis use racial stereotypes to broadcast their knowledge of feng shui. How much more insular (and xenophobic) can you get?
The DeAmicis fail to differentiate Chinese body types. They make the blanket assertion that all Asians are “small” (Ralph, who is average height for an American male at six-foot-two, is of course comparing them to himself).
Perhaps they saw someone Chinese at a distance, or on television; they don’t seem to encounter Chinese in real life.
How do they explain the many tall people in China (as tall as, and taller than, Ralph) and Chinese basketball stars like Shangai-born Yao Ming who stands seven-foot-two (2.26 meters)?
Along with the racial/ethnic subtexts the DeAmicis assign gendered properties to yin and yang, crops, astrology, and feng shui.
These valuations provide us with a deep understanding of the hierarchy the DeAmicis assign to the categories Euro-American and Chinese, and that serve as the basis for their discrimination. They communicate the supposed “delicacy” of women and the supposed “strength” of men, here masquerading as yin and yang valuations.
The logic conveys that Chinese culture and artifacts are frail, female, and lower status than strong, male, Euro-American culture and artifacts.
This is the mindset of colonials and racists.
Thinking yang is “dominant,” culturally and otherwise, and rightfully lording it over other groups, asserts privileges that are the invention of the authors. Such subtexts are common because a prejudiced person loves two-stroke judgments (yin and yang, in the DeAmicis’ case).
Such solutions provide definition because prejudiced individuals don’t tolerate ambiguity.
|The weakness of the Form approach is that it requires a huge amount of effort to do the changes properly. There aren’t a lot of quick fixes, or easy solutions here. Someone is going to get muddy and sweaty by the time the corrections are in place. This was a favorite practice in antiquity, where the wealthy and powerful would shape the land, and through that, direct the lives of those within their domain.||In one sense the first statement is true, because You Have To Know What You Are Doing, which means You Have To Have a Sound Education In Feng Shui.
Why should a sound education and expertise be demonized as a “weakness”?
|To create your well being, remember that what you think creates who you are. How you talk to yourself foretells the future you’ll enjoy. The ideas you build your life with become the pillars supporting the dome above your temple. This is the approach of the Compass School, as well as the Geomancy passed down through the Egyptians.||Brain chemistry affects your perceptions of the world. Someone whose brain chemistry changes (for reasons as different as pregnancy, allergy, or vitamin deficiency) does not become somebody else — which is absurd — they merely think differently. You have to peel away the first three sentences in this paragraph to get past the inane psychobabble.
There’s no evidence in text or archeology that what the DeAmicis call “compass school” is any of what they say. Remember, “form school” uses a compass, called the San He compass.
The notion of “what you think creates who you are” is straight out of the positive thinking school which developed in 19th century spiritualist circles in Europe and America. It’s the same mindset that produced The Secret.
The DeAmicis should be able to quote at length from any of the classic feng shui texts to substantiate their assertions.
Additionally, they are unclear as to what they define as “geomancy” and what was “passed down through the Egyptians.” They also claim geomancy dates from the type of the pyramids at Giza which they say defy dating.
Actually they have no clue, but they’ll be quite happy to take your money anyway.
The reason this material is so hazy is that (a) they were too lazy to look up the facts so (b) they’re making it up and (c) that makes it easier to sell to the credulous.
|… the human experience rushes about, full of emotions, yearnings and daily needs. This is the most emotional and ephemeral way to approach Feng Shui. … The Moon is the fastest moving object in the sky.||This is written not to make sense, but non-sense. It’s hard to know what is meant by an emotional and fleeting (ephemeral) approach to feng shui, especially when what’s thrown in at the end doesn’t connect with the beginning of the thought: Cogito ergo non sequiteur.|
|This emotional approach is found in the Mystical Schools that make their changes in the interior environment. It is a person-concerned method that works through managing the flow of human energy.||“Mystical Schools,” of course, is given no definition, so you can use your imagination. It really means nothing. Like most confidence tricks it allows your brain to fill in the blanks.
Additionally, “human energy” was originally defined by the spiritualist movements of the 19th century, and later used by the Granddaddy of all self-help authors (Norman Vincent Peale). It actually refers to your determination or willpower.
|In an apartment house brimming with people, the collective human energy is often the most powerful element at work.
Understanding how to control the resonance of that energy is essential. Recognizing the design of the human aura and how to activate sections of it can bring quick results.
|Why is it important to be able to control the auras of people in an apartment building? Are we hoping for feng shui fascism along with the racism?
“Human energy” is determination. There’s no “resonance” of determination.
I challenge the DeAmicis to identify the frequency of this alleged “human energy” and its “resonance,” and the instrument they used to record it, then register and win the million-dollar prize James Randi offers for such assertions.
There’s no such thing as “auras,”and no way to “activate sections of it” unless you are truly the most gullible of individuals. In that case, you deserve to study with these quacks.
|This approach is often implemented through the use of small objects like chimes, mirrors crystals, flowers, plants and pictures. … you don’t even have to get muddy to do it. It’s an easy system to teach, and simple to use. It doesn’t require bulldozers, compasses or adding machines.||Earlier they made a comment about getting “muddy and sweaty.” They also claimed that “there aren’t a lot of quick fixes, or easy solutions” — yet here just the opposite is suggested.
They hope that by now you have forgotten what they said earlier. They think they have hoodwinked you into believing their version of “form school” which is an “easy system to teach, and simple to use.”
Fraudsters hope you have a short memory, and they prefer ambiguous language to make it easier to wriggle their way out of any legal action that may result.
|These folks aren’t well-educated about the subject matter they’re discussing, or this excerpt would have a lot less psychobabble, word salad, and no racist agenda.
They tell you NOTHING about the techniques or “schools” of feng shui but plenty about their ignorance and biases.
As Robert Park notes, if authors seem to have lost touch with reality in their books there’s no way their next publication will return to it. Believing the lie, and selling it to consumers willing to believe the most outlandish things, is far more lucrative and easy.
The DeAmicis have created another mental theme park in this excerpt “Which School Works Best for You? Understanding Why there are Diverse Schools of Feng Shui” from Power Feng Shui (also known as Feng Shui American Style), the newest waste of trees churned out by their vanity publishing house.