The Ultimate Feng Shui Master Algorithm = Intention + Relationship + Ritual. Top Feng Shui ‘Recipe’ for Success and Solving Problems.
Theories how feng shui works
There are many theories about how feng shui works and I have a least a half a dozen. My favourite, because it’s so simple and it covers all the aspects of feng shui boils down to this: feng shui = intention + relationship + ritual. If you’re a beginner feng shui enthusiasts this will give you a good initial understanding of how feng shui works.
Other classical feng shui theories of how feng shui works include qi/chi, yin and yang, five elements, bagua, compass approaches, form schools, time aspects and so on but by the logic of chunking up or generalisation, they all fall into the category of intention, relationship and ritual which to me is the ultimate master algorithm. Let me be very clear, I’m not against any type of feng shui. My goal as a feng shui researcher and environmental psychologist is to gather all piece of the feng shui puzzle, understand where and how they fit from multi-disciplinary perspectives as well as be very mindful that none of the blind men can see the whole elephant and not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“The grand aim of science is to cover the greatest number of experimental facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.” Albert Einstein
Does feng shui work?
Yes and it all depends on the feng shui algorithm you use. In the same way as “does a recipe for baking a cheesecake work?” It all depends on a receipt and the way it is done. Even the worst cheesecake in the world, that you can’t actually eat is still a cheesecake – it’s just a bad cheesecake. An algorithm is a process or set of specific rules to be followed to solve problems (and in calculations, especially by a computer). In short, an algorithm is a very specific and an unambiguous recipe. To be factual, I’ve used the metaphor of a recipe as a starting point to get a general idea across. A ‘cooking recipe’ may not be exactly an algorithm because quite often depending on a recipe, it doesn’t exactly specify the order of steps, or quantities, etc to follow. As experience shows, especially with new recipes, the outcome might be delicious or a mess. The algorithm always produces the same results if followed correctly in its context. And context is everything. Watch a video about master alogirthm
It might be obvious, but a recipe for baking a cake is only good for that – it’s not good for building an electric car (maybe as a metaphor but not factually). You’ll be surprised that it’s not so obvious for some feng shui enthusiasts who make this basic category thinking error. You’ve probably heard that some type of feng shui advises people to try to solve their financial problems by closing the toilet lid. Which is very disempowering in itself because it suggests that their toilet is responsible for and controls their finances. I resolve such nonsense with a simple question: who is in charge of your finances – you or your toilet?
“There are trivial truths and the great truths.
The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false.
The opposite of a great truth is also true.”
Niels Bohr, Nobel prize winner in physics
And, or, and not and overfitting
At its simplest, every algorithm, no matter how complex, can be reduced to just three operations: AND, OR, and NOT which will be relevant later when I discuss the ‘relationship’ aspect of this formula.
Whenever there is a pattern in the data that is not actually true in the real world, it’s called overfitting the data. Overfitting is a big problem not only in machine learning but in any learning situation as well as feng shui. Overfitting arises when you have too many hypotheses and not enough data to tell them apart. If you have been studying feng shui and haven’t experienced overfitting phenomenon you haven’t see enough of feng shui yet. Confusion and contradictions are very common in feng shui.
Dr William A. Tiller, a physicist at Stanford University with his studies and experiments have proven that human consciousness ‘changes space’ and ‘conditions space’. Feng shui and space clearing are space conditioning technologies – a brilliant way of explaining how actually feng shui works. And once space or building is conditioned or as Winston Churchill pointed out, shaped – the building or space shapes us. Tiller says, “The power of intention alters matter – scientific proof that human intention raises local symmetry in the substratum of space.” Another discipline, epigenetics states that a perception of the environment will affect the expression of your genes and your health. “Is the universe a friendly place?” asks Albert Einstein and how you answer this question will have a direct impact on your life. In short, feng shui is a physical intention or affirmation.
The observer effect
Another aspect of intention is that attention, change and novelty direct energy and information flow as it was discovered in the Hawthorne effect/ observer effect study. In a nutshell, there was the alteration of behaviour by the subjects of a study due to their awareness of being observed, as parents know when they give extra attention to their children.
So, how does an environment conditions or shapes you? In environmental psychology is called ‘priming’ and it refers to the passive, subtle and unobtrusive activation of relevant mental representations by external, environmental stimuli. Priming research has shown that the mere, passive perception of environmental events directly triggers higher mental processes in the absence of any involvement by conscious, intentional processes. “Over 200 studies have shown such priming effects on impression formation as well as on social behaviour. An extraordinarily wide range of behaviours can be affected by subtle environmental stimuli, such as walking speed, speech volume, academic performance, economic decisions.” says John Bargh, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University.
For example, studies have shown that crime rates are famously linked to broken windows, litter and graffiti. But even asymmetry, clutter and wonky edges promote bad behaviour because such visual disorder primes and activates negative mental metaphors as ‘crooked politician’, etc as the old English nursery rhyme suggests, “There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile…And they all lived together in a little crooked house.” On the other hand, studies suggest that if you surround yourself with photos of smart people like Einstein, your creativity and intelligence will be boosted. Of course, the biggest priming effect is how we think and talk to ourselves that makes the difference. You could be living in a perfect feng shui environment and lead a miserable life because of negative thinking and limiting beliefs and vice versa. Feng shui of Nelson Mandela’s prison cell hasn’t affected him in a bad way.
Externalisation of the problems, focusing and anchoring
Feng shui works partly because it helps people to get a healthy perspective and distance from their problems or desires. The external environment becomes a metaphor for understanding the issue. Focus is the key to the realisation and execution of our goals and plans. And it also becomes an anchoring solution to the problem. With physical changes that are visually present, we anchor the positive intentions and focus to feng shui rituals which are basically physical affirmations.
Semiotics is a study of meaning-making, sign process, and meaningful communication. “We anthropomorphise everything.” states Eleanor Sandry, Curtin University, Perth. Humans project intent, emotions and identities on anything from dolphins to homes to Microsoft’s paper clips to LEGO blocks to koi carps, money plants and compass directions. We imbue everyday objects with special meanings. We’re meaning-making machines.
Feng shui bias
Your mostly unconscious biases will influence much of your thinking, decision making and your behaviour. In feng shui confirmation bias, cause-effect, recognition/observation, feng shui ingroup bias and other biases will shape your feng shui outcome. Knowing them, can set you free and allow for greater and richer thinking, being and doing.
|Anchoring||Focusing on one factor, often the first encounter, when making a decision|
|Clustering illusion||Seeing phantom patterns in random events|
|Confirmation bias||Preferentially seeking and recalling information the confirms your preconceptions|
|Congruence bias||Testing ideas by seeking evidence that supports rather refutes them|
|Endowment effect||Valuing things more highly simple because they belong to you|
|Fundamental attribution error||Attributing people's behaviours to their personality, not the situation|
|Gambler's fallacy||Believing the past random events alter the likelihood of future ones|
|Hyperbolic discounting||Overvaluing what's available now relative to what you can have later|
|In-groups bias||Overestimating the abilities and values of your own group relative to others|
|Negativity bias||Paying more attention to bad news and feedback than good|
|Projection bias||Assuming that most people think like you and hold the same beliefs|
|Status quo bias||Favouring decisions that will leave things just as they are|
Placebo (self-fulfilling prophecy) and no-cebo (self-defeating prophecy)
Feng shui works because of the placebo effect or a self-fulfilling prophecy or positive thinking if you like. Your belief in the efficacy of feng shui ritual will direct your energy, attention and focus and will dictate how it might work. The function of feng shui is to give you focus, energy and confidence in your own resourcefulness. An inner belief that you can do it is required. Although, Niels Bohr, Danish quantum physicist, Nobel Prize winner in Physics said categorically when asked why he used feng shui, “I understand that it works whether you believe in it or not.” Obviously, there are environmental stressors such as electromagnetic pollution, dirty electricity, geopathic stress, air pollution and so on that will affect you whether you believe in them or not.
The opposite of placebo is no-cebo or self-defeating prophecy or negative thinking. People struggle with manifesting their goals and dreams, usually, not because of the lack of resources but because of lack of resourcefulness, limiting beliefs and negative thinking.
Relationship in the context of feng shui means inter-connection and interaction. It also means energy or chi or active force. And it also means, potentiality. Once you have a clear intention, you need to affirm it physically with a ritual. You need to actualise it in the material realm.
How do you do it? Don’t position yourself in yin-yang or duality paradigm because then whenever you want to do something about your life – the opposing reactive force will get activated. For example, if you position yourself to improve your health and boost wellness – the opposite reactive forces will get activated, ie illness, etc. That’s how duality works.
Position and align yourself with all potentiality or oneness which has a separate path. It has transcended duality (but doesn’t deny it). Many cultures talk about oneness or immanence and have gods to embody that force. Follow the path of active force and your problems won’t be as much relevant – actually, they will become false problems because you’ve chosen a different developmental path. Einstein suggests, ‘move to a level where the problem doesn’t exist’ because ‘you can’t solve a problem with the thinking that has created it in the first place”.
This is how it works ontologically. History is driven by conflict, usually dualistic between active forces and reactive forces. But active forces are not in conflict with reactive forces. Only reactive forces are in conflict with active forces. An active force is the force of creation. It works by following its own path. Creativity is an active force. It has a morphogenic field that has a function and does what it does ie simply create. We have a choice as to what path of development to follow. A reactive force doesn’t follow its own path – in fact, it doesn’t have its own path at all. A reactive force works by stopping the active force ie it reacts to an active force, that’s all it can do.
For example, impressionists in France (Monet, Degas, Renoir) where quite controversial at the time, when they started their unique way of paintings based on the idea of how changes of light affect your changing perception of physical reality or simply put it that visual experience is a product of light. They were rejected to exhibit their art by the previous generation of realists, who had a monopoly on who could exhibit at the art salons. So what did impressionists do? They organised their own salon exhibition called the Salon des Refusés. So as a new art movement the impressionist set themselves not to be in opposition to previous art and rather than write their artistic manifesto in opposition to realist art, they formed their own path and followed it.
In short, ask yourself ‘what do I want?’ and go for it whilst transcending dualistic opposites. And this where the three algorithmic operations: AND, OR, and NOT become relevant. Reject ‘or’ and ‘not’ commands and use only ‘AND’ command so feng shui = intention AND ritual and that’s how you connect it and make it relational. Connect, connect and connect. Follow Michelangelo advice on creating “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
Rituals are part of every culture as a way of celebrating key life events and customs from marking birth, marriage and death. Rituals connect and bind people together. A ritual is an activity you do once or several times in a specific and prescribed way (conscious or unconscious). Feng shui is a ritual. A ritual can be seen as an algorithm. It can also be seen as a useful or not so useful habit. Up to 40% of our behaviour is habitual. To break a bad habit, a new habit needs to be established and that’s where rituals are very handy. Any ritual has the potential of breaking the pattern of a bad habit. What rituals do is they force you to become a different person or perform a different behaviour or interact with others in a different manner. You enter a ritual space of ‘as if’ when you act as a different person and intent a different outcome for your situation. What matters here is that a ritual breaks your habitual pattern in order to get a different response from the world around you. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what ritual you use, as long as it works.
For example, feng shui suggests hanging a prismatic crystal in the wealth area of your home or office to boost your money prospects and this ritual does seem to work for most people, creating an aesthetically pleasing rainbow effect when the sun shines on it. Over the years, I’ve experimented with this feng shui remedy and for fun, I got the same positive results, by hanging a chewing gum or a piece of paper with a word ‘crystal’ on it when a crystal wasn’t readily available. How come? Because the ritual is the servant of the intention. It works because of the placebo effect. Having said that, some rituals work better because they have a stronger morphic field (informational, conscious memory or habit) ie they’ve been used for centuries and they have their active, creative force better established and for longer.
“Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations we can perform without thinking about them.” Alfred North Whitehead
‘As if’ principle
William James, the father of psychology suggested this principle, “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” This is another explanation for how feng shui interventions or rituals work. By performing a physical act of changing your environment with a specific intention you follow ‘fake it, till you make it’ heuristic.
Horses for courses
Most people don’t know how the electricity works but this doesn’t stop them from using a toaster. And there are many ways electricity can be used in the same way as there are at least 365 ways of washing up. There is an infinite number of feng shui interventions, in the same way as different cuisines can be combined in an infinitely creative number of ways.
“Information is physical” Rolf Randaur
Design your own feng shui algorithm
Once you understand how the feng shui master algorithm works, you will be able to see this pattern in other disciplines and be able to transfer it to feng shui – in factual or metaphoric ways. For example, Andrew Taylor Still, the father of osteopathy, taught a simple, introductory rule of thumb to his osteopathic students: “If it is obstructed – unblock it. If it is tight – loosen it. If it is lax – strengthen.” Which can be translated into feng shui as: unblock the energy flow, clear the energy flow and strengthen the energy flow, or in short: moderate the energy flow which is one of the key principles in feng shui. So whatever your expertise is, you can translate it into a feng shui algorithm.
In the future, machine learning algorithms will do a much better job than all feng shui consultants combined because they will be more accurate and faster. A feng shui machine learning algorithm will be able to do everything given initially enough data from different sources, consultants, books, clients, etc. For example, if you give a computer enough date about a particular health condition, it will learn in less than a minute how to diagnose a patient for that condition much better than any top doctor can do. Until then, call your feng shui consultant.
As a feng shui consultant, you want to be as accurate as possible. The feng shui process is 90% information gathering and 10% intervention. Be aware that there is a difference between observation and interpretation. Good observers focus on what is relevant in particular contexts and they notice:
• what is exaggerated most
• what repeats the most
• what changes the most
• what is missing the most
Avoid interpreting because it is always incomplete, limited and ‘contaminated’ by your own personal judgment, biases and history. Asking key questions and the perception of different factors (such as appearances, sounds, feelings, objects and smells, vibes) helps to assess the situation more accurately.
The key operations for feng shui algorithm are
Intention: what do I want?
Relationship: how can I connect and actualise my desire
Ritual: what can I do physically / feng shui-wise in my home or workplace to affirm and represent my want, purpose, goal, desire
I want … a new car (you can be specific as to what type, Tesla, etc)
I affirm my desire with a picture of a new car which I stick on my fridge, in my kitchen which is in the success area of the bagua.
I want … better sleep and more energy
I affirm this intention with a new organic latex mattress.