A Scientific Understanding of Feng Shui
Presentation at the 3rd International Conference on Environmental Psychology, Siracusa, Italy, Friday 8 October 2021, 13:45-15:00
by Jan Cisek, MSc
Location: Room B – Siracusa Municipal Theater
Via del Teatro – Siracusa (Italy)
Feng shui is a 3000-year Chinese practice for creating harmonious environments conducive to optimum human flourishing. Environmental psychology, an interdisciplinary study, focused on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings (Gatersleben, 2011), has similar aims as feng shui. In the last 30 years, feng shui has gained international popularity and prematurely has been dismissed as merely pseudoscience (Matthews, 2019). Instead, it can be more useful to examine this traditional practice for what it might offer. A scientific vantage point enriched by feng shui insights can be made useful to modern sensibilities. I will present evidence for some of its claims by drawing from relevant scientific disciplines such as environmental psychology, sleep science, biophilia, spirituality, semiotics, priming, placebo and epigenetic. I’ll also re-examine feng shui in its indigenous context to see how some of its concepts accord with modern Western understandings of place identity, place attachment, urban planning and human behaviour, nature-based solutions and inclusive design. My approach is transcultural (Glover & Friedman, 2015) and transpersonal (Friedman & Hartelius, 2015). I’ll examine how people who practice feng shui consciously acknowledge the connection between external surroundings and inner being to benefit their productivity and wellness.