Curvilinearity and Angularity: The Influence of Shapes and Lines in Our Lives: From Feng Shui to Environmental Psychology

Introduction: Winston Churchill once astutely observed, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us,” highlighting the profound impact our environment has on us. This sentiment is echoed in various disciplines, from feng shui to environmental psychology, suggesting a deep connection between the shapes and lines that surround us and our perceptions and behaviours.

The Feng Shui Perspective on Straight Lines: In the practice of feng shui, straight lines are often advised against, as they are believed to channel ‘shar chi’ or negative energy. This principle stems from the observation that straight lines are rarely found in nature. When examined closely, even the straightest of lines reveal irregularities. For instance, a laser beam, though appearing straight, is actually slightly curved due to Earth’s gravitational field. This deviation from natural forms is thought to disrupt the harmonious flow of energy, or ‘qi’, in our surroundings.

Nature’s Efficiency with Curved Lines: Nature tends toward efficiency in its designs, often employing curved lines. The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but nature optimizes this principle with curves. Consider the sphere – it’s the shape that encloses the greatest volume with the smallest surface area. This efficiency is mirrored in the roundness of the Earth and the spherical nature of galaxies.

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The Armchair Configuration in Feng Shui and Prospect and Refuge Theory: Unifying Tradition and Evolution

The Armchair Configuration in Feng Shui and Prospect and Refuge Theory: Unifying Tradition and Evolution

Feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice, and Prospect and Refuge Theory, rooted in evolutionary psychology, may initially seem worlds apart. Yet, both share a profound insight into human interaction with space, emphasising the importance of creating environments that support well-being, prosperity, and security. We uncover a harmonious blend of tradition and science by exploring the armchair configuration (sometimes called commanding/power position) in feng shui alongside Prospect and Refuge Theory.

How does feng shui influence financial well-being without controlling it, and what can be done about a lack of support at the back of a property? And what can be done about it?

Topographic Benefits of the Armchair/Commanding/Power Configuration/Position

The armchair configuration in feng shui refers to the ideal positioning of a home or structure, supported from the back (like the back of an armchair), protected at the sides (the armrests), and open at the front. This setup offers topographical benefits, creating a natural shield against harsh elements while opening up to positive energies and opportunities. It mimics the natural inclination for sheltered spaces that offer a vantage point over the surroundings, ensuring a site is neither exposed to prevailing winds nor closed off from the nourishing sunlight.

The ‘armchair’ configuration

The ‘armchair’ configuration

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What is feng shui? What is feng shui for? Short definitions of feng shui.

Short definitions of feng shui
There are many definitions of feng shui. Here is my take on it. More importantly, what is feng shui for? What does feng shui do? These are more useful and practical questions that need to be answered. Feel free to email me your definitions of feng shui and what it does (for you).

Feng shuiFeng shui is wind-water
(The literal translation from Chinese and notice there is no ‘and’ between two symbols, so it’s NOT “wind and water” as some authors mistranslate and therefore create a false problem of separation – read more)

Feng = wind/spirit, shui = water/matter.

Feng shui is a holistic interior design.
(And a common sense interior design – everyone on this planet is using feng shui, consciously or not.)

Feng shui is about creating harmonious, healthy and optimum environments for working and living.

Feng shui is the art of placement or, more accurately, the art of positioning yourself in the world.

Feng shui is a physical affirmation or an affirmation with props.

Feng shui = intention + power/energy/relationship + ritual.

Feng shui is a way of ritualising power.
(Power is the ability to be in control, and how much control you feel is directly related to how much power you have.)

“the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Feng shui is space conditioning.

Feng shui is a method of solidifying and physicalising your energy and power.

Feng shui is a complex art based on the Chinese understanding of the dynamic flow of energy throughout the universe. It examines how people are affected by the environment in which they live and consciously acknowledges the connection between our external surroundings and our inner being. (circa 4000 years old)

Feng shui is similar to environmental psychology which is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. It has a broad definition of ‘environment’, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments. (circa 100 years old)

Feng shui is about two things: empowering yourself and balancing yourself. Empowering: managing your power, your energy. Balancing: staying in harmony with nature (the yin and yang of things).

Feng shui is a way of reading, relating to and affecting environments.

Feng shui is about minimising environmental stressors and maximising positive environmental aspects – this is what feng shui does, its function.

Feng shui is the management of power and perceptions about your environment.

“We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill‘s all-embracing definition of feng shui, what it does

Feng shui is the psychology of space.

Feng shui is a ritual.

Feng shui is a prayer with props.

Feng shui is NOT about keeping the toilet lid down.

Feng shui is a metaphor for your home and workplace.

Feng shui is chi/qi (energy).

Feng shui is yin and yang – it’s about balance.

“Feng shui is the art of placement.” Sarah Rossbach

Feng shui is about moving furniture (not).

Feng shui = intention + ritual.
(Three things: intention, +, ritual, where ‘+’ is relationship or positivity).

Feng shui is a spiritual practice.

How to do feng shui and moderate the energy (flow):
If it is obstructed – unblock it
If it is tight – loosen it
If it is lax/weak – strengthen it

Feng shui is love for…

Gaudi’s timeless advice: “To do things right, first you need love, then technique.” describes my feng shui approach.

"To do things right, first you need love, then technique." Antoni Gaudi

“To do things right, first you need love, then technique.” Antoni Gaudi about La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Feng shui will affect you on many levels: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, cultural, relationship-wise, health-wise, wealth-wise and so on.

Feng shui primarily belongs to the category of art and philosophy (Chinese Metaphysics) and then a bit of science.
(I’m working on the science bit and developing evidence-based feng shui). It can be said that feng shui is NOT science since there isn’t enough evidence for it to be called science in generally accepted science.

Feng shui is awareness of living environments.

“If a geomancer can recognise ch’i, that is all there is to feng shui.” Sarah Rossbach

Feng shui’s function is to create affects.

Feng shui is home and reimagining it.

Feng shui is any physical intervention that works.
(For example, if your fridge door opens the right way ie towards the kitchen or work areas, so you don’t have to go around the door to get into the fridge – then that’s good feng shui. Or if you have flexible lighting in your workplace, that’s good feng shui. Or if your computer screen is positioned ergonomically so you don’t look down at it and perform better – that’s good feng shui.)

Feng shui is the spirit embodied.

Feng shui is considered a process, not a one-off event. Sometimes, one off intervention can fix a specific problem though eg dirty electricity with dirty electricity filters.

“Don’t put your life in feng shui – put feng shui into your life.” William Spear