EMP 709 A. So 3 credits
Introduction to Scientific Feng Shui
Feng Shui is an ancient culture of China, still being practiced today at almost every corner around the world. Feng Shui studies the harmony between heaven, earth and men. In modern terms, it is a study of the relationship between human beings, the natural environment and the built environment. There was no such term as architecture in ancient China, Feng Shui being the appropriate terminology for such area of study. According to ancient Chinese philosophy, a person can obtain great benefits if he/she is always working with harmony with the natural environment. This concept is widely accepted today due to the hottest subjects of environmental friendliness and sustainability. So, in a modern sense, Feng Shui could be regarded as a combination of architecture and environmental science, though there are elements within whose principles and effectiveness are still unclear to us.
The western interpretation of Feng Shui (Skinner 2006 page 4) is “To be in the right place facing the right direction doing the right thing at the right time.” Scientific Feng Shui means the adoption of a scientific way to study Feng Shui. Existing rules of Feng Shui could be roughly categorized into three groups, i) those explainable by modern science; ii) those seem workable but not explainable; iii) those look rather superstitious at the first glance. Group (i) could be taught in a university for certain. Group (ii) needs more research but it could still be taught in a university. Group (iii) may have its value but we don’t have enough time or resources to dive into it. Even a skeptic in Feng Shui should learn popular rules adopted by Feng Shui masters. Without understanding sometime in depth, how could we scientifically prove that it is fake or not?
In this course, the fundamental principles of Feng Shui related Chinese philosophy will first be introduced, followed by a discussion on modern physics and various scientific methods that could be used to study Feng Shui. Then, those rules belonging to Group (i) and (ii) of the two Schools of Feng Shui will be presented in more details with a hope that students could make use of rules of the Form School learnt to select a good “cave”, i.e. spot, somewhere and then design the general layout of a good house based on rules of the Compass School. The Form School studies the landscape and the arrangement of mountains, ridges, rivers, lakes, pools, buildings and roads etc. The Compass School studies the integration between time and orientations where numerology is involved. Eight Mansion Method and Flying Stars Method will be introduced.
The key teaching materials of the course come from the instructor’s book, Scientific Feng Shui for the Built Environment – Fundamentals and Case Studies, available from Amazon.com while students are expected to do more literature survey when attempting the two course assignments. Each assignment, constituting 50% of the total score, requires the submission of a 30-page double-lined report, first on Form School and second on Compass School. Students are expected to conduct one or two sight investigations to find a good spot – cave in Feng Shui terminology, and then design a house on the spot, quite interesting by the activities themselves.
Six 2-hour lectures including tutorials will be organized so that the instructor will have face-to-face communication with students through a video conferencing environment. For the rest of time, students are welcome to send e-mails to the instructor or even call him whenever necessary.