Feng Shui and Social Media.

Feng Shui associated claims in social media promises that good things will happen to you if you do what the person claiming ‘Feng Shui’ says. One example of this wisdom, from ancient China, recognizes the extra days in a given month. According to Feng Shui, these days hold some special meaning that one must act on to gain riches. If not, terrible things will happen. This isn’t just a sarcastic invention to make fun of Feng Shui, this is an actual example of one of the many Feng Shui claims currently circulating in social media.

There are some problems with this but first, let’s take a look at what Feng Shui is.

Feng Shui is a belief, originating in ancient China, which at its most basic element, draws upon astrology for help in placing a physical object so that it will be in harmony and balance with its surroundings. Here’s the catch – it deals with the placement of buildings. It does not mean that moving your garbage can into the center of the room will achieve greater harmony so that Aunt Jean in Tulsa will suddenly arise from her coma.

The people of ancient China believed (like many other cultures) in achieving balance and harmony in their architecture. Ancient Egyptian buildings were, reportedly, situated based on ‘energy lines’. North American natives used important spiritual sites, as did Druids in ancient Europe.

Sometimes, buildings were placed in accordance to important astrological or solar events. Many cultures throughout history have had a version of this concept. In modern times, throughout the world, people still build upon important sites that have historical, cultural or faith based importance. Freedom Plaza in New York City, for example, is a modern example of a location taking on very important significance for people after a terrible moment in their history. Feng Shui is still practiced by the Chinese, and it is not unusual during current land deals today to see a Feng Shui expert being consulted.

This brings us back to the original example at the top of the article and some of problems with the claims of Feng Shui.

The first is that the ancient Chinese did not use the same calendar that we use today. So, the ancient Chinese did not recognize an extra week in July, for example. Also, the practitioners of Feng Shui use a complex system to arrive at their answers, rather than hopeful random clicking of buttons like a room full of monkeys at keyboards attempting to recreate Shakespeare. And the next, most obvious, answer is: because it’s spam.

Quite often, spam is set up to circulate something to draw people into sharing. Obviously, it’s based on the promise that something good will happen, as very few people would share something if it promised to smash your toes with a rock. The only person for whom it does any good is the person who set up the promise in the first place.

How? Simple. Some advertisers pay people based on how many views the ad for a product receives. By setting up a hopeful message, which people will readily share for the chance of an easy gain, the message circulates far more than it would have if the advertiser had attempted to draw people to it honestly. The creator of the message can now claim (and show) a high volume of views and then benefit from a higher payout.

It seems highly unlikely that ancient wisdom about balance and harmony has anything to do to with clicking ‘Share’ on modern, electronic social media.

It is also important to note that the belief in Feng Shui as mystic cure-all became popular about 15-20 years ago. This is about the time that belief in tarot cards and crystals began fading. People stopped phoning psychic hotlines or attending seminars to learn about their past lives. There are those who will decry this article as being uninformed. Keep in mind that this will be said by the same people who want you to share their message, or who don’t want to admit that they spent money on a book which advised them to glue their couch to the wall.

John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight

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