A fact that I learned at an early age.
This is how I learned. In my large family, there are the Martinsons. The Martinsons are the Chinese Andersens. It all went back to Cora Martinson who went to China in 1902 to preach the gospel and stayed there and raised her family. We saw them only on their sabbaticals, which means every seven years they came home to reconnect with the good ole USA. But my memory of them was they were really more Chinese than American, so the sabbaticals were kind of an ordeal. I had the sense they were going through the motions and were really hot to get back to their "real home."
We'd have these get-togethers with them, where they'd cook "real" Chinese food (the food sucked) and show slides (the slides sucked). And they'd tell us about the Chinese and some of their quaint, rustic, loopy traditions. Like feng shui. They'd tell stories of how Chinese peasants believe "bad spirits" follow the roads and crash into things and if they crash into something they like, your house for example, they stay. And if they stay. you're fucked. So life in China sounded like a big dodge ball game, where you're spending a lot of time doing stuff to avoid stupid Chinese spirits crashing into you or your fixed assets. Sounds a lot like maoism, doesn't it?
Modern feng shui "consultants" don't talk about spirits. Americans are turned off by spirit talk. They talk about energy and harmony and "sha." They also charge a hefty fee. They claim to possess the knowledge and skill to bring your home into harmonious union with the forces of Nature and the Universe (whatever that means), thus making you healthy, wealthy and wise. They're charlatans, but they're trendy charlatans. A lot of Americans who should know better have bought into feng shui, just like a lot of Chinese who should have known better bought into Communism.
In one of my plays, I have a feng shui scene. A woman (Cuarta) has become rich and she's built a home in Malibu to reflect her new-found wealth. Her husband, Aaron, thinks feng shui is a load of crap. Aaron, of course, is right...
AARON:As for the home. It took a heck of a lot longer to build
than we anticipated.
CUARTA:And cost two hundred thousand more than we budgeted.
YOLANDA:Two hundred thousand?
CUARTA:Can you believe it? It was after the foundation
was poured. That's when Clovia spotted the flaw.
AARON:Here we go again.
CUARTA:For all we know, Clovia saved our lives.
CUARTA:85% of all household fatalities are in homes
not conforming to Feng Shui principles.
PSYCHIC:I was only doing what any psychic advisor
CUARTA:The man Aaron hired called himself a builder.
He had not the slightest grasp of Feng
AARON:She fired him. Then she ripped up the slab.
CUARTA:I brought in monks from the Thai Temple to
perform a purification ritual to mollify the
PSYCHIC:Very important. If you fail to do that, they
AARON:(Swats at the air)
Look! There's one they missed. Call the
Which brings us to T-junctions. A T-junction is, in feng shui parlance, a Road Sha. Houses located in T-junctions are very inauspicious. The negative energy that flows on the road opposite the house will hit into the house directly. People staying in such a property will experience no peace of mind and will be faced with financial problems and terminal illness.
This is a diagram of a T-junction:
So I went out and deliberately bought a T-junction house. Here's a satellite view of it:
I snapped a picture from my front door looking out to the street. You can see Aguiro Street coming straight at me. Those aren't evil spirits, by the way. Just the neighborhood kids....
This has a good ending. I bought the house in 1987. Between 1987 and 1989, the Southern California real estate market was going gangbusters. In the middle of 1988, for example, a median-priced house in LA County was going up in value by $3,500 a month!
So, in 1989, I got transferred to Texas and I had to sell it. I had bought it for $126,500. I sold it for $225,500. It almost doubled in value in two years.
Which leads me to conclude that feng shui is for the small and the stupid and the silly. And for people who have too much time on their hands...