Concept Exchange Society


Wednesday, March 12, 1997 6:30 pm

At Glenn Johnston's House.

Presentation: Meredyth Yates

Feng Shui & The Dynamics of Qi

Pre-Meeting Notice:

Says Meredyth:
The New York Times recently ran an article, "Feng Shui or Feng Phooey?" On March 12, we will explore the history and methods of Feng Shui: the 5000 year old Chinese system for achieving balance and harmony in environmental spaces.
The presentation will include dowsing methods and other experiential contemplations of Qi, (pronounced chee) bio-energy.

Preamble to the Report
Written August 1997

What follows and is labelled 'Report' was written in March 1997 just after the meeting. It is better described as my personal critique of the concepts presented. The result of a critical hearing of the presentation. A more receptive hearing would have been better appreciated.

Meredyth was upset by this report. The good will that I thought I had imbedded in my critique was not perceived that way. I am distressed to find this first instance of acrimony in our group. Meredyth is a valued contributor. Her views add perspective to our discussions.
I invite her to make her own statement of her case. I will post it uncensored.
She also felt that this very public report on the internet could hurt her business. She teaches and performs Feng Shui professionally.

To those who might want her services consider this about Meredyth:
She has a profound knowledge of her subject.
And she presents it with enthusiasm and warmth and humor.

She has conviction.
Who better to employ in a spiritual endeavor than someone as secure in her talent as is Meredyth.

She has courage.
Who among Feng Shui practitioners would walk into a lions den of skeptics to expose and defend her views.

She has wisdom.
There are few people of intuition so open minded as to regularly sample at our meetings affairs of the mind rather than those of the spirit. Meredyth knows that they are inextricably bound together.

In short, even I, an unbeliever, can see virtuosity in Meredyth's art for those who are believers.
To those I recommend her highly.


Meredyth is a precious person.
She has charm. A winning smile. A sunny disposition.

And a distaste for rationality. Too bad.

What is the character of Meredyth's beliefs?
The one word answer is : myth.

On the floor of Chartes Cathedral is a labyrinth - a path laid out by medieval mystics. Meredyth examines the labyrinth. "It altered my consciousness", she reports. "It caught me energetically."

Her topic - and her passion - is Feng Shui; the art of placement. A system whose taboos and rituals you are advised to superimpose on your environment so as to bring well being. Mirrors or water should be over the fireplace. "They punch holes in space. They transfer energy." Put a fast growing plant in the 'money corner' and nourish it lovingly. That brings wealth.

That it is superstition Meredyth acknowledges readily. "But", says she, "it's an ancient superstition. And these bizarre cures seem to have effect!"
Her proof: "I've seen it work."

A thirsty man in the desert sees an oasis?
That he sees it doesn't mean it's there.

Meredyth is thirsty for the exotic and the fantastic. No wonder she sees it.

She is impressed by a pedigree of age. These Chinese superstitions survived over ages.

I ask myself the question:
Why does an idea survive?
Does mere survival of an idea confirm its truth?

My answer is this:
That nonsense survives doesn't make nonsense true!
Rather it confirms that there is a need among people to believe nonsense.

Superstition survives among those who find rational thought irritating. Who find it an unpleasant pursuit. They would rather deal in fantasy.
They advise us to eschew reason. Better "tap the resevoir of knowing which is obscured by rationality." (Quote from Roger House. He puts things well.)

But there are those of us who know rational thought as pleasure, a matter of play, a powerful tool. To us this advice sounds like that of Aesop's fox. Having lost his tail he advises his friends to cut off theirs.

Will watering a plant in the money corner bring wealth? Compare it to the rational thought alternative.
You want money? You focus your attention on acquiring it. You evaluate your talents and your assets so as to mobilize your strengths for the task. You seek out those who have it. You keep yourself aware and tuned to opportunity. You associate with those who are making money. You learn from those with experience.

And if you are wise enough, you keep before you these questions:
What is the value to me of the money I want? What must I become to get it?

And then you embark on the adventure of acquiring it.
In the end the adventure of a rational journey is far more exotic and fantastic than ritual behavior; albeit ancient Chinese behavior.

Better tap the resevoir of rational thought which is obscured by superstition than the other way around.

On the other hand, are we not blessed to have the unreasonable among us. They create theater, art and literature and they preserve our myths.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw

March 1997
Marvin Chester

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© m chester 1997 Occidental CA