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Three-legged frogs and the Chi of Cha-Ching

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
February 14, 2001


Until recently I really haven't given much thought to the ancient art of Feng Shui. I knew it had something to with balancing furniture and flow. I also knew it required incense and candles, fountains and fu-dogs. Old world meets new age is nothing new, and can be quite profitable when marketed well. Besides, who am I to question the need for spiritual accessories?

Billed as the practice of living harmoniously with the energy of the surrounding environment, Feng Shui seemed like a noble enough endeavor. Taught and practiced in the Far East, This faith based science was originally used to site graves. Ironically it was also used for deciding where to build a home, community, or city. 

The practice of Feng Shui emphasizes that water brings abundance, and that moving water indicates moving money. Wind is also a key element harnessed by Feng Shui masters in the pursuit of wealth. Hence the large selection of wind chimes available for purchase. Far from enlightened, it seems what was originally intended to enhance the well being of community is now used for the well being of an individuals wallet.

Feng Shui devotees believe it to be the key to understanding how the surrounding environment influences wealth and well being. By no means should Feng Shui be considered an environmental discipline. Some would see it as the direct opposite. After researching the subject, I see it as another example of ecumenical economics promising to improve the money mojo for those who need to believe.

From what I can tell the High Priestess of Feng Shui is Lillian Too, a Malaysian writer who can, via her website, sell you whatever your environment needs to achieve Yin and Yang balance. Need a three-legged money frog she can sell you one for a mere $28.95 plus shipping and handling. It's very complicated.

Instead of a wholesale rejection of the practice Feng Shui it occurred to me that perhaps it could be used for a purpose that transcends new age greed and grooviness. Using the concepts of the ancient masters, it was time to test their theory against life in Southern California. If the remedy for what ails our environmental imbalance is to be found in the proper placement of candles, I'm all for it. Nothing else seems to be working.

As someone who lives in Leucadia I understand the importance of living near water. Not so much, that I would be foolish enough to live atop failing bluffs, but close enough to understand there is no balance to be found on a pile of eroding sand. If moving water attracts money, the Pacific Ocean is certainly earning its keep. Just look at the amount of capital being spent trying to protect structures while stabilizing something nature will tear asunder.

According to Lillian Too solid features behind your home tap the protective energies, knowing that, it is safe to say no cement sea wall, no matter how massive, is going to protect the homes perched precariously along the coast. It is merely a matter of time. I wonder what the Feng Shui masters would say about individual homeowners who refuse to accept the environmental realities confronting them.

Utilizing the teaching of the masters, developers could go a long way to promote their bottom line. The current grade and fill policy embraced by every bubba with a bulldozer is in direct opposition the Feng Shui principle of undulating land fostering auspicious dragons. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but environmentalists have held for years that clear cutting entire bio-regions to maximize sprawl potential is nothing more than an extended game of Russian Roulette.

Another Feng Shui principle being totally ignored is the - "Always say no to the last piece." rule. Local municipalities, Carlsbad and San Marcos to name just two, will not be satisfied until every last piece of earth is somehow utilized for pressing human needs, like golf courses, and outlet malls. Such an practice is said to be creating poverty energies. The environmentalist  perspective holds that overpopulation and limited resources create those same poverty energies. Not to mention a great deal of road rage.

After a little research I have come to the conclusion the Feng Shui masters of old are just environmentalists obscured by time and prostituted by the new age market place. Perhaps if more of our elected officials would take time to consider place and placement they would stop approving unsustainable developments. Learning to live in balance with the environment is a good thing, we should try it some time. When one expects less from ones surrounding prosperity is much easier to achieve.

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