Monday, March 31, 2003

The Neurophysiology of Feng Shui

The Neurophysiology of Feng Shui
[人因工程 ]

The Neurophysiology of Feng Shui

The Triune Brain, by Janet Cunningham

There is not one brain, but three, each physiologically and chemically different from the others:

Neocortex - divided into left and right hemispheres and is the most recently evolved brain.

Left Hemisphere - considered the dominant one by neuroscientists because it is the center of language. It is the seat of rational, analytical and sequential intellectual processes. Right hemisphere - perceives in wholes and can signal the limbic system, such as when you experience a "gut reaction" or other physical sensation. It is the center of random, nonsequential intellectual processes, such as intuitive, visual, and associational. The right and left hemispheres communicate directly though the corpus callosum, a mass of more than 200 million nerve fibers that connect the two hemispheres. The two hemispheres must work together so you can verify your intuitive perceptions.

Limbic System - the most chemically active and chemically volatile of the three brains, evolving after the reptilian brain. The limbic system is the center of emotional activity and sensory-based emotional information, including senses of taste and smell, pleasure and pain.

Reptilian Brain - known as the primal brain, in evolutionary terms, absorbs information in the form of energy that flows up the spinal column and through the pores. Instincts of comfort or discomfort, territory or safety, moving toward or away from things, patterns, habits and routines connect to the reptilian brain.

All three brains and all intelligences are working simultaneously all the time...

Editor's Comments:

In a previous article I discussed the Feng Shui of the standard office cubicle. I pointed out how cubicles need not be as dehumanizing as cartoonist/social satirist Scott Adams makes them out to be, with two non-negotiable provisos. One: a cubicle occupant must never be forced to sit outside his cubicle. Two: a cubicle occupant must never be forced to sit with his back to the opening of the cubicle.

I pointed out how properly designed cubicles ensured that occupants could see someone approaching them. I did not elaborate on why this was so essential, on the assumption that most design professionals understood why. In case anyone remains in doubt, permit me to clarify. It is essential that human beings be able to see when someone is approaching because man's animal nature needs to feel comfortable and safe.

The probability that in any particular office some disgruntled fellow employee is suddenly going to "go postal" and gun you down with an AK-47 is, statistically speaking, extremely low. The Left Hemisphere of the Neocortex assesses risks in the surrounding environment according to such "rational" critera.

But the Neocortex constitutes only one-third of the human brain, and the Left Hemisphere only half of that. The Limbic System and Reptilian Brain constitute the other two-thirds, and "When the reptilian brain does not feel comfortable and safe, it sends distress signals up through the top two brains, which can make it impossible to concentrate on the work at hand." [emphasis added]

As Cunningham notes, "Unlike the left neocortex, which is concerned with external facts, the limbic brain gives you information about your internal world. If you ignore internal dialogue [by overriding it] with the voice of reason, you are allowing the left brain to impose its linear perspective... not letting yourself benefit from information that your limbic brain is giving you is a self-censoring process. And... your immune system is connected to your limbic brain!"

Besides, the Limbic System and Reptilian Brain are sometimes right on the money!

Number of Workplace Murders on the Rise over Last Decade
by J.M. Lawrence
Wednesday, December 27, 2000
About 1,000 people are murdered at work every year - an average of 20 homicides each week, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Modern "rationalists" may object to this perspective as "subjectivist," even "atavistic," but they would be dead wrong. Objective reality cannot be limited to what is "out there," because objective reality includes everything "in here" as well. Human physiology is real, but so is human psychology. Anyone who dismisses human psychology as "less real" than human physiology is not being scientific or objective, but is merely an unwitting victim of Reductive Materialism.

Feng Shui principles and their western environmental design equivalents were not invented, but discovered. They are not dictated by human beings, but by human nature, and will remain valid as long as human nature remains essentially unchanged. Modern "rationalists" ignore this profound wisdom at their own risk.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: The Triune Brain
Illustration(s): The Triune Brain
Author: Janet Cunningham
Source: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect
Publication Date: 2003
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

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