After attending a lengthy and insightful talk about Feng Shui, I have been evaluating my own views a little. This talk, based in Taoism, explained that Feng Shui is far less mystical than it is practical. The rules line up with logic that would have been used at the time.
For example, much of Feng Shui is concerned with good flow in the space. Logically, in the days before air conditioning, the flow in the house would have been vital to keeping the dwelling at a manageable temperature, thus improving the comfort and even health of those within. This is a very broad example, but the talk went into great detail about how practical the ideas of Feng Shui really were.
This got me thinking. Many people scoff at ideas such as Feng Shui as complete nonsense for the weak of mind. They easily dismiss old wives' tales as unproven, unscientific hokum. I must admit that I count myself among them, as someone who easily dismisses many things that have no scientific backing and always insist on sources for arguments.
The talk of Feng Shui got me thinking though. Perhaps it is nearsighted to simply dismiss an idea that is not proven. Perhaps we should keep an open mind about traditional ways of thinking. We may not agree with the logic behind it, but perhaps there is still something to learn, a basis in truth if you will.
For example, the superstition of not walking under a ladder, is at its heart, pretty logical. Will it bring you terrible luck? Most likely not, but it will put you in danger of falling tools, or increase your chances of knocking over a person standing on said ladder. So while the superstition itself is a bit silly, the practice is somewhat understandable, just for a different reason.
I read once that ancient peoples soaked their beans overnight to ward off the evil spirits contained within (perhaps a metaphor for the gaseous emissions beans are known for?). Indeed, for centuries our ancestors soaked their beans, perhaps for similar reasons, or perhaps simply because they were taught that way. In modern times, research has shown that not only does soaking the beans deactivate many of the chemicals that cause noxious gas, it also makes the nutrients more bio-available and it's really the healthiest way to prepare them.
How interesting that the reason ancient people soaked the beans is easy to dismiss, however the practice turns out to be very valuable. I wonder what other traditions, ancient wisdoms, or practices have been similarly dismissed.
I will still place value on science, evidence, and logic, however I will attempt to keep my mind open to ideas, and think more deeply about the possibilities of a piece of truth in the most unlikely places.