Law the Feng-Shui Way

A state assemblyman from San Francisco has proposed perhaps the most unscientific law in American history: making the California Building Standards Commission impose the principles of feng-shui on new construction.

As if EPA, OSHA, FDA, and ADA regulations weren't enough to keep track of, feng-shui is a set of mystical Chinese rules for augmenting chi (a non-existent but very positive energy permeating the universe and invigorating our bodies) by doing things like avoiding using pointy triangle shapes in architecture and not building houses near t-shaped intersections. Since most people, with their shifty subjective moods, are highly susceptible to the power of suggestion, telling them to feel the "positive energy," "bad vibes," "voodoo spirits," or "divine presence" in a room usually gets some reaction, even though it has no basis in real external stimuli. How damages from feng-shui violations in architecture would be assessed is a mystery.

ACSH's friends, the magicians Penn and Teller, recently mocked feng-shui by showing that multiple high-priced feng-shui experts reached completely contradictory conclusions about how best to rearrange Penn and Teller's furniture to eradicate negative energy.

But I will mock feng-shui by using haiku, a poetry style popularized by the Japanese, hated rivals and frequent enemies of the Chinese.


Pointy triangles
On a Hong Kong skyscraper
Mystics wet themselves


Who moved my sofa? spiritual
Cushions are awry


Exist in my foyer
Cogito ergonomic
I am quite comfy


Lark in a birdhouse
A peasant green with envy
That bird has nice drapes