Feng shui is a pseudoscience that was developed in China around 6000 B.C. It is based on the belief that how we arrange our homes, directed by a few principles, allows us to utilise, observe and fuse energy (chi) of different kinds into our daily lives. Our ‘home’ refers to any space we inhabit, which includes ourselves. Could we use the same principles we apply to physical spaces in order to better our external relationships as well? Yes, I’m talking about your dating life as well as your friendships.
We know that what’s going on inside affects our reaction to our environment—in feng shui, the house is viewed as a whole being in which one part is intricately connected to the other. The same theory can be expanded to other aspects of our lives. In The Field, author Lynne Mctaggart reveals that the human mind and body are not separate from their environment, which implies that all matter in the universe is connected on the subatomic level through a constant dance of quantum energy exchange. To put it simply, what you are, even your thoughts, are quite literally what the world around you is too. Beautiful, right?
Respect seems to be at the core of any successful relationship; we should strive to allow another person to be and do as they like as a separate being. But for there to be good energy—good vibes, if you will—there has to be balance on the scale of mutual give and take. Humans are separate beings, like objects in a sense, with their own doors, hideaways, dust and purpose. Like feng shui, we use things like light and darkness, joy or sadness, on a daily basis to navigate the atmospheres we choose to surround ourselves in.
There are five elements that feng shui divides the world into: wood, which symbolises growth and creativity; earth is for stability and balance; metal relates to logic and intelligence; water is linked to wisdom and serenity, and fire to passion and energy.
So how does feng shui relate to romantic love in particular? I was having a conversation with a friend about how we use parts of people to fulfil a whole ideal. Have you ever used a dating app? Been there, done that. You find someone that’s downright perfect, on paper. You wear your good lingerie, or no lingerie—you bring your fire, because you’ve been date shopping for a while and why not, you’re excited. They’re excited too (one would hope). But then, your fingers reach for that app again, and whoops, you’re still shopping. Your perfect date is probably still out shopping as well. Why is that? And, more importantly, what in the world are you two looking for, exactly?
This is when the other four elements come into play. First impressions do fizzle out; fire needs earth to keep it alight. I’m thinking if it’s not a ‘hell yeah’ now, it’s probably a ‘no, thanks’ down the line, but should that be the case? Is the increase in ‘choice’ pushing us towards polyamory? Is it us simply fulfilling a whole ideal, built by parts?
What we tend to look for mostly—maybe I’m just speaking for myself here—is someone to, first of all, allow you to be you, allow you to change who that ‘you’ is, and then love you anyway without too many questions. Nobody wants to be bored, either, but an excess of passion and noise becomes chaos.
Unfortunately in love, we can’t just build a relationship into being. We can’t nudge a chair here, knock a wall down there or push a lamp into a darker corner to create a feeling. A room is much more forgiving than another person when it comes to manipulation. The curated projection of what is right in a physical space is customised only to your preference, it comes from one side only. The furniture doesn’t talk back. But to feng shui with a lover is to, theoretically, dance without bumping into another’s customised preferences.
If we could build a person perfectly suited to us, then we would have done that already, although probably the wrong way. Only you are perfectly suited for you, but we can do our best to bring out the positive energy (chi) from the world around us. That’s the whole point of feng shui—decluttering instead of emotionally consuming and accumulating beyond our needs.
Have a good old feel for what doesn’t feel right, and let go of it. Subatomic energy exchange, remember? It won’t get lost, it’ll just find somewhere else to settle. You could walk through a house blindfolded to see what needs moving, but we have to rely on our intuition. ‘Feng’ means wind, ‘shui’ means water. These two elements flow around the world. In a way, it’s comforting to think that nothing stays still, not even ‘nothing’ stays still—even in the vacuum that’s outside of our world.
There is something called Zero-point-energy, which is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical system might have. The zero point of a vacuum is not zero due to fluctuations in electromagnetic waves, which means energy is still being passed from one thing to another—an atom will never bump into the same one again. If the universe can let go, I’m sure we can too.
Open your doors and windows, let all the waves run through you. Make sure the light gets in. Then, address the elements. What and who allows you to grow, to trust, who makes you want to rip your clothes off, who listens to your silence and your noise? We can apply this to one relationship, or multiple. I may be ripping this apart a little bit, so take from it what you will, and I will too.
People go on dating apps for many different reasons, so it is natural that we all end up having different preferences in which one to use. Whether you are after a specific zodiac sign, your secret crush, or wish to explore ethical non-monogamy, chances are there will be something out there for you. If, however, you have for some reason a specific interest in genetics, and feel like you would never find the perfect app to fulfil your needs, then I have some good news—soon, you will have access to the perfect app for you.
digiD8 is a new dating app that will allow users to match with potential love interests according to their genetics. Yes, you read that right. The app was created by Harvard professor, scientist and geneticist George Church, and is currently still under development at Harvard University. Its aim is simple: to make sure that those who share a genetic mutation never procreate and produce offsprings with a potential inherited disease.
Needless to say, when the news of this app got out it created a big controversy, and understandably so. Church was accused of partaking in what is called eugenics, which is the science of improving a population by controlled breeding. With this new venture, which he calls “whole-genome dating”, Church would have the power to select who can and cannot use his app purely based on their genetics—something that users have no control over, and something that no society should be striving towards, if we’re being honest.
Church’s lab, which is in charge of developing this app, has also received research funding from the notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein—so of course, the questioning of the app, the motives, the lab and Church himself is unsurprising.
digiD8 also raises the question of where do we draw the line when it comes to incorporating science and technology into the most natural and humane aspects of our lives? Church defends his project and finds the comparison of his app to eugenics to be “ludicrous”, stating in a recent FAQ that “[we] are adamantly opposed to eugenics, of superseding personal choice with governmental or community judgment, bullying, and coercion,” and that, instead, the aim is to advocate for “personal choice.”
While the idea is indeed dystopian and precarious, some argue that it is not eugenics. Eugenics is most commonly forced through imposed breeding, sterilisation or extermination of individuals, whereas Church claims he only wants to help people. The main idea is to use DNA comparisons in order to assess whether those matching do not carry any genetic mutation that could cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis or Tay-Sachs disease—which are both extremely rare and often fatal.
Children risk developing the disease if they inherit two risky genes—one from each parent, the chance of which is normally 25 per cent. Because these diseases are so rare, according to the app’s FAQ, users on digiD8 would still be compatible with 95 per cent of other users. Medicine already tries to avoid such conditions, by letting couples who are trying to have a child use preconception genetic testing, in which IVF embryos are selected on the basis of their genes, with some parents choosing abortion after a negative test result.
But even if this can serve for the greater good in medicine, choosing to prevent the birth of humans because they may suffer from a disease is incredibly ableist. While it is every parent’s ultimate goal to see their kids healthy and happy, going as far as choosing their genes seems unnatural and discriminatory.
Ethics pushed aside, perhaps people should think twice before handing over their DNA data over to anyone, let alone a dating app. Social networks tend to have a history of exploiting our private data, and while Church promises that the app will “support a new model in which an individual’s genomic data are not shared with companies or any other individual,” this is a phrase we’ve heard many times before. Just like many other new technologies, approach this one with extra caution and skepticism.