Critical Thinking In Chinese Metaphysics & Astrology

August 26, 2023

Hear ye, hear ye! Mercury is in retrograde now and in none other than Virgo, which is its place of domicile. Mercury Retrogrades is my favourite time of the year because it’s like a festival of cognitive orgasms because my mind spins into overdrive. Why? Because I love where my Mercury is placed – in perfect union with the Sun. Coincidentally, Virgo also represents structure and logic, I believe, especially when it’s the sign that’s opposite Pisces.

I’m not even biased here. I do feel waves of inspiration to write whenever Mercury retrograde is here. That said, and I say this a lot, whatever I say in this post will be nothing new. It’s going to be a recap of a lot of things I’ve spoken about.

It’s not easy thinking about what to write because I’ve covered so many topics throughout my career: basic theory, unethical practices, spirituality, and even religion. But in the spirit of Mercury in Virgo and by sheer coincidence, let’s make today’s topic more structured and hopefully more intellectually rigorous.

People don’t usually see me as intellectually curious but more of a comedian because of what I write. You’ll be surprised by how I feel goosebumps whenever I learn something new or come across something interesting. I was born to lean towards interpreting the world through philosophy, ideas, cultures, and history. One aspect of my mind I lack is seeing it through numbers and formulas. I was never good at math because I grew up not knowing why I was studying it, although I’ve always been inquisitive about it.

Now that I’m an astrologer, I’ve always felt that our application of Chinese metaphysics and astrology can be enhanced if we bring in the intellectual rigour found in the scientific community.

In an ideal world, or at least in my ideal world, we would see how hard science can co-exist with astrology and its theories. With that, we should be able to do away with the rampant superstition plaguing this field, and hopefully, everyone will benefit.

The Source Of Inspiration For This Blog Post

Now, by sheer chance of my doom scrolling, I came across this article that got published recently:

If this doesn’t fascinate you, I don’t know what will. You know that is a Yin Yang symbol.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I had the fortune of having a follower whose husband works as an astrophysicist. The above Yin Yang symbol isn’t a naturally occurring phenomenon, just that the experiment was set up so that they used the Yin Yang symbol to demonstrate the state of quantum entanglement and how information can be kept after certain interactions – whatever the hell that means.

Most people will usually baulk when we try to link Chinese metaphysics and astrology with science, but I’ve said this before: Aren’t both fields simply trying to understand what makes the world spin and the laws that govern it? I love the saying, “God does not play dice.” By “God”, I don’t refer to the conventional meaning of how we interpret it through religion. God or the Divine is simply what makes the world, well, the world.

I’m at a point in my career where I am focusing more on how our ancestors developed the theory of Chinese metaphysics. Knowing how to use it proficiently does not satisfy this brain of mine anymore. I really, really want to make friends with some physicists because they can translate something philosophical into something, well, somewhat tangible.

Quantum Entanglement In Chinese Metaphysics

All Chinese metaphysics practitioners believe in quantum entanglement in some ways – it’s just that we have a different way of describing it. I’ve spoken a bit on this in my post on how to read a QMDJ chart, and we call it 「万物相干论」。 万物 refers to “every phenomenon or objective, whereas 相干 means “coherence”.

Qi Men Dun Jia and its ability to divine the outcome of a situation is based on the belief that everything is bound together. It is also this belief that this invisible link binding every phenomenon is why one symbol, or significator, be it in BaZi or Qi Men Dun Jia, can be used to represent a multitude of things. I’ve explored this in my blog post explaining what 取相 means:

Unfortunately, this belief that everything is connected is also why some morons can’t help but think that they have a link with the divine creator and that everything they see and experience is a sign from the universe. In a way, I believe in quantum entanglement because some people’s brains are clearly entangled with shit.

I’m unsure if anyone’s heard of this famous thought experiment called “Schrödinger’s Cat“. This is the experiment where the cat can be in an ambiguous state of being both alive and dead (poor cat can’t even die properly) at the same time until it is observed, and they call this state “quantum indeterminacy” or the “observer’s paradox”. I’ve known of this experiment since my university days, and it was always at the back of my head as I pursued Chinese metaphysics and astrology.

The Schrödinger’s Cat experiment always reminds me of the fundamental law of Yin and Yang where reality comes into existence when opposing dualities meet. The reality of something suddenly has a manifestation when you can perceive its existence or when it’s observed.

Let me give an irreverent example (of course, we will have one). I will call it “Sean’s Moron”: In this experiment, you don’t know how stupid someone is until this person opens his/her mouth and starts talking. Before you speak to this person, he or she is both intelligent and stupid, which is another way of saying you don’t know whether you will regret meeting this person. However, once this person starts yapping, that’s the moment you observe something and reality comes into existence. The difference here is that when you start to ‘observe’ this person, you end up wishing this person was dead – like the cat – although most of us would want the cat to live, especially if it’s a Scottish Fold.

Now, I am no physicist and don’t know if that’s an excellent parallel to Schrödinger’s cat. But hey, it works for me.

I think the best way to explain how quantum entanglement, Superstring theory, 「万物相干论」, or whatever it is to call it, is to use a Qi Men Dun Jia thought experiment. I’ve spoken about this before, but it probably got lost in the sea of text in my blog. Let’s bring in a Qi Men Dun Jia chart:

A Qi Men Dun Jia chart changes every two hours. The Ascendant or First House also changes approximately every two hours in Western horary. This, in essence, changes the entire chart and its interpretations.

Let’s do a thought experiment here:

  • Suppose I am sitting in a room giving consultations, and five people are waiting outside with a specific question in mind. I have 24 minutes to spend with each of them, which is plenty of time to complete a Qi Men Dun Jia divination.
  • In those two hours, I only have that one Qi Men Dun Jia chart you see above to utilise, and whatever I see in the above chart must apply to all five of them. It could even be ten people with 12 minutes to spend with each.
  • One Qi Men Dun Jia chart can apply to all five to ten people because of the theories we’ve been exploring above. We already know that a Stem, Branch, or Sector in a chart can represent different things, but what it means in a given situation depends on who is asking the question.

Suppose Person No. 1 comes to ask me about marriage, I would be looking at where 乙 Wood is; if Person No. 2 asks me whether he or she can be cured of illness, I will also be looking at where 乙 Wood is.

What I am trying to say here is this: What we do in astrology is sometimes similar to Schrödinger’s cat experiment or quantum physics, where the meaning of something changes depending on who is observing it. This “something” is fixed, and we are using Yin Wood 乙木 in this thought experiment, but exactly what Yin Wood represents depends on who asks me, “What does this Yin Wood represent?”

I won’t know whether the poor cat is dead or alive until I observe it – just like how I don’t know what something means in a Qi Men Dun Jia chart until someone asks me, “Sean, what does this mean?”

I guess what the physics realm hasn’t done yet is to put meaning to an atom. I’m not sure if this is the best way to put it. I don’t know if this is even possible.

You could say that this is why I don’t go around doing divinations as a party trick or do one for others when there isn’t even a sincere question to ask. Because if someone doesn’t care about it, it’s not their reality – there is no meaning to it. The only reality that will manifest is people thinking you’re some narcissistic moron with a God complex trying to appear important. It’s also a good time to remind everyone that a divination is not something trivial because if you’re not serious about it, the meaning simply won’t appear.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves by thinking that astrology can be associated with quantum physics? I don’t know. I wish I had the time and brilliance to understand physics so I can only rely on others in this lifetime. But assuming astrology and divination do work, and why going to the temple to get a divination lot seems to speak to us, there must be a reason why it works. Quantum entanglement conflicts with other well-established principles of physics, and we have information that can travel faster than the speed of light now. I can’t wait to see what more scientists discover.

Like I said, I’m more attuned to understanding things from a philosophical angle, but I do a bad job bringing in the hard science.

Causation, Correlation, Or Congruence?

Causation In Chinese Metaphysics And Feng Shui

Most people approach astrology and Chinese metaphysics a bit too hung up about the term “causation”, which I tend to have an issue with. My birthday and time caused something to happen; me placing an item at this part of my house caused this to happen, or my wearing a certain colour caused that to happen.

Astrology aside, proving causality in the real world is already hard enough, so you can forget about trying to prove causality in astrology and Chinese metaphysics. The possible alternative hypotheses for an event to happen are theoretically infinite.

Let me put it this way: Did Saturn and the Moon cause my parents to be the most disgusting people I’ve ever met? These two celestial gonads in the cosmic scrotum called the Milky Way didn’t cause anything. My parents were already disgusting before I was even born. Saturn and the Moon didn’t cause anything. It simply came to be.

Everything in this world has a “cause”. This is simply an undeniable fact. People love to think that the Feng Shui item or Pi Xiu bracelet they bought caused something auspicious to happen. But did it really? How do you prove it? Even if something good did happen, ss the cause of your sudden stroke of good luck caused by the Feng Shui item or Pixiu bracelet? Or is it caused by you having a bit more faith in yourself?

Correlation In Chinese Metaphysics And Feng Shui

We don’t usually talk about correlation in Chinese metaphysics, especially when it’s not like everyone’s chart has a dial that we can tune to strengthen or lessen the effects of something.

I guess the only avenue that allows us to talk about correlation in Chinese metaphysics is real-world observations. For example, does the quality of our BaZi charts determine the quality of the people around us? Or does a more balanced chart with a certain element or ‘god’ lead to a higher income?

I don’t feel it’s particularly interesting to explore correlation because it doesn’t address the crux of many issues.

Congruence In Chinese Metaphysics And Feng Shui

This may look like an intellectually lazy way to perceive reality, but I’ve always preferred the word “congruency” and seeing things as “it is what it is”. If a family’s chart can paint the same picture, or if the Feng Shui of a house can paint the same picture as one’s chart, it means everything that was meant to happen for a future event to happen was meant to happen. I used this example before: Our parents had to meet at the exact time, get married on the exact day, and be married long enough to decide that one day they shall not use contraceptives anymore to conceive us and to finally give birth to us at the exact time and give us a birth chart that is in sync, and congruent with theirs. Should I have been born an hour or two later, my chart would have been entirely out of sync with my family’s, although sometimes I feel I’d happily be a stripper than an astrologer.

What was the “true cause” of your birth then? Was it the night your mother wore the right perfume and dress? Or was it that moment at the bar when your parents locked eyes, and your dad summoned the balls to approach your mum? Or was it that night your father forgot to slip on a condom? You’ll never know. Let’s not bring in correlation here because the examples will get worse – you know it will. *wink wink*

The congruency behind all the events is divine, making life wondrous. Perhaps putting a scientific formula or explanation to all these takes away some of its beauty. Does this have anything to do with quantum entanglement? I have no idea – I’m smart, but not that smart. I can only appreciate, at least philosophically, that everything is bound together – past, present, and future.

Perhaps one way to put it is this. Perhaps our appreciation of the beauty of congruency comes when we realise the cause-and-effect chain of events can stretch out to the infinite, and everything, no matter how big or small, led you to where you are today. Some people appreciate this as the “Butterfly Effect”. What I speak about here is also a very Buddhist way of viewing the world.

Acknowledging congruency doesn’t mean our lives are set in stone because cause-and-effect still lays the basis of congruency. One thing leads to another, and one event causes another, but it doesn’t involve just you and your life – but everyone and everything around you, which is why your dad met your mum and forgot to slip on a condom one night.

And now you’re here, reading this blog by an irreverent astrologer who can’t stop swearing and using crude examples.

Logic & Congruence In Chinese Metaphysics

You will always hear me talking about this, and I guess it’s a good time to bring this up and dedicate a proper section to it. The fact that astrology ‘works’ and can be used to forecast our lives assumes that there is a divine geometry and congruency to everything. Congruency can and should be observed in Feng Shui, too. I’ve illustrated this many times in my blog posts that are now buried deep in the archives. The house you end up in will paint the same story as your charts.

Call it fate, destiny, serendipity, providence, or you can call it “God” even. I don’t care about the semantics because words in themselves can be “empty”, and it can mean anything I want it to mean.

The easiest to show this congruency in astrology is when we bring two or more charts together. A couple’s or family’s chart will paint the same picture. Suppose a family of four came to me for a BaZi reading:

  • Assuming my client is a female, and it says that she will marry a s*** of a husband but will have amazing children, I should observe the same story in everyone else’s chart.
  • If I look at the husband’s chart, it should show that it’s a low-quality chart and that my female client has indeed married a piece of s***.
  • If I were to look at the children’s charts, it should indicate that they have high-quality charts but with problematic parents.

I’ve tried to illustrate this in this blog post written a long time ago:

There will be a congruency in everything, just like if one of the planets decides to spin away from its orbit, our whole solar system will collapse (I think?). Also, astrological techniques will never contradict each other. If BaZi says that you have the intellect of an orange, Vedic astrology will not tell you you will be like Einstein. My chart has been dissected more than a corpse at the morgue preserved for educational purposes, and the story is always congruent.

The cosmos and laws of the universe are impartial. The only difference here is the way it is being conveyed by different civilizations.

Logic Gaps In Feng Shui: Scammy Pi Xiu Bracelets, Feng Shui Trees, And Other Paraphernalia

Debunking Feng Shui items and Pi Xiu bracelets being nothing but an utter scam and insult to human intelligence is not difficult. One way to do it is to use the law of falsifiability, and I spoke about it a long time ago here:

You can have 100,00 people believing in the theory of Feng Shui items working and that wearing a Pi Xiu bracelet or placing a jadeite mountain somewhere in the house seems to work. However, you only need one incidence of this not working for someone to turn this theory around completely. There can be a million white swans, but we only need one black swan to show that “All swans are white.” is wrong. There can be a million people who say, “Wearing this Pi Xiu bracelet works.”, but you only need one person who is still a dipshit loser after wearing five of them like they are some Shaolin monk to know it doesn’t – and trust me, they are plenty of Shaolin monks around.

It’s that commonsensical, but people want to believe in whatever they wish to believe.

To put it in the bluntest way possible, someone out there probably spent 90% of his or her life savings on Feng Shui items but is still considered by modern conventional standards – a bloody loser. Don’t be that loser.

Statistical theory aside, I also brought in some Buddhist philosophy in my blog post on my pilgrimage trip to Bhutan, which you can find here:

I spoke about Śūnyatā, or “Emptiness,” and how the meaning of everything is “empty” and essentially what your mind projects onto it. If that is the case, an item can mean anything and everything, but at the same time, it can also mean nothing.

When a so-called auspicious item’s meaning is whatever your mind projects onto it, then which Feng Shui master is to say an item will bring good luck? Who gets to determine such meanings and determine what’s auspicious or not? The theory of Feng Shui items is extremely far-fetched because:

  • We first need to address the Śūnyatā issue here. If an item can mean anything I want it to mean, then why do I need to buy a specific item touted by a Feng Shui master and have him or her decide what an item is supposed to mean for me?
  • At the same time, we also need to establish causality, which is virtually impossible to do because, as mentioned above, the possible hypotheses of causality can be infinite and paradoxical. Is the physical existence of the object the cause or your thoughts?
  • How does it fit into the congruency of things because we are artificially manufacturing an event here, thinking it can bend the laws of the universe? It’s akin to a Category 4 chart-holder trying to marry a Category 1 chart-holder when we know that’s not going to happen, and the Category 4 person does this by placing pink quartz around the house. It does not make sense.

Try to see the beauty in this debate. If reality, or something’s meaning, can be interpreted from a Śūnyatā perspective, what this means is that your life can change as long as your perspective can change. It’s as simple as that.

Misunderstanding Feng Shui Theories

One very basic Feng Shui topic I’ve not once spoken of on my website is things like 龙、穴、砂、水。 For the non-Chinese speakers (which unfortunately includes some Singaporeans like our “不可以 Presidential candidate”), these are landform features that are deemed auspicious.

I don’t talk about these things because it’s the same as talking about UFOs. You won’t find them in Singapore except for, say, a pathetic river somewhere on our little island.

A lot of people think that these landform traits, like 龙、穴、砂、水, are applied to individual homes. In the past, finding the 龙脉 (Dragon’s Pulse) was meant for entire cities and civilizations. No crazy person will isolate himself, build a house at the base of a mountain, and then suddenly expect wealth, health, and descendants – you would be impaled by rampaging wild boar during mating season and bleed to death before that happens.

These landform Feng Shui features are geographical studies of the past, and some of the landform traits are deemed auspicious simply because it has a higher temperature and your chances of survival are higher when the frost hits during winter. It’s not because these landform areas are where the gods take a magical piss, and you’ll live longer if you drink from the raindrops there.

It might be a tad reductive to say this, but sometimes, suitable landform Feng Shui is simply a place that makes you go, “Ahhhh…..” instead of “Faaaaaacccck”.

All these have nothing to do with critical thinking, technically. It’s just getting your facts and history right. But my point is this: No one ever questions such things.

Feng Shui Theory Needs To Be Updated

You’re going to see a lot of practitioners suddenly talk about Period 9 Feng Shui and that it starts in 2024. I have my views on this topic, and you can find the post here:

I won’t repeat whatever I said in the above blog post. I’m afraid I have to disagree that Feng Shui Period 9 starts in 2024 – it already started way back in December’20 during the Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

To blindly follow what was passed down is intellectually lazy. No one ever questions how the theory and belief was even derived. The 20-Year Feng Shui Period is 20 years because of Jupiter and Saturn aligning, but we know that the word we’re missing out is “approximate”, so there will be a regression in the timeline of when a Feng Shui Period starts. If you generate a Western chart now, Saturn is in Pisces, and Jupiter is ahead of it in Taurus. So, what in the hell are you talking about when you say Feng Shui Period 9 starts in 2024? Lazy!

We also need to remember that there was a period of significant cultural and knowledge exchange in terms of astronomy, and other civilizations influenced Chinese astrology. If we were to assume that the Feng Shui Period is a derivative of “astrological eras” in Western astrology, then the belief that Feng Shui Period 9 will start in 2024 is wrong. That said, the Feng Shui Periods linked to Western astrology have yet to be proven.

Perhaps the East and the West interpreted a so-called “era” differently, but be that as it may, to say that each Feng Shui Period will last exactly 20 years till the end of time does not make sense because no celestial body moves and conjuncts in exactly, whole years. Even the Gregorian calendar that we use now needs to be adjusted eventually.

The lack of intellectual rigour is also the reason why we have this:

Yes, it’s this image again. It has been seared into my brain, and this is the closest I’ve been to losing faith in humanity. I will make fun of and throw shade at this till the day that I die.

Why Critical Thinking Is Important In Chinese Metaphysics & Astrology

Astrology and Chinese metaphysics, in general, have always been embellished with embellished with mystery, spirituality, and whatnot. There is nothing wrong with this, and it’s normal because astrology and culture can be intertwined. That said, the good old saying that “Anything taken to the extreme will backfire.” or 物极必反 can be applied here.

Being spiritual is great, but my recent blog posts have shown that there is a thin line separating being spiritual and not being able to function properly in real life. I don’t wish to use the word “mental illness” here in case anyone misinterprets me and thinks we are one step closer to being mentally ill if we choose the path of spirituality. Perhaps, to be fair, we are all mentally ill in some ways because we’re all obsessed about something or healing from something, just that there are extreme cases. Only recently, a practitioner who was diagnosed with mental illness got jailed for contempt of court.

I definitely advocate applying critical thinking to astrology and Chinese metaphysics. Why not? Astrology is based on the mathematical rigour of measuring the cosmos, and there is no room for being lazy here. On the other hand, critical thinking also allows us not to fall prey to fallacies, and I have been spending my entire career through various blog posts on various topics to get people to avoid this.

Let me give a few irreverent and obvious examples:

  • If you are a cognitively impaired imbecile who only knows how to make bad decisions in life, wearing a Pi Xiu bracelet or jadeite ring will not change that. You might get a temporary confidence and psychological boost, and you may delude yourself into thinking you are suddenly more likeable and have more benefactors. Still, I can assure you people will end up being pissed off with you at the end of the day because of your sheer incompetence. Your IQ will not double, and you won’t be more likeable – just louder.
  • If you believe going for plastic surgery can change your fate and bring you good fortune, in that case, many people in Korea should have the same fate because their features look the same after going under the knife. Does everyone have the same fate? We know they don’t. Can everyone be like the goddess Lisa Manobal with her divine chart? We know they can’t.
  • If culturally, a symbol of a Pig or Dog can mean good luck, what happens if I bring this same symbol to another culture that does not see them as good luck but as bad luck or sin instead?

If you can think critically, you can make better decisions. If you can make better decisions, your life will be better. I know mixing emotions into the equation tends to make things harder, but it still helps to balance these things with some level of thinking.

Don’t Be An Idiot This Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year will be here very soon, and that’s another year gone. One step closer to the grave for all of us. Ahhh… Impermanence. Don’t you love it?

I wrote an early post about 2024’s Fan Tai Sui and why you should tell your boomer parents and grandparents to STFU and stop pretending like they know more:

If they go, “Haiyah~! You clash with Tai Sui this year!”, slap them with a chicken, or choke them with a fish and wish them 年年有余 because fuiyoh~! They somehow know more than us by virtue that they are older. Also, I am so going to Hell for the things I say on the blog. But then again, with the Category 4 chart-holders I’ve been dealing with, I’m kind of already in Hell.

Annual zodiac forecasts are perhaps the most outstanding example of why common sense and critical thinking do not exist.

Come this Chinese New Year – please apply some critical thinking. Dragons don’t exist, so don’t come and tell me you’re the best zodiac – because, really, you don’t even exist. Dogs don’t always go around humping people, Tigers won’t go around biting others, and from the last time I checked, my Pig friends don’t like rolling around in the mud. Your zodiac sign alone tells you jacks*** about your year or personality.

Zodiac animals were invented to dumb down complex topics like astronomy and the calendar system so peasants could understand them better. I am not even throwing shade here – this is historically and factually accurate.

Critical thinking. Don’t be a moron. If you don’t know – just say you don’t know.

– Sean

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