A belief, a system or a dogma that has existed, survived and is still in popular use is worth taking a second look. To dismiss them would simply be idiotic as many already did and have proven nothing aside from making a belief that they do not cotton into only to be advertised the more and inadvertently help its propagation.
There will always be the skeptics and believe me, they have had their share of helping issues to be advertised freely and more forcefully since once they have committed their emotions into fighting against one; it happens that they become even more vocal than the adherents. It is true with religions, ideologies, new inventions and discoveries and yes, even Feng shui.
And so again, what is Feng shui and for centuries now, why has it survived?
In a nutshell, Feng shui is the result of the persistence of man in trying to live with his environment through harmonizing with it so that he gathers the positive forces and influences of nature to improve his wellness. Not a bad idea at all. In fact it almost sound like most of the precepts in all the major religions except that it is not a religion. It is a practice. A belief system developed since the ancient times in China. Feng shui has persisted and spread, to almost all the known parts of the world. Unbeknownst to many cultures, many Feng shui principles are already being practiced by them although with different connotations and justifications.
The practice of Feng shui has taken a prominent consideration in building designs, selecting sites, locations, decorations, business, personal practices, interrelationships, houses, rooms, pathways, medicine, name it. Feng shui could be applied to almost everything and yes even the contour of a face and the force of character and vision in a person is said to be contributors to gaining good qi (pronounced as chi, a kind of energy from which life emanates) or not. Almost everything could be drawn to gain good Feng shui or bad Feng shui. It could have thousands of applications from womb to tomb.
It is not exactly known when and where Feng shui started. There are very few written accounts of Feng shui prior to the last century. The practice then was to hand over the knowledge by word of mouth, from master to the student.
Even with that, the practice of Feng shui continued and improved. One thing that it owes to is that Feng shui is intuitive in nature and is practical. While it has often been dismissed as superstition, a bull and a crap, by those who are against it, its longevity could be traced to the benefits of all those who applied its principles. This proves as always, that the best argument is never good enough when it is aimed against success.
Feng shui holds so much validity for the Orientals that there were Chinese emperors who had their Feng shui experts executed for fear that the knowledge could be used against them. In the 19th century, the Chinese government has control over the distribution of charts, numerical data and diagrams that were included in the almanacs that it releases to the public.
Feng shui is an old practice that has developed through the centuries. In fact it is a part of the Chinese philosophy. The earliest formal account though is through the writings of Chu Hsi who lived during the Song Dynasty around 1126 to 1278. His writings then became the foundation of the practice of Feng shui. But as already mentioned, Feng shui foes a long way back.