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A spam recently attached to a long-ago post consists of the following message, plus a url that I did not follow:

"A front door that opens clockwise into the home channels more energy inside."

Is that simple nonsense?  Feng shui? Would that link have led me to builders who would have swapped my opens-outward or anti-clockwise-opening door for a clockwise one?  What energy is channeled inside?  The world provides us with more puzzles to solve every day than an ordinary householder ever needed to think about in the long-ago.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 27th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
I think that that doctrine is orthodox feng shui. But it barely scratches the surface of front-door-related considerations: there's so much else one should bear in mind.
See: http://blog.classicalfengshui.com/?p=22
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
But did the ancient CHinese sages who developed feng shui have clocks that ran clockwise?
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
I don't think so (with water clocks, clockwise = downhill?), but they must have had some term for that direction of rotation, one would think?

Our own pre-clock ancestors used 'widdershins' for what we now call anticlockwise, and it had malicious/unhealthy associations – perhaps because it was the opposite way to the sun's travel, for northern-hemisphere people?
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
So maybe "sunwise" would be better, if we in fact knew in our city apartments which way the sun was going in relation to our doors?
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
There's a good old Scots Gaelic word, 'deiseil', meaning 'sunwise' literally -- mostly used metaphorically to mean 'ready/prepared'.

'I'm ready like a Chinaman going in through his front door', the blue-daubed clansfolk used to say to each other before battle.
Dec. 27th, 2012 12:20 pm (UTC)
Obviously this is where my spam came from -- a western adaptation of ... whatever it is adapted from.

Most alarming warning:

7. Your front entrance should not face a narrow gap between two buildings. If so, it can potentially cause your savings to be squandered away.

I think that's exactly what happened to me in 2007! I always wondered what happened to my money.
Dec. 27th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
Sounds like someone has set up M.C. Escher.com. Er...not that I'd recommend clicking on their nefarious link.
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
I think doors that open clockwise are more convenient for righties. You turn the knob clockwise, too, and push at the same time and with the same motion. Same with exiting: you turn and pull with the same motion, just extending straight out from your shoulder. So I'll bet it's more or less standard to do it that way, all else being equal.

In Double Indemnity Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray)'s door opens clockwise, out into the hallway (to make a bit of very tense business possible). But lockable doors almost always open into the rooms whose access they regulate, so that they can be rammed open from the exterior in an emergency or fire, without their frames' buttressing them. You can lock or unlock them without a key from the inside: but they're designed to yield from the outside if things are desperate enough. And in hallways, you won't slam an opening door into someone hastening down the corridor if it opens inwards.
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
Feng shui noir! A striking thing for a film fan to notice. Or maybe you are a house carpenter?

The door that leads from the back, or kitchen, stairs in my house opens (of course) outward, and has a little window in it, so that someone coming down will see if there is anyone in the kitchen standing in the way.
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I bet house back doors open outwards, since that's not how the fire department is going to try to get in. And they have windows, which (it's my intuition) someone needing to break in can shatter in an emergency to get access to the inner lock. In NYC apartments I have lived in, the back doors always opened inwards, like the front doors (hence the chains, too, if you think about it). But in houses it's easier to take the garbage, and whatever, out if you can push rather than having to put it down and pull.

I had occasion, in an LJ entry not long ago, to transcribe this great and semi-relevant passage about locks, from the Nobel Prize winning economist T.C. Schelling:

We usually do not need much theory to help us buy a lock for the garage door, but a lock on nuclear weapons is rich in its theoretical possibilities. There are many kinds of locks and many motives, and even a classification of them requires something that looks a little like game theory. A lock on radium in a doctor's office has, among its purposes, the anomalous one of protecting the thief himself. A lock on the bathroom door is intended to keep people out who prefer to stay out and is equivalent to a sign saying "occupied"; and in bathrooms in some new buildings, to keep children from locking themselves in, there is an anomalous lock that can be unlocked from either side of the door. A lock on an ammunition chest may be designed to keep the contents from being used by somebody, and a mechanism that destroys the contents when the box is violated is almost as good as one that keeps the thief out; if the lock is to keep someone from destroying our ammunition, though, a destruct mechanism merely eases his task. A lock that makes the ammunition explode when the mechanism is joggled will not protect the ammunition if it works secretly, but if the burglar knows that it will explode in his face it can deter him. Some locks are designed only to measure the urgency of entry and are designed to give way under stress; fire alarms and emergency brakes are protected by a piece of glass to which a small metal hammer is conveniently attached. Some locks are meant to catch the intruder by blocking escape, some to catch his identity by photograph, some merely to report his intrusion by giving an "alarm," and they are hidden or made conspicuous according to whether one wants to trap the burglar or deter him. And some, like the time lock on a bank vault, are designed to keep the owners themselves from being able to open them, so that they are immune to coercion during times of day that the place is unprotected.

Dec. 27th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
In New York apartments there were often deadlocks that could only be opened from the inside with a key. There was a name for these having to do with burglary -- the idea being that the burglar enters, the door locks behind him (or her, not to be sexist), and he can't get out. I had one and I always wondered what it would be like to come home after, say, being away for a while and unlocking my door to find a very angry burglar who'd been stuck in there.

ANother kind of NYC lock then had a bar lodged on a metal cup in the floor and thence into a holder in the door, that your key could move aside and allow to slide out of the way. (Like propping a chair against a door, sort of.) This device was called a "police lock>" The druggies of the day claimed it was for keeping ht police out, ha ha.
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
Police locks!
Dec. 28th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Re: Police locks!
I'm guessing this "William" not you -- but whoever it is writes beautifully in a modest and touching way. It's fascinating -- I read more of it than I would have expected to.
Dec. 28th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
Re: Police locks!
(it is me. thank you. this made me happy.)
Dec. 27th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
clockunwise and widdershins
I agree with nightspore that this has at least some to do with right and left, and it's a great example of why I am not so crazy about "ancient wisdom". While there are some reasonable modern explanations for why doors that open clockwise (ie, right-handed) might be safer, I doubt that the ancient who wrote this worried about access to his home by emergency personnel. The same goes for widdershins--while it's possible that the negative connotations came from an astute observation of the transit of the sun, more likely the malevolence was abstracted from the whole left-sinister-gauche/right-dexterous-adroit complex of thinking. Being a paranoid leftie myself, and having heard all my life about how wrong it is to go "against the grain", I probably notice right-bias more often than some might, including, of course, places where it may not really exist....
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
Re: clockunwise and widdershins
In my job, I work one-on-one with refugees from various parts of Africa, mostly South Sudan but also Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and so on. Almost all of these students immediately notice that I'm left-handed and congratulate me for being "lucky". They'll then launch into stories about their particularly blessed or brilliant left-handed uncle or grandfather or something.

Growing up, it was driven so forcefully into my mind that ALL THE CULTURES OF THE WORLD perceive left-handedness as a curse -- you know the tedious drill, in India you can only use your left hand to wipe your bum and never to eat, don't you know that the Latin word for "left" is where the word sinister comes from, dextrous means both "talented" and "right [side]", in fact even "right" itself means both "correct" and "right", gauche means both "left" and "clumsy" etc. etc. etc. ETC. ETC. God it is ENDLESS, that it was just so refreshing for me to meet people from a culture who didn't begin with those assumptions.

Though I think folks in our modern culture don't much notice or care about left-handedness any more, much less ascribe moral or supernatural qualities to it, I think there's still this really patronizing assumption that "all the cultures of the world!" think it's a bad thing and that we moderns are super-enlightened for letting left-handed people use pens without accusing them of witchcraft. I was glad to meet people from other cultures where they not only had the opposite view, but weren't so damn self-congratulatory about it.
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
Re: clockunwise and widdershins
You'd think they could train their children to be left-handed -- as my father was trained to be right-handed, and as the nuns tried to train my sister, until my father intervened rather explosively. But maybe it's only lucky as a gift of the gods and not as a practice.

anyway lefties have a future as well-paid actors -- you have surely noticed how many actors are left-handed.
Dec. 28th, 2012 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: clockunwise and widdershins
Thanks for that! Makes me feel a little less paranoid, and little more worldly, all at once. And I agree completely with the idea that a leftie might be brilliant!

I also agree that people don't seem to care much anymore, and I think, as a result, that the percent of lefties is definitely increasing. Not only actors, but I see more and more leftie programmers and politicians (at least, Democrats ;-) Maybe one day it will cease to be noted at all.
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Well, my question is... what kind of energies are we channeling in, here? (anyone who has toddlers or pets could see the dilemma this presents). And I'm not just saying that because ours open counterclockwise... ;o)
Dec. 27th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
Immediately get another door. Bad things are following your pets in. Good things are (literally) baffled.
Dec. 27th, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
I guess that makes us good things, which is a relief. ;o)
Dec. 29th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
I get a kick out of the spam "Do it yourself Solar System." They're selling solar panels, I think, but what if...
Sean A Priest
Jan. 3rd, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)
I'm just relieved my front door indeed does open inwards, clockwise. My bathroom door on the other (literal) hand opens outward and counter-clockwise and still causes me mild confusion even after five years. I never knew why. I'm tempted to follow your rabbit-link down its spam-hole.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 12:53 am (UTC)
You know, I posted that and read the replies as they came in and somehow never considered my own front door -- which opens out from the house, counter-clockwise. And faces north. I think this may explain a lot.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )