As Within, So Without

Yet another day of 100+ temperatures. Needless to say, I’m working inside today.

The first “rule” in my current series is “Protect this house: As within, so without.” It defines the MC’s actions to a T: he spends most of the book at war with unseen forces, and mental strength coincides with the strength of the home/building he’s in. Why is it important? Many beliefs surround superstitious salt-across-thresholds, inviting someone into the home versus them simply walking in, and the relative feng shui of a place impacts those living within.

I believe it. I don’t believe it’s a science–so few psychologically motivated actions are–but I do believe in the importance of a strong house, and a strong layout in the house.

If I approached it from a purely logical perspective, a la Penn and Teller’s Bullshit TV series, I’d come to the same conclusion they do about fung shui: talk to any organizer who preaches s/he knows fung shui and it’ll be entirely different than another. Furthermore, there is no science to directly back up the importance of one organized style to another. But it works. And it’s important.

Sometimes you buy a home because it feels like you. Sometimes your home changes you.

I’ll posit exhibit 1: my office. It used to be a Bergner’s department store a long, long time ago, and it still has the heavy marble panels on the outside, still has a great spiral staircase in the front room, and is still divided in half by the main floor. It’s so divided that a single staircase doesn’t go all the way up to the fourth floor. It’s so divided that floor 3 is essentially 2 1/2, with only two rooms in it.

Complicated construction. All the distribution/footwork people are in the basement (floor 1). All the journalists are on the main floor (floor 2). All the accounting/HR people are on the top floor (floor 4). And the Publisher (one man) is on floor 3.

This is important because the people above floor 2 are not only literally separated–and equally difficult to access–from those on the lower 2 floors, but figuratively, too. All issues stop with someone on the main floor, if we know what’s best for us. The Modus Operandi of the company is Old School management separated from New Age workforce, and nothing negative sticks to the management. I’m not complaining; I’m sure this is pretty standard for a lot of businesses in this economy. Baby boomers that don’t want to give up their positions or lose their legacy to progress being pitted against Generation X and Y ready and willing to do what it takes to stay on top of a changing economy.

Yet it wasn’t always that way. I believe the building plays its part in ostracizing the management from the workers. For example, the publisher is so intimidating that adding the obstacle of figuring how the heck you get to his office in the first place is usually a breaker for someone with a complaint.

Although he might have chosen the place to separate himself from everyone else, whether he intended it or not, he has.

The flow, the organization, the presentation of a place psychologically impacts those living within.

My MC understands this on a basic level, and although he’s at odds with energy forces that have little to do with the “real” world, organization and reinforcing natural boundaries are more important than any other ritual, religious belief, or self defense. It’s something the East understands very well, while the West doesn’t put much emphasis on it. I’m also not referring to clean vs. dirty, rich vs. poor, etc, though they certainly do have an impact on the construction and layout.

A cluttered home reflects a cluttered mind. Obviously. A home of subdued colors, or an abundance of trinkets/collections, or many windows, reflects a person’s psychological state. I believe that you can set your watch to it.

As within, so without.

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