Someone sent me an article which appeared on CNN.com and which also was a highlighted video on Yahoo.com this week, about the science of Personology aka Face Language.
It tickles me (no pun intended, given that the advocate of Personology is a Ms Naomi Tickle) to read these ‚Äėwow ‚Äď isn‚Äôt it just amazing‚Äô stories about how people can discern all kinds of things from facial features and faces. And I suppose, I get a bit of a kick out of seeing something like this featured on an international news channel like CNN because if they think this is amazing or incredibly or interesting, erm, wait till they see the ‚Äėreal thing‚Äô in action. (real thing meaning Mian Xiang).
The gist of Personology is that facial features derived through measurement metrics (they actually measure the space between your eyes and your hair thickness ‚Äď that sort of thing) can tell you something about your personality. Rightly, the article on CNN by Linda Saether (the video report is done by a very experienced CNN journalist, Judy Fortin), points out that Personology can technically be linked back to Aristotle, who wrote about physiognomy, the science of discerning temperament from facial features.
But what Linda Saether and Judy Fortin probably don‚Äôt know is that in between Aristotle (384-322BC) and Personology (estimated 1920s), well, um, we Chinese got it all figured out ‚ėļ
Officially, the study of physiognomy (Mian Xiang ťĚĘÁõł) by Chinese Metaphysicians can be traced to the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 BC). And unlike Aristotle, who explored physiognomy for the purposes of understanding character, the Chinese were interested in utilise physiognomy to understand DESTINY.
Splitting hairs? Not quite. Let‚Äôs take a minute to understand the difference here.
Character or temperament relates to traits and the manner in which you will ‚Äėreact‚Äô in a given situation or circumstance. Character or temperament would encompass something like ‚Äėbad tempered‚Äô or ‚Äėcareful‚Äô. For example, in describing eyebrows, Aristotle says:
‚ÄúIf the space between the eye-brows be of more than ordinary distance, it shows the person to be hard-hearted, envious, close and cunning, apprehensive, greedy of novelties, of a vain fortune, addicted to cruelty more than love. But those men whose eyebrows are at a lesser distance from each other, are for the most part of a dull understanding; yet subtile enough in their dealings, and of an uncommon boldness, which is often attended with a great felicity; but that which is most commendable in them is, that they are most sure and constant in their friendship.‚ÄĚ
Compare this to the Chinese approach to Physiognomy, which takes things one step further and looks to use the face to discern not just personality, but DESTINY. In other words, the outcome of a person‚Äôs life, as discerned from their features. By Destiny or outcome, we are looking at for example, if a person will prosper or not, if they have the capacity to become wealthy and when, will they have a favourable or unfavourable marriage, do they have the opportunity to own property in this lifetime and even, discern a person‚Äôs fertility (both male and female!).
Indeed, whilst Aristotle and Personology stops at the face, Mian Xiang goes beyond the face, to study movement (or body language as it is known in modern times). Mian Xiang also takes into account the fact that faces change and that the face can also reveal if a person is in Good Luck or Bad Luck.
Wikipedia suggests that Personology is a bit of a pseudo-science. Now I think that‚Äôs a bit unfair and seems to me to be largely premised on the viewpoint that physiognomy itself is of questionable value (well, if you learn the Aristotle variety, I would say it is perhaps not so complete‚Ä¶)
I prefer to think of it the West being merely behind the learning curve a bit! According to Ms Tickle, the Face Language International has identified 68 traits, based on various features of the face. At it‚Äôs bare basics level, Mian Xiang uses 100 reference points on the face as key reference features, along with 5 Officers, 12 Palaces, and that‚Äôs not even taking into consideration Dynamic Face Reading, where we combine the features together, to gain an exact picture of the person‚Äôs personality and Destiny!
But for the sake of argument, is there any substance to Personology?
In Personology, the Roman Nose is regarded as a sign of a take-charge personality. This is also the viewpoint in Mian Xiang, although Mian Xiang goes a step further to determine that this character trait, when seen in women, usually signifies relationship or marriage problems (due to the strong character).
Personology differentiates between a wide face and a narrow face and says people with narrow faces are philosophical. In Mian Xiang, a narrow face is known as a Wood Face and is regarded as the face of a person who likes to learn. So again, Personology is not wrong, if we view it from the Mian Xiang perspective. The wide-face, according to Mian Xiang, can be further classified into Earth and Water faces. According to Personology, the wide faced person has the ability to ‚Äėwing it‚Äô. In Mian Xiang, wide faces belong to people who are intellectually quicker, usually also wittier, and definitely better at making money. (check out your neighbourhood millionaire ‚Äď chances are he‚Äôs got a wide face).
Personology looks at the set of eyes, looking at whether they are wide-set or close set. Personology says people with wide-set eyes are ‚Äėeasy going‚Äô. Well, that depends on how wide says Mian Xiang. In Mian Xiang, when the eyes are far apart, the person is usually slow and ponderous. I suppose ‚Äėeasy going‚Äô is a diplomatic term for ‚Äėslow‚Äô. Close-set eyes mean the person is good with details says Ms Tickle and ‚Äėmeticulous‚Äô. Well, that is generally true also in Mian Xiang but in Mian Xiang, one has to go a step further and check the TIPS of the eyes to determine if the person really has an eye for detail. And of course, the size of the eyes (length and diameter) also plays a part in determining the extent in which the person is a meticulous person.