Technology is today a slave of modern human arrogance and selfish cleverness. Medicine has yet to develop an “understanding vaccine”. That medicine, the cure, can only ever come through self discipline and inner knowledge based on attention and discrimination. For thousands of years in many cultures, the search for the ultimate understanding has taken many forms. One of them is face reading.
Face Reading is as old as humanity itself but can recently trace its roots in many countries, their cultures. Greece, India and China had their brilliant exponents of whom some are still well known. Plato and Aristotles – Grecian philosophers held the study of the bumps and the shape of your head in high esteem as did they palm reading.
Varahamihira, the luminary of Hindu Vedic astrology divulged unique and somewhat novel techniques to gauge the character and future events of people. His great work, Brihat Samhita, though appearing odd in its presentation, offers valuable insights into such things as moles, lines an the face and the bodily ratios of limbs. There is even a chapter dedicated to the analysis of pimples! The Brihat Samhita can be dated to around 505 AD.
In his classical masterpiece of psychology and spiritual discipline, Yoga Sutras, another great Indian philosopher, Patanjali, says that eight extraordinary powers may be acquired as a result of protracted self discipline. Some of these extraordinary siddhis or powers include levitation, control of the natural elements, bodily rejuvenation and several forms of earthly and transcendental knowledge. He also makes reference to the technique of understanding human character and destiny through face reading.
Samyama is the intense concentration or focus on the characteristic markings and features of the face and body. He says it results in a profound understanding of human nature and of the future potential or destiny of a person. It’s a study of karma as revealed by the externalisation of the mind and its expression in the human countenance. It’s truly a pathway to psychic and intuitive development.
For most of us leading busy city lives, the rigorous discipline advised in such works as the Yoga Sutras, isn’t exactly practical, given the recommended but time consuming meditative practices to develop powers. There are however very simple techniques that may be utilised for the purpose of gaining an insight into the personality of others. It’s called the art of face reading or characterology and has a long and rich history.
It wasn’t until 1741 however, that the Swiss-German, Lavater developed some of the most important principles of western style physiognomy and face reading. He was a talented individual who could paint, write poetry and teach. He was also a minister of the church.
His technique in reading character from the face stemmed from his ability to draw portraits and study the idiosyncrasies of his models. His greatest work Physiognomy is a departure from the usual feature-by-feature analysis and requires an overall “intuitive” feel for the face in question.
More recently in the twentieth century, even as early as 1918, the Merton Institute for Vocational guidance was founded in the US in New York City. It was primarily concerned with the professional activities of people and assisting businesses in employing the right types of staff for specific areas within their organisations. Even companies such as AT&T & The Bud company of Philadelphia utilised the Merton Institute for the employment of staff throughout that period.
The phrenological approach to the study of character was not to be a long-term popular activity within society and with the advent of psychology, unfortunately, took a back seat. Gradually psychology has replaced the technique of face reading, characterology and phrenology in offering companies & educational institutions personality profiles for prospective employees and students.
Two other notable areas of character and health study are palmistry and iridology. Both are becoming increasingly popular and are noted for their use in detecting physical stresses and weaknesses. Just as palmistry and iridology can give us a detailed account of not only the constitutional weaknesses but the character type, so too can face reading – once firmly understood give us intimate knowledge of ourselves and others.