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Four Pillars, Palmistry, and Our Future

 By Rhee Jee-hee, Jun Ji-min, Kim Na-eun

  On my way to school, I was passing by Apgujung Rodeo street.  While I was looking at the main street through the bus window, one sign board caught my attention.  On a big orange board was 'Saju Cafe' written in black.   I thought the cafe did not match with its location.  It is located on the center of the main street, which means that it is at one of the most expensive areas in Apgujung-dong, and on weekends, many young people in their twenties hang around there.  
 Saju Cafes are not only confined to  Apgujung-dong.  A few days ago, I went to Kangnam station to meet my friend, I noticed several Saju Cafes and palmistry tents located in the center of busy streets.  According to my friend, such cafes and tents are constantly increasing in places where many young people hang out, such as near the HongDae, Shinchon, etc.  My first reaction to that information was, "it's unbelievable."  Honestly, I thought who on the earth visits such cafes and tents in Apgujung, Hongdae, and Kangnam station because these places are crowded every weekend with young people who are very sensitive to up-to-date trends, including many college students, high school students and young company workers. 

 Saju (a.k.a 'Four Pillars') is considered  superstitious and out-of-date among young people.   Though I have seen my mother go to an expert on reading the four Pillars of people, I have not heard about people in my age doing that.  Since everyone wants to know their true aptitude and future life, I have  sympathy for those young people who rely on their Saju and palmistry to know their future.

 "These days, many young people go to Saju Cafe or a palmist for fun or with serious reason.  In fact,  people in their twenties are mainly concerned about their aptitude, future job, and love life," said one palmist. 

 But are Saju and palmistry credible enough to help one know one's aptitude and a future job?  A light topic like love problems might be answered by superstitious belief, but understanding our own aptitude should not be. 
 By definition, the word 'aptitude' means 'inclination, tendency, a natural ability, talent.'  Do you really think it is possible to know our aptitude through reading the lines on our palm and the four Pillars?  Relating our Saju and palmistry to knowing our aptitude might sound ridiculous.   But, of 127 students surveyed, 39 students answered that they believe what Saju and palmist say about their aptitude and future job.  The post reporters wanted to determine if it is right to rely on one's saju and palm lines.

Part 1. The principle and history of Four Pillars and Eight Characters and Palmistry

The Four Pillars and Eight Characters (Saju-Palja) is the art of oriental fortune-telling, which can tell a lot about a person's destiny and future through the sexagenary cycle, a combination of  ten trigrams (干) and twelve supports (支).  The Four Pillars and Eight Characters were derived from the Hado Eight trigrams in the Han of ancient China.  As the years went by, scholars of the time including Confucius studied about the Book of Changes, hence the science of divination was advanced systematically.  Study of Four Pillars reading was completed in the Song age by Sir Za-Poung.

   Eight Characters make four pairs.  Each pair is known as a pillar and each pillar is made up of two characters, a earthly branch and heavenly stem. The Eight Characters influence one's fortune, so they are very important.  And the Four Pillars are the year, month, day and hour of one's birth. They influence luck in the early years, and in one's youth, mid-life and old age.  So when you visit a fortune-teller, you need to know your name, gender, date of birth, and hour of  birth. 

The Four Pillars reading is based on statistics accumulated for thousands of years. So predictions made by Four Pillars are believed to be precise.  This reading helps us to find potential pathways of our lives.  
Palmistry (or the art of palm reading)  originated in India and spread to the East and the West.  Hindu Vedas, which is the oldest bible about palmistry, was used in the northern parts of India. 

The Spread of Palmistry

Though palmistry was known in China, Tibet, Persia, and Egypt, it became formally established as a field of study during ancient Greek civilization.  Aristotle (B.C 384~322), a philosopher, once wrote a dissertation related to palmistry, and then Alexander the Great ordered that it be translated into Latin so that European scholars could study it.  After that, the lines on the palm have been known as a way of predicting the life of human beings and their health.  Palmistry was established as part of the Western knowledge system of the time and spread around the world.
Palmistry in the Eastern and the Western

Western palmistry analyzes the hands and the lines on the palm, with emphasizing on scientific reasons. Meanwhile, Eastern palmistry depends on intuition essentially based on traditional factors. Now, palmistry is being recognized as cultural heritage.

The meanings of the lines

The life line represents vitality and the length of life.  This is the most important line on one's hand and it's easy to recognize and it helps to determine where other lines are.
The head line deals with one's beliefs, philosophy, and attitude on how you approach life as well as mentality and intelligence.  This line begins right above the life line.

The heart line is related to emotions and events.  This is the horizontal line above the head line.
The health line deals with the material well being as well as the physical.  This line can be found extending from below the little finger to the base of the thumb.

The fate line tells the effect of society and world events on your life; in other words, things that come to you from outside.
The line of fame shows the social rewards of success.  Those who lack this line may still be successful but may do without public acclaim.

Interviews with the fortune teller, Do-eul sunsang,  and the palmist Park So-young

 How does palmistry and saju apply to understanding aptitude and deciding future jobs?
  The palmist Park So-young, having various experiences of reading palm lines, said that she could know a person's personality by reading only one line on his or her palm.  In other words, each line provides a lot of information about one's personality and talents.  For example, people who have a long and clear emotion line, usually tend to have much self-respect and be emotional, so professional jobs can be suitable for them.  Thus, she said that in order to choose a vocation, understanding our personality and temperament is crucial.  While reading palm lines, she also  read the person's mind and grasps what the person likes to do.  Since the person's innate characteristics appear on the palm lines, she can recommend a suitable job.    One interesting thing is that of both hands, one hand shows innate characteristics and the other one is what we have accomplished till now, that is, our present state.  Aside from palm reading, she also can read Taro cards and Four Pillars.  While talking with a customer, she deeply reflects to analyze the person's character and inclinations.
 According to Do-eul sunsang, the fortuneteller, a person's Four Pillars determines destiny. Thus, each person has a call to a certain role in this world.  What he does is based on our Fur Pillars, which help us find our own path.  He also added that one's innate characteristics and temperament can be inferred from the Four Pillars.  However, reading Saju differs from reading palm lines. Unlike palm reading, Saju shows changes of mind or psychological state.  Even though he can tell a person's characteristics and suitable job in the future, it is also possible that a person can lose concentration  and change his or her path or destiny.  Accordingly, he predicts that struggling period and helps the person to keep on the right track.  He also likened the study of the Four Pillars to meteorology, saying that predicting one's life is not always right.

Part 2. Practical/Actual Experience with Saju and Palmistry

Three DU reporters experienced the Four Pillars, palmistry, and MBTI* & Aptitude test to know their aptitude and the most suitable job for them, and compared the results from all three cases to find out the differences between them.
* What is MBTI?  MBTI (Myers-briggs Type Indicator) is made by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel briggs Myers.  MBTI, based on C.G. Jung's Analytical Psychology, was designed to be a practical indicator.  Jung thought that human acts were too diverse to understand but they had some systematic patterns.  He also thought that the diversity of human acts was caused by individual differences in perception and judgement.  It has questions of self report.  Through those questions, we can find our propensity and understand each or many propensity which affect our action.  This program was introduced  to Korea in 1990.    MBTI has sixteen sections of characteristics and this program is divided into four propensities.  These propensities mean the psychological potentiality.  Each person has one of these tendencies according to individual disposition. The aim of MBTI is not just knowing your type of characteristics but also improving yourself.

 The three tests (Four Pillars (SaJu), Palmistry, MBTI & the aptitude search test) showed the same result that tester A was artistic.  However, while both SaJu and MBTI said that tester A is sociable and out-going, Palmistry said tester A is an introvert.  The Saju fortune teller (Saju) and the palmist shared the same opinion that tester A is also talented at management and language.  So, they both recommended that tester A be a TV producer, but MBTI recommend that tester A be a fashion designer or a journalist. 

  In the case of tester B, the three tests evaluated the  tester as being very careful.  Saju and MBTI said that tester B was calm, inhibited and considerate, while Palmist said that tester B was sociable.  Saju fortuneteller and palmist recommended tester B to be a reporter.  Saju and Palmist did not share the consistent opinion about  the talents of tester B.  Saju said that tester B has  language aptitude, but Palmist disagreed.  

  The three tests showed more consistent results with tester C.  They all said that tester C was versatile and active, and had a tendency to persue freedom (in work, thinking, etc.).  Saju and Palmist both said that tester C is hot-tempered and tactful.  They also recommend that tester C be a professor or enter a major company.   Palmist said that tester C could become a C.E.O, but Saju disagreed.   

The Story of Their Personal Experiences

Tester A :
" In order to know my aptitude and find my life path, I took two tests : MBTI and aptitude test, While taking the test, It was difficult  choosing between two extreme answers, but before the test a supervisor said, "when you have to choose between two answers  just mark one which is the closest."  The analysis of my test results was logical and seemed scientific.  When advising me  about my major and vocation, the counselor  considered my innate and acquired characteristics comprehensively. In other words, the process was very realistic because she gave me advice based on my present major, my interest, and my aptitude.  However, one thing that I felt unsatisfied with was lack of details.  First, my personalty is categorized according to the test result, and then the result shows possible occupations correlated to my personal character category.  Unlike these kinds of tests, Palmistry and Four Pillars are very prophetic and subjective.  Also, both emphasized my innate characteristics.  For example, what they told me was more like what I 'should' become regardless of my major and present status.  In spite of them,  I preferred the way 'Four Pillars' evaluated me because it was precise at least for me."

Tester   B - 
"At first, I was very confused by the disagreement between the results of MBTI, Palmistry and Four Pillars (Saju).  The three tests did not share the same result about me.  It's difficult to find my real disposition and aptitude.  I contemplated carefully on what am I.  Then, I found out that I  prefer to be at home alone  than to do out-door activities.  Also, I  like to learn with direct, actual experience and to talk to my close friends.  Though the three tests disagreed in their  opinion about me, I didn't think that they were wrong.  They tell me different things, but I realized that my dispositions are too various to determine what am I.  Also I figured the three test had something in common.  They thought my will was the most important thing.  The Palmistry and Four Pillars (SaJu) could change according to my choices and decisions in my life.  The purpose of MBTI is to induce me to improve myself through unveiling my disposition and aptitude.  After all, the three tests helped me to know the importance of my will."

Tester C -
" I really didn't believe Four Pillars and Palmistry because I thought these things were only superstitions.  On the other hand, I thought MBTI (The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) could show my mind and life course because of its scientific method.  But I realized my thought was wrong through an actual experience.   At first, my personality and aptitude told by the fortuneteller and palmist were almost correct as compared with opinions of acquaintances who know me.  It was marvelous because as the fortuneteller and palmist said, I am hot-tempered and stubborn in every matter.  And as told by the fortuneteller and palmist, I strived to lead others everyday. Perhaps this is why the fortuneteller and palmist expected me to be a C.E.O., lawyer or professor.  Comparing with this, I am not satisfied with the results of MBTI and the aptitude test.  These tests just repeated information I had already written.  Moreover, MBTI was no more concrete than other tests.   

  Through these tests, I got over my prejudice about fortunetellers and palmists.  Unlike Shamanism, I felt  Four Pillars and Palmistry have the possibility to be a  science in the global world.  It was the best experience of my life.  It will help me carve my way. "  

Only 29 percent of students surveyed answered "yes" to the following question: "Will you be inclined to go to a palmist or a Four Pillars expert in order to talk about your aptitude and life path?"  According to palmists Park and Do-eul sunsang, once people start visiting them regularly, they become extreme to the point where they cannot do anything or make any decisions without consulting with them.  Do-eul sunsang revealed his thought about people who don't believe in Four Pillars, or regard it as superstitious. He said, "They are strong, and they already have much conviction in themselves.  So, for them, my advice is needless because they know how to carve out their own future."
Back to the question: Is it really OK or possible to apply  so-called superstitious things such as Four Pillars and Palmistry to know our aptitude and future job?  The answer is completely up to you. 

 In the past, most people valued certain kinds of jobs such as doctor, lawyer, and many other professional jobs regardless of their own aptitude or personality.  But, these days, the importance of having a job based on one's aptitude and innate characteristics increases because a feeling of satisfaction and happiness has begun to be considered important.  A lot of young people feel doomed as they think of their future in this excessively competitive society.  What Saju fortunetellers and palmists tell about you and your career and life path may be helpful sometimes, but blindly believing in it can be dangerous.

Rhee Jee-hee  reejh486@dongguk.edu

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