Although we are told it's shallow to do so, most of us judge people by their appearance, and this can be an accurate barometer.
Predicting the weather from facial features? Actually, this is just a bad metaphor, but the lunacy soon begins.
For instance, anyone looking at the Dalai Lama will instantly notice the deep compassion in his eyes. So when I heard of face reading as a scientific tool I was less sceptical than may be imagined. [...] In modern times, face reading is being used not to label people and categorise them, but to reveal and release their true potential. Face readers assert that [it] is an extraordinarily accurate way of finding out about yourself.
EoR's convinced already. Show someone a picture of the Dalai Lama (the newage poster boy) and they see "compassion" (though evidently not compassion for homosexuals or birth control or, indeed, anyone suffering - since, according to Buddhism, it's all your own fault in a past life).
There's a couple of nutters travelling the newage carnival circuit in Australia at the moment, promoting this lunacy in return for money. Joey Yap (who also does Feng Shui and astrology and other assorted woo) describes Steve Irwin:
"He had a very unique set of eyes - peach blossom eyes - that represent the attractiveness he obviously had. His mouth was very special for structure, particularly his manner of speaking. The eyebrows, if you noticed, were slightly protruding: they indicate his character was pretty strong, that he was quite confident in what he did and very firm in his opinions."
EoR is amazed by the ability of someone to be shown a picture of a famous person, and then accurately describe that person post facto! How on earth do they do it? The other showman is "prominent face reading expert and therapist" Herman Mueller.
"Energy flows geometrically. If you look at it in that way you will see the straight lines, upright lines, curved lines are all showing the flow of energy in a person's face. The size and depth of the different features all have significance about the neural responses of our body."
Does this "flow of energy" in a face mean you could connect a couple of wires up and use it as a battery in an emergency? If you're wondering the same thing EoR was by now (apart from, how do people get away with this?), the answer is: Yes, cosmetic surgery can change your fate (just as changing your name can numerologically alter your doom - but what if your face and your numbers are positing different dooms?).
Joey is well aware of cold reading techniques - it's dangerous to state up front a "fact". Generalisations are more open to interpretation by the touch and be confirmed as "hits".
If someone is not so trustworthy, you can't just tell them, 'Hey, you're not so trustworthy'. You have to be tactful and tell them in a certain way like, 'It's important that you be truthful and call a spade a spade. Don't hide the facts'.
Yes, it's cod newspaper-astrology reading of personality. Herman Mueller explains further:
[T]he information you get is in their formation of how their lives, their face, their chakras, their energy centres, their psychological responses have been in life. It's recorded in the face."
So, it's sort of like phrenology meets palmistry.
This sounds uncomfortably similar to certain ideas that the Nazis had about facial structure in "degenerate" races as opposed to the far superior Aryan skull structure. But the newagers would probably not want to be reminded of that. It would hurt their feelings and their faces would probably contort permanently in response.
Of course, faces are important in forming reactions to someone (for example, see this page at Cognitive Daily, or just go along there and do a search for "attractiveness" or "face"). That, of course, doesn't mean that the face determines the person's destiny.
Some final tips from Joey: the white part of the eye must be clearly defined to ensure wealth and success; friends are best found in people with eyes that are not too close together; ladies with thicker eyebrows pay less attention to detail.
"If the husband has a very high forehead, the wife should have a very round forehead so the yin yang match."
EoR posits the corollary: if a person has a face indicating they're gullible enough to believe this, they should also have a large wallet so the yin yang match.