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An Ottoman solution for communication: the art of reading faces
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 29 May 2011 Sun 02:40 am

An Ottoman solution for communication: the art of reading faces

29 May 2011, Sunday / SELÇUK KAPUCI, İSTANBUL

                                        ORHAN ERDEM

Let’s say you are preparing for a critical business meeting, or perhaps a very important face-to-face. As you don’t know the character of the person you will be meeting with for the first time, you don’t really know how to express yourself.

 In such a situation what you may want to do is take a good long look at the face of the person with whom you will be meeting because there is a school of thought that says the face holds all the clues you need to help you decide what approach to take with a person. This is a method that can give you all sorts of important hints about what to pay attention to during a meeting and how to create rapport with people you are meeting for the first time.

The art of reading faces is one that allows you to understand people’s characters simply by looking carefully at their faces. It can help you gain an insight about the best way to communicate with a person, about that person’s behavior, their openness to learning or their resistance to stress. This is a discipline that was developed in Europe in the fifth century and has helped people in many areas of life, from communication skills, to understanding others, to guiding human resources, career planning and trade.

The art of reading faces was very popular during the time of the Ottomans. In the Enderun Mektebi, or Palace School, face reading was taught as İlmi Sima, or the art of face reading. People who had reached a certain level of importance within the Ottoman palace would have to take a course from a teacher of face reading. The people of the time were also very familiar with the art.

When the Republic of Turkey was established, the art of face reading fell by the wayside along with many other aspects of Ottoman times. It was definitely not included in any of the new academic courses of study. But now, almost a century later, the first modern academic piece of research has been completed on the art of İlmi Sima, which many of us had never even heard of before. Dr. Orhan Erdem’s research on the art has been gathered in a book titled “Yüz Okuma” (Face Reading). This book reviews various face reading techniques and shows how people’s characters can be judged by their facial structures.

The best-known source of information on this discipline, which most of society has completely forgotten over the past century, is the “Marifetname,” written 251 years ago by İbrahim Hakkı Hazretleri. Erdem notes that when writing his own book, he reviewed as many sources as he could obtain from both the East and the West and that he spoke with 6,500 experimental subjects.

Erdem explains that Turkey has had a period of 100 years when the art of face reading was forgotten. He also notes that modern society doesn’t even have any idea that such a discipline exists. To the contrary, during Ottoman times the art of face reading was one widely known about in society. “İlmi Sima during Ottoman times was promoted bu the ‘İlmi Sima vakıf,’ a foundation devoted to the discipline of face reading. People in establishing communication with others would read the faces of people with whom they were speaking and try to talk of things that would please the other person. In this way, problems that might pop up in the initial stages of a new relationship were prevented. This technique was also very beneficial when it came to trade and marketing,” explains Erdem. Interestingly, he notes that this technique is used in modern times in many arenas of professional life in both Europe and America, to great advantage.

Erdem explains that what İlmi Sima offers people is a tool for understanding what they need to pay attention to in their relationships with others as well as how to behave in the presence of others. He says it is a great tool to help prevent relationship problems.

“For example, if the distance between your eyebrows and your eyes is great, it means you pay great attention to detail. This situation is also a sign that you are not a hurried person. If I see and recognize these characteristics in you, when I share with you about an idea, or perhaps try to sell you a product, I know that I need to focus on the details to impress you. This is the way to convince you. When it comes what sort of ear and mouth structure you have, these things tell us a lot about your propensity for listening and speaking. So from these details, for example, I can understand whether my speaking too much will make you uncomfortable. Understanding these sorts of characteristics allows me to behave appropriately when establishing rapport with someone that I don’t know at all or very well,” he explains.

Erdem, who is also a sociologist, notes that Turkish society is facing some serious problems when it comes to interpersonal communication skills. “We have really distanced ourselves from politeness in communications and become very rough and rude instead,” he says. He notes that often when people are speaking with one another, communication comes to an end before it has really even begun, as people don’t even try to understand what the other person may be feeling or how they may be interpreting the situation. People these days, he also notes, tend to relate everything just as it is or as they see it as being. “As a society we even act rudely when we are greeting one another. We have come up with this idea of being ‘dobra,’ or blunt and outspoken, and we think it is great to be that informal. All right, we are outspoken, but we don’t seem to know quite whom we can address in this manner and when. At this point, if we can learn the discipline of face reading, people can develop their ideas about other people’s characters and thus develop their communication skills accordingly. This in turn will help prevent some mistakes made in relationships,” he explains.

The color of our eyes, the mood given expressed by our looks, whether our hair is curly or straight, the thinness of our lips, the length of our chin and the shape and set of all the other parts of our faces can give off some important clues.

So what expresses what on our faces?

The forehead: This reflects your style of thinking and your ways of developing thought processes.

The eyebrows: These reflect your thought processes as well as your way of making decisions.

The eyes: These reflect your way of looking at the world around you, and whether or not you are open to new things, and what your stress levels are.

Your eyelids: These reflect your sincerity or your lack of sincerity.

Your nose: This reflects your desire in the business world and your view of material matters.

Your ears: These reflect your level of being able to influence people around you, your propensity for freedom, whether you are Utopian or a realist, and your tendency to understand data and be permissive.

Your mouth: This reflects your ability to form lines of communication and express yourself, and whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.

Your lips: These reflect your style of expressing yourself and your ability to hide or show your emotions.

Your teeth: These reflect your stubbornness and your shyness.

Your cheeks: These reflect your energy levels and your ability to help others.

Your chin: This reflects your desire to contribute, your propensity of turning towards violence, and your openness to criticism.

Dimples: These reflect your love of entertainment, your approach towards humor, and your desire to help others.

Lines: These reflect levels of skills and difficulties experienced

Abdullah Gül

(Full lips) -- He has a character which loves joking, is energetic, is prudent, and controls his emotions.

(Dimpled chin) -- His character is friendly and sympathetic, intellectual, adventurous, and both lively and positive. He tends to spread positive energy around him.

(Distinctive ears that open up outwards) -- With a character that tends towards sudden changes in decisions, he often surprises those around him; this tendency also sometimes changes the atmosphere around him immediately. His resolute and honest nature mean that he is able to take strong and sudden stances when necessary. His is respectful of rules but not overly driven by them. He can focus intensely on his work, and his ability to judge things makes him a strong and dependable person.

(Voice tone and way of speaking) -- He is quiet, calm, very respectful of his elders, and always trying to be a model person for others.


Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

(A flat lower chin) -- Tendency towards always finishing the job.

(Lines under the chin) -- A very sharp wit.

(Ability to laugh and moral courage) -- Colorful personality, friendly, and modest.

(Natural laugh) -- Sincere and sensitive.

(Distinctive ears that open outwards) -- May make sudden moves, actions not necessarily predictable

(Narrow forehead and looks) -- A bit stubborn and ambitious. An analytic type.

(Mole on chin) -- Decisive, and not able to relax until decisions are made and goals achieved.

(Gaps between teeth) -- Loves to take risks.


CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

(Round and backwards leaning forehead) -- Strong memory. Never forgets the good or the bad.

(Lines on the forehead) -- Many areas of expertise.

(An extremely backwards tilting forehead) --         Very strong visual memory

(Lowered eyes) -- Looks at life a bit angrily.         May not see many dimensions to certain realities     because of this.

(Lines on nose) -- Interesting sense of humor.

(A newly formed line on chin near lip) -- Has weaknesses when it comes to addressing people. Has a great tendency towards team work and is compromising.

(Sparse brows) -- Calm. Does not anger easily, nor does he appreciate too much talk.

(Rounded chin) -- Pragmatic. Holds grudges.


MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli

(Lines that go downward from his nose) -- The diagonal lines on his cheeks reflect a difficult life full of struggle. He is melancholy. He has a very emotional aspect to him.

(Eyes and eyebrows close together) -- He tends to think and make decisions quickly. He is focused on results. He does not like criticism very much. He might close channels of communication with those who criticize him. His head indicates a tendency towards imperative command style. He may be known among his close circles as being a very difficult person.

(Sparse eyebrows) -- He would be a good subordinate. He is reticent and discreet. He does not like too much talking. He is very calm in character, and does not get angry quickly.

(Earlobes and under-nose area) -- He moves slowly and wisely. He likes to be patient and cautious in action.

(Wide forehead) -- He likes to be thoughtful.


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

(An outward-facing chin) -- Quickly perceives realities. Is very talented when it comes to making decisions. Sometimes he is gripped by the need to make decisions solo.

(Invisible eyelids) -- Can lead a group on his own. Cannot stand it when his demands and orders are not followed. Tends towards seeing and talking about that which is negative.

(Backwards tilted chin and ears) -- Has both a visual and an aural memory. Never forgets what he hears or sees. Controls himself very well. He is calm. He loves to listen.

(Wide forehead) -- Loves thought and to be thoughtful. He is a deep thinker. He has a personality that tends towards self-development.

(Long nose) -- Has the makeup of a leader.

(Eyebrows that become thinner at the end) -- Is an expert in many fields.

(A wide face) -- Has the spirit of a poet. Also has the natural makeup of a statesman.

(Natural smile) -- Sincere, delicate in spirit and conservative.

(Full lips and large mouth) Extroverted. Has a high ambition for success. Places importance on pleasure as well.


The late President Turgut Özal

(Lines on his nose) -- He has secret talents and a feel for jokes.

(Flat mouth opening) -- In control of his emotions and realistic.

(Distinctive inner and outer ear differences) -- His character is well developed, he is modest, open to communication, and with strong instincts.

(A small mole on his throat) -- He places importance on food.

(Straight ears) -- Places much importance on quality and image.

(Pear-shaped chin) -- Along with his calm, quiet and intellectual character, he is also respectful and modest when it comes to other people.

(A balanced face) -- He has a balanced character that is very stable, and is not a slave to his emotions.


US President Barack Obama

(Large mouth) -- An extroverted and social type with lots of self-confidence.

(Large nostrils) -- Sensitive about financial matters, sometimes wavers on decisions.

(Large front tooth) -- Sly.

(Mole by side of mouth) -- Some stomach problems from time to time. Tends towards digestive tract problems.

(Large ears) -- Loves to listen. Has a very strong sense of music. Loves to work alone. Mid-level intelligence. His communication skills make him loved by others and successful.

(Balanced face) -- A struggler. Knows how to behave depending on the situation. Balanced personality

(Line between his brows) -- Perfectionist. Always wants to be in control. Feet are on firm ground.

(Long chin) -- Tendency towards leadership.

(Dimple like lines on his cheeks) -- Romantic and lively.


BDP Co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş

(Widow’s Peak) -- Charismatic and flighty.

(Double chin) -- May be thinking two or three different things at same time.

(Deep line on forehead) -- Can quickly become bored.

(Narrow forehead) -- Gets headaches from time to time. Might be unhappy.

(Big gap over top lip) -- Tends towards risk-taking

(Eyebrows that becomes sparser towards end) -- Has interests in strange areas, and is stubborn.






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