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Synopsis

In spite of modern ideals and achievements in the area of freedom and choice, people today are often afflicted with a sense that they cannot change things for the better. They feel helpless, constrained, caught -- in a word, fatalistic. Beyond Fate, Margaret Visser's 2002 CBC Massey Lectures, examines why. This timely and important book investigates what fate means, and where the propensity to believe in it and accept it comes from. Visser takes an ancient metaphor -- ubiquitous, influential, perhaps unavoidable -- where time is "seen" and spoken of as though it were space; she examines how this way of picturing reality can be a useful tool to think with -- or, on the other hand, may lead us into disastrous misunderstandings. There are ways out. But first, by observing how fatalism manifests itself in our daily lives, in everything from table manners and shopping to sport, we understand our profound attachment to fate, so that we can consider its role in our lives and our cultures.

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