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Beyond Fate (Massey Lectures) (CBC Massey Lecture)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Many people today are afflicted with a sense that they cannot change things for the better. They feel helpless, constrained, caught, in a word, fatalistic. Beyond Fate examines why. In her characteristically lively prose, Margaret Visser investigates what fate means to us, and where the propensity to believe in it and accept it comes from. She takes an ancient metaphor whe ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by House of Anansi Press (first published 2002)
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Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed with the first lecture. I wrestled with what I didn't like, and I tentatively think that I found that her style of oral presentation had not translated well to the written word. A bit too repetitive, and a few too many returns to the opening theme. Which was too bad, I thought, because her premise is an excellent one: that we, as citizens of a 'free' society are using that freedom to choose to revert back to being victims of fate, which we have chosen to call 'globali ...more
Hamuel Sunter
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Sanctimonious as heck and mostly a drag, though I enjoyed the etymological arguments and the points about addiction and boredom in consumer culture.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is something really lovely about Visser's writing style.
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Always enjoy the Massey lectures series
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Visser writes in a very rich and gastronomic way, yet the end of the book is definitely more cohesive than the beginning.

As an inspirational and socially conscious book, Beyond Fate is perfect, because it shows exactly how believe in fate/dogma/destiny as a substitute for our own will power, can drive us down. And how this is connected to present-day societal fatalism.

She explores fate throughout the centuries, from Plato to Richard Dawkins ("we are our genes") and she shows the different ways
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Margaret Visser is a unique voice, thoughtful and precise in her observations. She dissects common rituals, customs, and habits to which we've grown accustom, and puts them under a microscope to examine their DNA. Most interesting, and most intriguing to me, is an examination of the subtle differences between fate and destiny, and how each one reveals how a society perceives the world.
Lara Thompson
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read. Fatalism (boredom, embarrassment, formerly but also still honour + shame -- internet trolling and celebrity fawning for instance) in modern society as an imposed and accepted default that serves capitalism and our dismissal of anything religious/spiritual/not logical/other. Not a religious text although it does discuss Christian ideals albeit without necessitating an actual God figure in any of the arguments. Short and insightful!
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Fatalism is the refusal of transcendence. Hmm.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't find the book to be enthralling, and the gimmick of exploring concepts related to time and fate through semantics mostly didn't appeal to me.
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Margaret Visser writes on the history, anthropology, and mythology of
everyday life. Her most recent book is The Gift of Thanks, published by HarperCollins. Her previous books, Much Depends on Dinner, The Rituals of Dinner, The Way We Are, and The Geometry of Love, have all been best sellers and have won major international awards, including the Glenfiddich Award for Foodbook of the Year in Britain

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