ABSTRACT

This typical quotation from a morning horoscope illustrates in a somewhat extreme way an important fact about many people’s approach to living. There seems to be a strong desire, perhaps not openly expressed but lurking just beneath the consciousness, to view life in general and one’s own life in particular as containing some kind of order: a pattern, or plan, with a sort of golden thread running through it. Writers throughout the ages have discussed such concepts as ‘human destiny’, ‘inexorable fate’, ‘the meaning of life’. Underlying all these concepts is the assumption – again, often tacit – that we are unavoidably caught up in a process over which we as individuals – and perhaps as a race – have no final control.