In China, the concept of "joss" was well accepted. Basically, it translates as "luck." People believed that one's life was directed by the joss with which one was blessed or cursed. I think that, for the vast majority of my life, I enjoyed joss that allowed me and my family to enjoy many benefits.
For the past few weeks, this column has not appeared in the Tribune because I've been recuperating from surgery, and I've had a lot of time to think about things, especially the mysteries of life. After considerable contemplation, I've concluded that much of what happens during one's existence is really outside the control of the individual. In this case, we have a good example of the psychological concept of de ja vu. In fact, I seem to recall writing an introductory paragraph like this almost exactly two years ago.
Since the turn of the 20th century, at least, people have taught that our destinies are in our own hands. In the classic debate regarding free will and predestination, not only did free will win, but it also carried all of its corollaries to victory.
Encouragin adages, from "you are the harbinger of your own fate" to "you are what you eat," seem to apply. We have been encouraged to "be all that you can be" and "always see the glass as being half full." What rubbish! ...