Altering Fate: Why the Past Does Not Predict the Future
Daring to challenge prevailing models of child development, this provocative book from eminent psychologist Michael Lewis persuasively argues that childhood experiences neither determine who we later become nor limit what we can do. Just as our world, with its randomness, catastrophes, and chance encounters, is unpredictable in nature, Lewis shows, so too is the course of our lives. What enables us to survive - and sets us free from our pasts - is our astonishing adaptability to change, shaped by the uniquely human attributes of consciousness, will, and desire. Bringing a fresh perspective to the work of Freud, Piaget, and theorists of mother-infant attachment, Lewis disputes the idea that we can define identity based on past events or fixed stages of growth. Our pasts themselves, the book demonstrates, gain meaning only through our present consciousness, and their meaning changes as we negotiate between our values, our goals, and our present circumstances. Elaborating the author's contextual approach, chapters explore topics as wide-ranging as the surprising twists of individual life stories, the philosophy of time, the correlation (or lack thereof) between childhood abuse and adult violence, and the effects of environment on mental illness. Lewis convincingly argues that programs to help children should be designed not to prevent something that may occur someday, or to cure something that has already happened, but to foster health and alleviate difficulty now, when it counts most. Throughout, this compelling book calls into question many of our basic assumptions about causes and effects in psychological development.
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CHANCE AND NECESSITY
THREE FIXED IDEAS
TRADITIONAL MODELS OF CHANGE
DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT
PROGRESS AND THE METAPHOR OF DEVELOPMENT
BEHAVIOR SERVES MANY MASTERS
EINSTEIN PIAGET AND THE SELF
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