The history of the world is full of prophecies and portents, but we tend to feel, especially in the West, that all this belongs to the past. In Asia, however, the occult is still invoked to explain current events at least as often as economics or, until recently, ideology. In China, in India, in Indonesia, what we call superstition is still very much part of everyday life. Astrology, chiromancy, the art of reading the future in a person’s face or the soles of his feet or the leaves in his cup, play a very substantial role in the life of the people and in public affairs, as do the practice of healers, shamans and the masters of feng-shui, the cosmic geometry. The name to give a child, the purchase of a field, the sale of a portfolio of shares, the repair of a roof, the departure or a declaration of war, are governed by criteria that have nothing to do with our logic.
Tiziano Terzani, A Fortune-Teller Told Me