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Making Sense of MicronesiaThe Logic of Pacific Island Culture$
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Francis X. S.J. Hezel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836610

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836610.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

Handling Uncertainty and Loss

Handling Uncertainty and Loss

(p.152) 12 Handling Uncertainty and Loss
Making Sense of Micronesia

Francis X. Hezel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how Micronesians handle uncertainty and loss. In keeping with the island view of reality, Micronesians have always preferred the personal over the scientific to explain the uncertainties of life. When faced with a mysterious illness, for example, islanders would turn to people rather than viruses or hormones or blood cells. If an older person suddenly becomes sick, the family would ask who (not what) was responsible for such a misfortune. Islanders believe that natural forces and spiritual powers could be channeled to control events either to help or harm people. What westerners call “magic,” islanders call “medicine.” This chapter shows that Micronesians rely on divination to predict the future and maintain control over their lives. It also considers how islanders deal with death and other kinds of personal loss, as well as disappointment and catastrophe.

Keywords:   uncertainty, loss, Micronesians, illness, medicine, Micronesia, divination, death, disappointment, catastrophe

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