The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety

by Alan W. Watts

Watts argues our insecurity is the consequence of trying to be secure and that, ironically, salvation and sanity lie in the recognition that we have no way of saving ourselves.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Rating: 4.26
  • Pages: 152
  • Publish Date: September 12th 1968 by Vintage
  • Isbn10: 0394704681
  • Isbn13: 9780394704685

Read the Book "The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety" Online

Ignorance is the failure to see the basic self contradiction of this position - from which arises a futile grasping or controlling of life which is self frustration, and the pattern of life a vicious circle.

I honestly think that if I had spent many years studying East Asian philosophy (drawing from literature and other sources as well, as Watts does) and compiling my findings into a short book, I would have come up with something very similar. And if there is anything objectionable (not that I detect anything, but like I said, my brain is shot), some kind of slant or bias in the writing, it doesn't matter much to me, because I've got the ideas and concepts that I need. I don't think it would do the book justice to summarize but I will do my best to give you an idea of whether or not you should read this book. I think the best indicator of how much you will like this book is how similar you are to me. If you: - Have a logical and scientific mind - Are lost in your own religious and philosophical pursuits - Constantly feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed - Are struggling to find your identity - Are interested in philosophy in a theoretical and logical way - Are willing to accept new ways of viewing reality Then I would highly suggest you read this book. I don't think this makes the book any lesser, it just means that it's not quite what you need.

But to attempt anyway: This is a book about living in the present moment, and it kind of messes with your mind in that great expansive sort of way.

However, this makes the stunning revelations in the book less stunning than they would have been 60 years ago.

The Wisdom of Insecurity is a book that was for me life-changing.

I saw this book as a sort of manual on how to train the mind to experience or be aware of what is now rather than dwelling in the past and the future. It consists in being completely sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive." So, not living in the present moment causes more pain and suffering. What we are remembering about the past is happening right now and thus becomes part of our present experience. But in doing this we are not aware of the present moment for we are focused on our memory of the past. And by planning for the future, again, we are not living in the present moment but a future one that may or may not ever come to be. Self-improvement implies a split of self, one of the past, negative view of the self (the mistakes I made, what I need to fix) and one of the future, idealistic self (an unrealistic ideal of the future self, that may or may not come to be). If the self is split between the past and the future, how can it experience what is now?

There is some good stuff in here, and this is what I took away: Live in the present, because the present is essentially all there is; the past and future are mental memories that we evoke in the present. This is similar to all the "reversed effort" stuff he talks about; by trying to be secure, we gain insecurity, and to reach peace, we need to accept that we are running away from insecurity, embrace insecurity, and somehow that leads to us being secure. As is evident from his forgettable arguments about determinism, his own admittance of the relevant concepts' reliance on intuition and not intellectual argument, and the vast number of assumptions he makes without evidence, this is not meant to be considered a 'scholarly' work at all, despite the scientific references within. Maybe it's because my woo-woo meter was moderate (around the same level as Eckhart Tolle's books) and that was a distraction from really trying to throw away my preconceived notions and understand what he's saying.