The Wisdom of Insecurity

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The Wisdom of Insecurity

The Wisdom of Insecurity

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However, the one idea underpinning everything said here goes back to antiquity, and is probably the heritage of Eastern mysticism. If, instead, one stops trying to separate from these experiences, they tend to dissolve on their own quite readily. We are not certain where this I lives: in our heads, our bodies but we are certain there is a I and everybody else is you. We are anxious not only because we are not living in the eternal now but because we think there is a separate I.

I have been taught by the very liberal community in which I have grown up to be skeptical of anything written by a white man in the 1950s and, in general, I think this skepticism is probably warranted. And the screws were only JUST THEN beginning to be tightened on our brains by our intense political and cultural pressure! I think I saw the word 'insecurity,' and thought, "Hey, I'm pretty insecure," which I realize sounds completely ludicrous, and, as a teenage girl, I don't expect to be taken seriously when I do foolish things.

In this fascinating book, Alan Watts explores man's quest for psychological security, examining our efforts to find spiritual and intellectual certainty in the realms of religion and philosophy. Furthermore, the growth of an acute sense of the past and future gives us a corresponding dim sense of the present. Watts' starting point is the predicament of western man in the mid twentieth century; the book is definitely a product of 'you've never had it so good' 1950's materialism. I think what Watts is trying to say is that to focus on something too much is to loose it and ultimately be disappointed. Building on the abstraction of time, the abstraction of the self is also only present as an extrapolation into your memories of the past.

In contrast even to the epistemic optimism of science, Watts’ is actually the skeptic, avoiding presuming the existence of things that cannot be perceived directly. That, despite our protests, what we are really motivated to act on isn’t happiness maximization, but a blind, Sisyphean quest for greater evolutionary fitness. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. Planning for the future brings with it anxiety, a false sense of security and safety, both of which do not exist. 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.And I've been in a lot of pain, not from my philosophical and religious drifting but a medical condition beyond my control. You see, he had raised his own personal bar to that level of anxiety - for four was his own Happy Hour.

Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are 'itself. Nothing wrong with that, really, but it’s certainly not on everybody’s list of go-to occupations anymore. But once we open up to wonder, see the connections between everything, we will no longer be the anxious I desperately trying to feel OK. As Watt’s explains, “Part of man’s frustration is that he has become accustomed to expert language and thought to offer explanations which they cannot give. The desire for perfect control, of the environment and of oneself, is based on a profound mistrust of the controller.We assert our ego-self by thinking of ourselves as separate from our experience, which leads to unnecessary anxiety. Our descriptions, measurements and science are an attempt to translate reality into terms we can deal with in our brain. While words often correspond to reality in predictable ways, which is why we use them, this can create the confusion that words are the reality. However, this makes the stunning revelations in the book less stunning than they would have been 60 years ago. But Watts believes there is just one of us and this one includes the flowers, plants, animals and everything.

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