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

  • Title: The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
  • Author: Alan W. Watts
  • ISBN: 9780307741202
  • Page: 437
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Wisdom of Insecurity A Message for an Age of Anxiety We live in an age of unprecedented anxiety Spending all our time trying to anticipate and plan for the future and to lamenting the past we forget to embrace the here and now We are so concerned with
    We live in an age of unprecedented anxiety Spending all our time trying to anticipate and plan for the future and to lamenting the past, we forget to embrace the here and now We are so concerned with tomorrow that we forget to enjoy today Drawing from Eastern philosophy and religion, Alan Watts shows that it is only by acknowledging what we do not and cannot know that wWe live in an age of unprecedented anxiety Spending all our time trying to anticipate and plan for the future and to lamenting the past, we forget to embrace the here and now We are so concerned with tomorrow that we forget to enjoy today Drawing from Eastern philosophy and religion, Alan Watts shows that it is only by acknowledging what we do not and cannot know that we can learn anything truly worth knowing In The Wisdom of Insecurity, he shows us how, in order to lead a fulfilling life, we must embrace the present and live fully in the now Featuring an Introduction by Deepak Chopra.

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      437 Alan W. Watts
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      Posted by:Alan W. Watts
      Published :2019-05-04T11:10:02+00:00

    About Alan W. Watts


    1. Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer and speaker, who held both a Master s in Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity Famous for his research on comparative religion, he was best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies for a Western audience He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher consciousness, the meaning of life, concepts and images of God and the non material pursuit of happiness In his books he relates his experience to scientific knowledge and to the teachings of Eastern and Western religion and philosophy.


    1000 Comments


    1. Any system approaching perfect self control is also approaching self frustration. Such a system is a vicious circle, and has the same logical structure as a statement which states something about itself, for example, "I am lying", when it is implied that the statement itself is a lie. The statement circulates forever, since it is true to the extent that it is false, and false to the extent that it is true. In other words: I can't throw a pebble so long as I am holding on to it- so as to maintain [...]

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    2. I think this book is bloody brilliant.For the last couple of months, I've been very lost as far as my personal philosophy and religion. I used to be a Christian; I used to be an atheist; I used to be an agnostic; and then I couldn't even commit to not committing to anything. And I've been in a lot of pain, not from my philosophical and religious drifting but a medical condition beyond my control.And then one day, on a whim, I decided to browse my local library's used bookstore and I saw this boo [...]

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    3. It's funny, I showed this book to one of my brilliant high school students and he took a look at it and called it a self-help book for people who aren't strong enough to think for themselves and read Nietzsche. (Sounds exactly like something I would have said when I was his age, how far have I fallen) Anywho, I wasn't sure whether or not i wanted to give this four or five starsd I couldn't help it, not only does Alan do a great job explaining some nuggets of Zen Buddhism to the masses but this b [...]

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    4. To even attempt a review of this almost undermines the point, for Watts is writing about how definitions and descriptions always try and fail to fix what is fundamentally transient and flowing. 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. What if there really only is this present moment, unfolding forever? Watts was one of the early popularizers of zen buddhism in the west, and this book was wr [...]

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    5. If you are the type of reader that highlights the important parts, i would suggest just dipping this entire book in yellow dye. I read it in a little more than 4 hours but i could spend days talking about it. The clarity of Watts' writing amazes me. Highly recommended.

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    6. Alan Watts is an ex Episcopal priest who converted to Zen Buddhism and then to Taoism, and then sort of moved beyond both in his own way. The Wisdom of Insecurity is a book that was for me life-changing. It argues, among other things, that insecurity, indeterminacy, is the truth of existence, and that to cling to particular things as if they were eternal is to waste your time and strength. He says it far more eloquently than I can. If you are the kind of person who asks questions, this is a book [...]

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    7. It's unbelievable that this short book was written in 1951, foreshadowing massive amounts of today's popular "self-help" ideology. However, this makes the stunning revelations in the book less stunning than they would have been 60 years ago. There's some good work here on the layers that our minds add to the true reality, and some good metaphors to explain why those should not be important to us. But it's a bit idealistic and very difficult to apply in practice. It's a personal revelation, not a [...]

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    8. Utterly disappointing. It's like listening to a reasonably intelligent person talk out loud while cleaning his navel.Watts posits all sorts of random ideas without backing them up in any form (i.e. evidence or even further thought), and there is no clear logic to the order in which he presents these ideas. I was expecting a thought-provoking question or two to rise to the surface, so I kept at it, but in the end was left with the distinct feeling that I'd just listened to a stoner with a big ego [...]

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    9. Very simply written and accessible, yet very complex at the same time. An amazing book that I will come back to again later and he says so much more than what I am going to mention here. In this book, Watts often states the obvious. But only because it needs to be stated in order to remind the reader of what is important or to ensure it is not forgotten. Sometimes what is the most obvious is exactly what we don't see. I saw this book as a sort of manual on how to train the mind to experience or [...]

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    10. This book forever changed my life and irreversibly changed the way I look at anything and everything. Alan Watts has an ability to cut through the bullshit in human life and expose what it means to be alive: nothing.Read it with a fresh mind, read it more than once, and remember that Watts will often sacrifice the clarity of his point for a play on words or a joke.

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    11. Words could never do the contents of this book or the power of the author ANY justice.

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    12. ح‍ک‍م‍ت‌ ب‍ی‌ق‍راری‌: پ‍ی‍ام‍ی‌ ب‍رای‌ ع‍ص‍ر اض‍طرابهیچ وقت فکرشم نمی کردم شعری که چندین سال تو فکر و تمام جزوه هام بود، موضوع یک کتاب باشه! جمله بی‌قراریت از طلب قرار توست/طالب بی‌قرار شو تا که قرار آیدتوقتی طالب یک امر ثابت باشیم، هرچیزی که برای آن امر ثابت خطری ا [...]

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    13. Yes, I have been reading and rereading lots of Watts lately, partly the result of a felt need on my part. Watts was a pivotal figure in bringing an understanding of Zen Buddhism to the west and was conversant in religious and philosophical traditions of both East and West.In this book he explores the reasons why so many of our religious and philosophical attempts to deal with anxiety and insecurity, epidemic to modern society, are misdirected and misguided, trying desperately to avoid and flee t [...]

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    14. A number of very interesting insights, unfortunately couched in an overwhelming amount of unfounded speculation, illogical and mystical concepts, and baseless assumptions. Worth a reread at some point, in case I didn't "get it". 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.• We have no assurance of a happy future, and if we make plans [...]

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    15. I keep coming back over and over to this book. It helps me cope with tragedy, anxiety, and the pressures I put myself under. The simple message in this short book is one of surrender and non-duality. It is filled with simple examples illuminating eternal truths of all spiritual paths and applying them to the modern world.

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    16. His wit, his piercing insight and cleverness at explaining the unexplainable has been duly noted, so I'll leave that to the side and comment on something a bit more subtle but equally delightful and delicious: His nuanced way of speaking, his style and elegance, his ease with the subject matter, and his sense of humor about it all. His voice is at once conversational and authoritative. And no one can turn a phrase with quite the same panache. Nowhere is this flair more evident than in these "Wat [...]

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    17. "How long have the planets been circling the sun? Are they getting anywhere, and do they go faster and faster in order to arrive? How often has the spring returned to the earth? Does it come faster and fancier every year, to be sure to be better than last spring, and to hurry on its way to the spring that shall out-spring all springs?The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music, also, it is fulfilled in each moment of its course. You do not play a sonata in order to reach the fina [...]

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    18. ﺯﻣﺎﻧﮯ ﮐﯽ ﻳﮧ ﮔﺮﺩﺵ ﺟﺎﻭﺩﺍﻧﮧﺣﻘﻴﻘﺖ ﺍﻳﮏ ﺗﻮ ، ﺑﺎﻗﯽ ﻓﺴﺎﻧﮧﮐﺴﯽ ﻧﮯ ﺩﻭﺵ ﺩﻳﮑﮭﺎ ﮨﮯ ﻧﮧ ﻓﺮﺩﺍﻓﻘﻂ ﺍﻣﺮﻭﺯ ﮨﮯ ﺗﻴﺮﺍ ﺯﻣﺎﻧﮧThe real reason why human life can be soutterly exasperating and frustrating is notbecause there are facts called death, pain,fear, or hunger. The madness of the thingis that when such facts are present, wecircle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, try [...]

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    19. Fair warning: This work is not for the faint of heart, nor for those who desire every writer to flatter what they already believe or to help them prove that they are “right,” and others are “wrong.” Alan Watts does none of these things, but instead challenges our constant striving for security and permanence in a world that in reality is always changing, exposing our endless search for security for the illusion that it is. For Watts, “this insecurity is the result of trying to be secur [...]

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    20. First read this slim volume way back in the early 70s. Picked it up one day last month thinking I could reread it during a lunch hour between depositions downtown. Wrong! Every paragraph is worth five minutes' thought. But at the same time the concepts are so basic and so fundamental to everyday life. As I slowly proceeded, I was reminded of a great many other books from the same general time frame, including Aldous Huxley's Island and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. However, the one idea u [...]

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    21. This was a important book for me. It contains some really mind expanding ideas, and the way it was delivered spoke directly to me. I feel stronger now I've read it, and would recommend to anyone guilty of "thinking too much". The only reason I did not give 5 stars is the last chapter, which in my opinion is confusing and inferior than the rest of the book.

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    22. Beginning to think that everyone should read this book. Everyone.

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    23. Many passages appear word-for-word in "The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are". Not sure if this an editorial thing or self-plagiarism.

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    24. Some of us seem to think that there is a distinction between the pain we feel and the self we create when in fact they are one and the same. You can't have a self that retreats from emotional pain and have it not be linked to that pain. Yet this is just what we do. Something happens, a disturbance is brought up, one that usually offends the self which we could call a memory trace that we take for who we are, and then we use this self to justify the anger which seems to have arisen for no particu [...]

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    25. One of the most deceivingly tough books I've read in a long time. I learned a lot about anxiety and frustration, particularly the unnecessariness of it (Watts' fundamental premise is that anxiety largely comes from our visceral need for security). In many ways, this is likely better suited for 2015 than 1950. Watts is a man ahead of his time.It seems silly to even try to write about this — Watts rams against our excessive use of definitions and symbols to derive meaning. That being said, here' [...]

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    26. Very difficult to give a such a highly regarded book 2 stars, but I'm playing safe with ' system that 2 stars means 'It was ok'. Because if someone asked me what I thought of this book in conversation, that would be my likely response.In many regards a book ahead of its time, and for that reason I can understand its long-standing adoration. However, from my point of view as a very pragmatic person (although willing to try and open my horizons and better myself in any which way), I struggled in m [...]

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    27. This is an amazing book for 1951. Watts is probably one of the clearst writers dealing with the indescribable I have ever read. In this book he deals with the major teachings of Buddhism including the first 3 of the noble truth, impermanence, no self and dependent origination without a single word of jargon. He is able to relate these teachings in a meaningful way to the daily life and concerns of a person living in a western culture with poise clarity and some beautiful if sometimes ruthless tu [...]

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    28. Se tunne, kun ei ole varma onko lukenut tämän aikaisemmin vai tunnistaako vain tekstin niin hyvin omakseenKovin kiihkeästi kirjoitettu teos, jonka vuoksi ehkä yhden tähden pudotin arvosteluani. En osaa arvella miten tämä kolahtaa lukijoihin joilla on uskonnollisempi maailmankatsomus - onko kärkevä kirjoitustyyli poistyöntävää vaiko mukaansa tempaisevaa. Mitään kosiskelevaa tekstissä ei ollut, konstailematon ja tiivis esitys.Wattsin viesti: mieli peilaa koko ajan. Murheen painolas [...]

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    29. I'm becoming rather partial to Mr Watts, this being the second book of his I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. He has a beautiful way of writing, elements of the poetic to it, and some beautiful analogies (and who doesn't love a good analogy??), and just things to get you thinking. And it is amazing to think this book is 60 or so years old. There is hardly anything in it that dates. As with all books that I've read in this genre (let's call it Western Buddhism, or wanky stuff that overthinkers l [...]

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    30. Let me start out by stating that philosophy is not my favorite subject so it won't be a surprise that this review will most definitely reflect that prejudice. There were moments of enlightening wisdom in this little book specifically regarding being in the present moment and that embracing the uncertainty of life is the best means of riding out the insecurity that is inherent in living. Those I considered the high points. The rest of the never-ending double-talk of "I" versus "me" and the sillin [...]

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