The Wisdom of Insecurity

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The Wisdom of Insecurity

The Wisdom of Insecurity

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Writing in 1951, he had just lost his vocation as an Episcopal priest and his young wife in a divorce. and I couldn't help it, not only does Alan do a great job explaining some nuggets of Zen Buddhism to the masses but this book has a funny way of giving some practical application to the whole "letting go" phenomenon that psychologists, twelve-step people and religious enthusiasts alike seem to rave on about. It also lies in the assumption that my feelings, actions, thoughts (the self) are somehow faulty and need repairing. This no-method view with resolving a fundamental life problem could be said to put Watts firmly against much of the philosophy of personal development.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.That I’m a consistent entity across time is very practical for maintaining friendships, finding work or getting a bank loan. If being more anxious made us slightly less likely to be eaten by a tiger, but it destroyed many moments of uncomplicated bliss, that would be a positive trade-off.

We can practice imagining the future, but when it finally comes it often doesn’t feel much like our imaginations and once it has been dealt with it is quickly replaced with a new hope or worry. I see how my own anxiety is fueled by worrying about a future that I can’t really know nor completely prepare for. Facebook sets this cookie to show relevant advertisements to users by tracking user behaviour across the web, on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report.Yet, if you look at a large amount of human activity, it does seem to fall into Watts’ diagnosis that we’re in a state of anxiety and hunger, for no discernible net benefit to happiness. This basic approach accords much in my understanding with the basics of Zen, which takes Buddhist ideas about the nature of suffering and the nonexistence of the self, but adds to the idea that enlightenment is something instantly attainable through meditation, rather than the product of thousands of lifetimes of karmic investment. Even though this book is well over 60 years old, it remains an extremely timely read, and it is surprisingly fresh in both its approach and thinking. In particular, Watts’ ideas inevitably make specific claims about cognitive science and how our brains must work.

If I remember correctly, the central idea is the Daoist principle of "invest in loss" as we say in Taiji Quan practice. But I think it is provocative in that it also neatly resolves some of the practical and metaphysical problems I see with a more standard, scientific Western view of the world. Can’t wait to come back to this book when I can look at it with a more critical and experienced mind.But Watts believes there is just one of us and this one includes the flowers, plants, animals and everything. And according to Watts, we don't even have the true past to draw upon, but a memory of the past which is really only part of the present. Some sacrifice of present enjoyment, could be merited, if it would create a greater future happiness or avoid a greater future pain. 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.

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