Posted 20 hours ago

The Wisdom of Insecurity

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The problem of happiness is simply that, if we are rational creatures trying to maximize our subjective conscious experience, we do a spectacularly bad job of it. This is important, Watts’ notes because much of our anxieties and unhappiness stems from trying to find security for the self, to protect it from change. Watts’ objection, however, is that we mistake this essential abstraction for our fundamental nature. 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.

At the end of the day, the source for these kinds of things doesn't matter much; it's just getting the ideas and running with them. If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o'-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.

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. 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. Watts was one of the first people to detect the spiritual emptiness that many people feel in modern society (in spite of rising living standards and longevity) and in this book he proposes, if not a cure for this feeling of emptiness, then at least a new way of looking at things. However, in many situations we are like the man getting surgery—unable to change anything at all, yet also ruining our present moment which is unproblematic.

Alan Watts was one of the big popularizers of Zen and other Asian spiritual philosophies in the 50s and 60s, and I greatly enjoyed his television program. This inaccessibility of the philosophy could explain why it didn’t become the dominant understanding in most religions, since most people couldn’t reach past the metaphors and so, instead, hung onto them as literal truth.I realize that no matter how much security I may gain I will always need more of it, and this striving can set me on an endless “hamster wheel” of anxiety. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. A few friends recommended I read this book , because of my budding interest in Buddhism and Eastern religions.

Pa ko ti je kriv kad ti je intuicija zbog života u kapitalizmu na nivou krave opaučene maljem koja ide u klanicu na pokretnoj traci. However, I suppose I shouldn’t get too caught up in this contradiction, seeing as for a man who believed in the essential unexplainability of Zen, Watts’ himself wrote over twenty books about it.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. When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectation must come to an end. According to Watts there is no method to solve the problem of happiness, “The question ‘What shall we do about it? He challenges your thoughts, your definition of "right", cuts through the bullshit of our constant yearning for security and approval.

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