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The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (Paperback)
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Acclaimed philosopher Alan Watts shows us how—in an age of unprecedented anxiety—we can find fulfillment by embracing the present and living more fully in the now. He is "the perfect guide for a course correction in life" (from the Introduction by Deepak Chopra).
The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.
Alan Watts draws on the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and religion in this timeless and classic guide to living a more fulfilling life. His central insight is more relevant now than ever: when we spend all of our time worrying about the future and lamenting the past, we are unable to enjoy the present moment—the only one we are actually able to inhabit.
Watts offers the liberating message that true certitude and security come only from understanding that impermanence and insecurity are the essence of our existence. He highlights the futility of endlessly chasing moving goalposts, whether they consist of financial success, stability, or escape from pain, and shows that it is only by acknowledging what we do not know that we can learn anything truly worth knowing.
In The Wisdom of Insecurity, Watts explains complex concepts in beautifully simple terms, making this the kind of book you can return to again and again for comfort and insight in challenging times.
“Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Watts had the rare gift of ‘writing beautifully the unwritable.’” —Los Angeles Times
About the Author
ALAN W. WATTS, who held both a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best remembered as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. Standing apart, however, from sectarian membership, he has earned the reputation of being one of the most original and “unrutted” philosophers of the twentieth century. Watts was the author of some twenty books on the philosophy and psychology of religion that have been published in many languages throughout the world, including the bestselling The Way of Zen. An avid lecturer, Watts appeared regularly on the radio and hosted the popular television series, Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life, in the 1960s. He died in 1973.
“Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Watts had the rare gift of ‘writing beautifully the unwritable.’”
—Los Angeles Times
“The wisdom of insecurity is not a way of evasion, but of carrying on wherever we happen to be stationed—carrying on, however, without imagining that the burden of the world, or even of the next moment, is ours. It is a philosophy not of nihilism but of the reality of the present—always remembering that to be of the present is to be, and candidly know ourselves to be, on the crest of a breaking wave.”
—Philip Wheelwright, Arts and Letters
“This book proposes a complete reversal of all ordinary thinking about the present state of man. The critical condition of the world compels us to face this problem: how is man to live in a world in which he can never be secure, deprived, as many are, of the consolations of religious belief? The author shows that this problem contains its own solution—that the highest happiness, the supreme spiritual insight and certitude are found only in our awareness that impermanence and insecurity are inescapable and inseparable from life. Written in a simple and lucid style, it is a timely message.”
—Book Exchange (London)