- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Random House USA Inc (3 Jun. 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394704681
- ISBN-13: 978-0394704685
- Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.1 x 18.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 876,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Wisdom of Insecurity Paperback – 3 Jun 1988
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A classic look at man's search for certainty from the acclaimed expert on Eastern philosophy --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Alan Watts was the foremost Western expert on Eastern thought, specialising in Zen Buddhism. He was the author of a number of books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, which have continued to be in popular demand over the past forty years. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Watts also shows how scientific scepticism has undermined the belief in God. Watts sums up this stance perfectly: 'If, the scientists would say, you believe in God, you must do so on purely emotional grounds, without basis in logic or fact.' Needless to say such scepticism has grown inordinately since Watts wrote these words and it has perhaps reached its zenith in recent years with the 'New Atheist' movement. This scientific viewpoint has made the belief in the Christian God untenable for many western people, and it is to such an audience that Watts aims his writing.
There are so many pithy statements in this book; every page seems to contain a phrase or sentence that just leaps out at you and I love Watts' distinction between faith and belief: 'belief clings while faith lets go.' You could certainly see similarities between Watts' writing in this book and the work of J. Krishnamurti in such books as 'The First and Last Freedom.Read more ›
While this outlook may seem pessimistic it is rather the opposite. Watts is pointing to another way to live, the discovery of our true selves, it's just we have forgotten our true nature, which has been clouded by the worship of consumerism, materialism and scientific thought.
'Belief clings on, but faith lets go'. Watts suggests that we need to release our burdens of life before we will find our way again. And he is right.
My favourite part in the book is where Watts explores the use of language and 'describing' things.
"What is this? This is a rose. But 'a rose' is a noise. What is a noise? A noise is an impact of air waves on the ear drum. Then a rose is an impact on the eardrum? No, a rose is aroseis a rose..."
This attitude to everyday life is present throughout the book and simply makes you think about the way you lead your life. I keep reading this book over and over again and finding i understand more each time. This book will help you to find your way again.
Almost universally glowing reviews about how his 1951 book The Wisdom of Insecurity has radically changed people's lives runs the risk of new readers' expectations being too high. It is quite a hardgoing book written in a deceptively simple style. Watts pointedly writes that the 150-page book "is not a psychological or spiritual discipline for self-improvement"; instead he considers himself (as he has said elsewhere) to be a "philosophical entertainer", showing you his vision of the world for you to enjoy with him. The road can be as witty as it is enlightening - for example when he looks up to the night sky and asks: "How long have the planets been circling the sun? Are they getting anywhere, and do they go faster and faster in order to arrive?".
Back on the ground the key to Watts's argument is that the age of insecurity and anxiety is "the result of trying to be secure". To resolve this painful circularity of feeling, we should accept that "we have no way of saving ourselves" and learn to be "effortlessly aware of the present experience". Watts vividly describes the existence with which many can identity: people living in a "fantasy of expectation rather than the reality of the present", failing to really live "because they are always *preparing* to live. Instead of earning a living they are mostly earning an earning.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading this book is like doing stretches or yoga with the brain. One to read over and over again. Brilliant.Published 1 month ago by Dave
I have already purchased this book for me. Love the content! Alan Watts' child I am :) ps. This one is a gift for a friend!Published 7 months ago by annas
came fast, in one piece. The book itself is not a read for killing time though. Gotta focus a bit :)Published 10 months ago by Aivars Jekabs Zarins
I used to be a bit uncertain about this book, but now I'm not so surePublished 10 months ago by Bob
I bought this book after listening to Watts' mesmerizing YouTube lectures, and I could hear his clear voice speaking as I read it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Beth Duffus
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