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The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety Paperback – February 8, 2011
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“Anyone whose life needs a course correction would be fortunate to be guided by The Wisdom of Insecurity. My life still is, some thirty years later." âDeepak Chopra, from the Introduction
Alan W. Watts’s “message for an age of anxiety” is as powerful today as it wasÂ when this modern classic was first published.
We spend too much time trying to anticipate and plan for the future; too much time lamenting the past. We often miss the pleasures of the moment in our anxious efforts to ensure the next moment is as enjoyable. Drawing from Eastern philosophy and religion, Watts argues that it is only by acknowledging what we do not and cannot know, that we can find something truly worth knowing. In order to lead a fulfilling life, one must embrace the presentâlive fully in the now.
Elegantly reasoned and lucidly written, this philosophical achievement contains all the wisdom and spirit that distinguished Watts’s long career and resonates with us still.
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Cloaked in the mantle of psychological pseudoscience, Mr. Watts attempts to present Zen Buddhism to the West. What is the sound of one hand clapping? I don't know, and neither does Mr. Watts. Nor does he know how to form a coherent thought. However, he is expert at writing sentences of such ostensible profundity, but innate fatuousness, that several generations of people have questioned their own intelligence and comprehension rather than doubt this guru's worthiness.
Look- this book is a perfect example of how the intellectual bandwagon works. Once a New York critic praises you, which is what happened back in the 30s and 40s, other intellectuals, afraid of being out-of-step, will become fervent backers of the work in question and start a process where the whole class of elite lemmings, generation after generation, will have you in reprints for 80 years. It's nothing but an exercise in peer pressure, with very unintelligent- but very affluent and influential- people being so desperate to be thought of as wise. They've rejected their own gods and are in search of something to fill the void. Into that space step confident and charismatic people like Mr. Watts, with volumes of "spiritual" sounding claptrap, and these seekers can all congratulate themselves for being smarter than the common slob.
I was shocked to see that this book had 76 reviews. Why?? The reviewers can't even explain what's so great about the book or even summarize its main points. They simply gush over the "insight", the "mastery", the "wisdom", etc. Such is the nature of the Emperor and his new clothes. Snap out of it!
Oh, and if anyone becomes desperate for the answer to the anagram, I know it (after ten years of crossing my eyes at it). But it's much more satisfying to see it for yourself.