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31 nuggets from Alan Watt’s The Wisdom of Insecurity

Alan Watts’s The Wisdom of Insecurity.

Netherlands 2020. Best selling cars ranking
Friday October 02, 2020

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I came upon the book in a Twitter thread – the source eludes me now, or I’d give credit.

trong khám chữa bệnh có hơn 10.000 loại TTBYT
Wednesday September 09, 2020

Sức khỏe. Làm đẹp Khoẻ đẹp mỗi ngày Giới tính Sống vui khỏe Thời sự Sức khỏe Sức khỏe Minh bạch thị trường trang thiết bị y tế. Liên Châu. [email protected] 04:49 – 10/09/2020 Thanh Niên Sau khi cơ quan chức năng liên tục phát hiện nhiều vụ việc trang thiết bị y tế bị đẩy […]

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His writing style is so crisp and dense that it will take many re-reads to better grasp what he’s saying, but even the first pass was great.

Here are some of my favorite highlights:

When belief in the eternal becomes impossible, and there is only the poor substitute of belief in believing, men seek their happiness in the joys of time. However much they may try to bury it in the depths of their minds, they are well aware that these joys are both uncertain and brief. Consequently our age is one of frustration, anxiety, agitation, and addiction to “dope.” Somehow we must grab what we can while we can, and drown out the realization that the whole thing is futile and meaningless. This “dope” we call our high standard of living, a violent and complex stimulation of the senses, which makes them progressively less sensitive and thus in need of yet more violent stimulation. The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality, to look at the finger pointing the way and then to suck it for comfort rather than follow it. As far as we can judge, every animal is so busy with what he is doing at the moment that it never enters his head to ask whether life has a meaning or a future. If, then, we are to be fully human and fully alive and aware, it seems that we must be willing to suffer for our pleasures. For the animal to be happy it is enough that this moment be enjoyable. But man is hardly satisfied with this at all. He is much more concerned to have enjoyable memories and expectations — especially the latter. With these assured, he can put up with an extremely miserable present. Without this assurance, he can be extremely miserable in the midst of immediate physical pleasure. The power of memories and expectations is such that for most human beings the past and the future are not as real, but more real than the present. The present cannot be lived happily unless the past has been “cleared up” and the future is bright with promise.For the machine can submit to strains far beyond the capacity of the body, and to monotonous rhythms which the human being could never stand. Useful as it would be as a tool and a servant, we worship its rationality, its efficiency, and its power to abolish limitations of time and space, and thus permit it to regulate our lives.If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want. Herein lies the crux of the matter. To stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it.To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening. To understand joy or fear, you must be wholly and undividedly aware of it. So long as you are calling it names and saying, “I am happy,” or “I am afraid,” you are not being aware of it. In moments of great joy we do not, as a rule, stop to think, “I am happy,” or, “This is joy.” Ordinarily, we do not pause to think thoughts of this kind until the joy is past its peak, or unless there is some anxiety that it will go away. Every experience is in this sense new, and at every moment of our lives we are in the midst of the new and the unknown. Wanting to get out of pain is the pain; it is not the “reaction” of an “I” distinct from the pain. When you discover this, the desire to escape “merges” into the pain itself and vanishes.In the widest sense of the word, to name is to interpret experience by the past, to translate it into terms of memory, to bind the unknown into the system of the known. Civilized man knows of hardly any other way of understanding things. Everybody, everything, has to have its label, its number, certificate, registration, classification. For all the qualities which we admire or loathe in the world around us are reflections from within—though from a within that is also a beyond, unconscious, vast, unknown. Philosophers, for example, often fail to recognize that their remarks about the universe apply also to themselves and their remarks. If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. If this world is a vicious trap, so is its accuser, and the pot is calling the kettle black. Obviously, it all exists for this moment. It is a dance, and when you are dancing you are not intent on getting somewhere. Death is the epitome of the truth that in each moment we are thrust into the unknown.Morals are for avoiding an unfair distribution of pleasure and pain.The “natural” man lives for one motive: to protect his body from pain and to associate it with pleasure. One of the highest pleasures is to be more or less unconscious of one’s own existence, to be absorbed in interesting sights, sounds, places, and people. Conversely, one of the greatest pains is to be self-conscious, to feel unabsorbed and cut off from the community and the surrounding world. But the best pleasures are those for which we do not plan, and the worst part of pain is expecting it and trying to get away from it when it has come. You cannot plan to be happy.For the more my actions are directed towards future pleasures, the more I am incapable of enjoying any pleasures at all. For all pleasures are present, and nothing save complete awareness of the present can even begin to guarantee future happiness.I am depressed, and want to get “I” out of this depression. The opposite of depression is elation, but because depression is not elation, I cannot force myself to be elated. I can, however, get drunk. This makes me wonderfully elated, and so when the next depression arrives, I have a quick cure. The subsequent depressions have a way of getting deeper and blacker, because I am not digesting the depressed state and eliminating its poisons. So I need to get even drunker to drown them. Very soon I begin to hate myself for getting so drunk, which makes me still more depressed—and so it goes. The Christian mind has always been haunted by the feeling that the sins of the saints are worse than the sins of the sinners The “saint” who appears to have conquered his self-love by spiritual violence has only concealed it. His apparent success convinces others that he has found the “true way,” and they follow his example long enough for the course to swing to its opposite pole, when license becomes the inevitable reaction to puritanism. There is no problem of how to love. We love. We are love, and the only problem is the direction of love, whether it is to go straight out like sunlight, or to try to turn back on itself like a “candle under a bushel.”Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. […] It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.It is obvious that the only interesting people are interested people, and to be completely interested is to have forgotten about “I.” The highest to which man can attain is wonder; and if the prime phenomenon makes him wonder, let him be content; nothing higher can it give him, and nothing further should he seek for behind it; here is the limit.

trong khám chữa bệnh có hơn 10.000 loại TTBYT
Wednesday September 09, 2020

Sức khỏe. Làm đẹp Khoẻ đẹp mỗi ngày Giới tính Sống vui khỏe Thời sự Sức khỏe Sức khỏe Minh bạch thị trường trang thiết bị y tế. Liên Châu. [email protected] 04:49 – 10/09/2020 Thanh Niên Sau khi cơ quan chức năng liên tục phát hiện nhiều vụ việc trang thiết bị y tế bị đẩy […]

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You can find the book on Kindle here.

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