4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Quotes to Live By
I'm no longer sure how I bumped into this book. I'm sure it was from a review or a list of best books to read. In any event, I'm glad I did bump into.
Alan Watts writes about the obvious. But, like so many simple things, we need his clear and effective writing to see that what he says is truely obvious. Basically, we spend too much time planning and anticipating...
Published on May 1 2000 by Joseph L. Rockne
2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazing gobbledegook.
How did this book make it to the philosophy (!) section? It should have been either in the Eastern Religion/New Age, or self-imp sections. This mercifully small book is pompous, at times - ponderous, frequently pretentious, and almost always vacuous. If you read the text carefully, you'll notice many places where it is simply nonsensical; what makes it appear...
Published on Feb. 28 2003 by John Doe
Most Helpful First | Newest First
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Quotes to Live By,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)I'm no longer sure how I bumped into this book. I'm sure it was from a review or a list of best books to read. In any event, I'm glad I did bump into.
Alan Watts writes about the obvious. But, like so many simple things, we need his clear and effective writing to see that what he says is truely obvious. Basically, we spend too much time planning and anticipating the future and too much time thinking about, lamenting and wishing to change the past. I have dogeared too many corners underlying too many quotes to reproduce them all here, but let me give you a flavor:
"If happiness always depends on the future, we are chasing a will-o-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future,and ourselves,vanish in the abyss of death."
This quote is taped to the cover of my fanancial notebook that contains my financial portfolio data, 401K information and reams and reams of retirement plan calculations.
He also wrote:
"But tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unlessyou are in full contact withthe reality of the present,since it is in the present and onlyin thepresent that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly."
This short book contains so many pearls, go get yourself a copy, pick some quotes, write them down, look at them, reread them (e-mail them to me) and get on with living today.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How does he do it?,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)I can't say I've had too many 'mystical experiences' just from reading books - but "The Wisdom of Insecurity" induced at least one. I came across it backpacking in Southeast Asia and was very grateful for having it along with me on the endless overnight bus trips on bad roads.
Alan Watts's great gift was that he was such a gifted communicator of Eastern ideas to Western readers such as myself. You can wade through the Upanishads and the Tao Te Ching, and it's unlikely you will get a lot out of them (at least on the first reading), but Watts always had a way of distilling some of these crucial ideas and conveying them in a way that, for me in any case, sort of slaps you in the face with the lived reality of what he is saying, as opposed to just giving you an intellectual grasp. I read his "Tao: The Watercourse Way" during those same travels and found it similarly enlightening.
Watts's main theme is that since everything is changing and nothing lasts, it is senseless to be clinging to ideas, things, people, and so on. Endeavoring to achieve "security" of any kind, in life, love, job, family, or whatever, is a perpetually receding goal for the simple reason that nothing stands still! Hence the wise man or woman learns to live dynamically balanced in the present, responding creatively and joyously to anything and everything that's happening. This at least is my distillation of the idea, and the more I study the more I feel this simple message is at the core of all meditation and 'seeking.' "Be Here Now" as Ram Dass put it, and Watts communicates this essential message not only better than anyone else I've read, but also beautifully and effectively.
Very highly recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the bible for seekers of enlightenment.,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)This was the first book recommended to me by a wise friend who is into zen. It is the real ultimate gate to get your mind into the right place to find the big E. Watts and Suzuki are really the top of the heap. With this book I found myself starting to slip into that magic space where the lines of reality blur as I read it. Any book that can take you on a nice little trip into bliss while you are reading it is one I will recommend here to my fellow cyberspace searchers. I've read a lot of books by Watts but this is by far his best. A MUST!
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely Title Brings Hope Through the Noise,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)This book diverted the quagmire of my typical teenage life into a direction of realization and freedom. In society, insecurity is seen as undesirable and worthy of deep criticism. "He's so insecure". But insecurity is where everything creative happens. It is where there is possibility. It seems to be the most desirable state, actually, if we are to extricate ourselves from persistent distractions and move ourselves forward. This book was my intro to Alan Watts and its influence rings on. I am now in my 40's and have found much solace and wisdom in Watts' books and lectures. Highly highly recommended if you feel there has to be something more going on.
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly deep little book,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)I picked this book up in the Taoist section and flipped through, liked what I saw and bought it. After reading a few pages I checked the publish date and was shocked to see this book was published in 1952! It sounds like Mr Watts wrote it last week (which is a sad commentary on our society)! After half a chapter I was 'wowed' enough to wonder who this author was and was shocked again when I saw his credentials (MA in Theology/PHd in Divinity). This is by no means a Judeo-Christian book.
While Mr Watts doesn't specifically mention Taoism, his writing has the flavor of it. He spends a long time discussing the problems associated with living in the past, then jumping straight to the future without stopping to look around *now*. He explores the use of language and its shortcomings, but those arguments have become commonplace in undergrad courses everywhere. The real power of this book for me was the focus on letting go, for example, "...the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing." He expands on this quite clearly.
Reading this book was a strange and fun experience in that I realized that I was thinking of a lot of the same issues that Mr Watts discusses, but was of course 5-20 years behind him on almost all of them. I also got the feeling that, even though I understood him on some level all the time, I will have to read this book at least twice more to actually *get it*.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best on the topic!,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)I was recommended this book by a great friend who is always an inspiration to me. Though I expected it to be a good book, this book turned out to be an even bigger inspiration for me than I had expected. Although insecurity is what drives us all, it is the same insecurity that keeps us away from the truth. An even better book I read recently on this topic was, "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. It is so excellent in explaining how we become insecure and how a large part of life is a process to figure a way out of it. These books are so great I would recommend it to anyone ready to see the truth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but good,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)This book is an excellent place to start reading philosophy. _The Wisdom of Insecurity_ was obviously written for the layman, making it ideal for those who are new to this type of nonfiction. In it, Alan Watts explains to us various ways of accepting and dealing with anxiety and insecurity in spiritual matters. This technique of acceptance was clearly derived from the Hindu and Buddhist methods of establishing a calm and mellow outlook on life. Like these great Eastern religions, Alan Watts does not try to tackle issues of theological truth head-on, but instead sidesteps the eternal questions. This is not because he is incapable of dealing with more complex metaphysical issues - he does so in great depth in his other, longer works. Neither is this method of sidestepping our sources of anxiety an evasion of rational, empirical truth. This book is not a rigorous empiricist study, and never claimed to be. It is instead a psychotheapeutic work verging on the anti-intellectual, but at the same time embracing meditation and contemplation. Watts shows us ways to act out our love for wisdom and enlightenment by concentrating on the positive and accepting (but not dwelling on) disturbing questions which he considers to be unanswerable. This is not an atheistic work nor is it a tale of despair. This is a work infused with hope, while being mindful of the truth. It succeeds in treading a sort of middle ground between the love of knowledge and anti-intellectualism.
The only problem with this book is its short length, although some might consider this an advantage. If you are looking for a more in-depth and rigorous study, try _Behold the Spirit_ or _Psychotherapy East and West_, also by Alan Watts.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books -- gave me peace of mind...,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)Don't take this the wrong way -- this book helps me go to sleep at night.
That is, after reading this book, I no longer pause before sleep, fearfully sorting through my feelings about mortality. Watts is so smart AND so clear, I found myself nodding and giggling as I read him. He HAS to be right, I thought to myself. And I think he is.
It will very likely change the way you think about your life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)Alan Watts is clearly one of the best when it comes to writing about spirituality and consciousness! He explains things so well that his books enable us to see ourselves without the lenses of the ego that we usually wear in our everyday lives. After pursuing other works for many years to further understand consciousness, I finally came across another book that was even better at explaining these things. It's called "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato and I highly recommend it if you like these types of books.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem,
This review is from: The Wisdom of Insecurity (Paperback)Alan Watts puts Zen (or an approximation thereof) into words better than the Zen masters themselves. His prose itself is superb, having a selfless quality that doesn't get in the way of what he's trying to say. Those who have not read the book should disregard the following sentence. (Liz Quattlebaum, the anagram makes the word: complicated. My mother solved it.)
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts (Paperback - Sept. 12 1968)
Used & New from: CDN$ 2.97