Wisdom in the age of Insecurity

Yesterday, I finished reading The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. I stumbled across this book in San Francisco some 53 years after it's been written there and it is going to be one of the more unusual books in my library. For one, the subject matter is clearly philosophical, but from a theologian's point of view, and that's definitely not my usual perspective. It's clearly very remarkable that a doctor of divinity and master of theology would hold views as - dare I say it - agnostic as this. But then again, he is a famous writer about Zen Buddhism, so that probably helps to explain.

His core points, if I may be as bold as to summarise, are the following: He dismisses religion from the scientific sphere of reality and he holds that happiness can only be achieved by living in the present with the "awareness that impermanence and insecurity are inescapable and inseperable from life" (I am quoting the cover text here). Well, nothing much new there so far, but I guess in 1951 that was rather novel. I do agree with the message, of course, but I do not really like the somewhat preachy style in which it is delivered.

No comments: