The Wisdom of Insecurity Book Summary - The Wisdom of Insecurity Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Wisdom of Insecurity summary

Alan Watts

A Message for an Age of Anxiety

4.5 (344 ratings)
11 mins
Table of Contents

    The Wisdom of Insecurity
    Summary of 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    As the power of religion and social norms diminishes, life becomes more uncertain.

    Do you ever feel anxious or insecure because of a lack of fulfillment in life? You’re not alone: this feeling is more common now than ever before.

    Not long ago, the average person’s life was guided, or at least influenced, by the strict doctrines of religion. It might sound counterintuitive, but these strongly held beliefs about morality and the afterlife actually helped people feel more fulfilled.

    The promise of an afterlife is especially grounding and reassuring.

    Humans can put up with many of life’s harsh realities as long as there is something to look forward to. The devoutly religious can remain positive through the worst hardships because an infinitely blissful afterlife awaits them. But the waning influence of organized religion has shifted people’s outlook on life.

    The twentieth century saw societies around the world moving away from many religious concepts. The myth was losing its strength. Suddenly, with the afterlife in question, people were struggling to make sense of the pain and suffering of life. Where is the reward that makes it all worthwhile?

    So people began to fill this gap with the cheap thrills of modern society.

    Deprived of the meaningful narrative provided by religion, many people felt an inner emptiness. And so, in an attempt to fill this void, more people turned to stimulants, like drugs, partying or overwork. These methods can provide distraction from the bigger existential questions kicking around in the back of your mind.

    But what this constant stimulation is really doing is desensitizing you.

    It can also lead to addictive behavior. Using alcohol to fill the void can quickly take you from beer to hard liquor as your tolerance levels rise. And this desire to increase intake mirrors what is happening in today’s society. We are chasing down more and more stimulation to make up for a lack of meaning in our lives.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Wisdom of Insecurity?

    Key ideas in The Wisdom of Insecurity

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Wisdom of Insecurity about?

    In The Wisdom of Insecurity (1951), author Alan Watts discusses the paradoxical nature of modern life: we pursue goals and covet material goods that promise happiness, but which leave us feeling empty and more anxious than ever. As we indulge in unproductive thoughts about the future or the past, we tend to forget about what is most meaningful – the present moment.

    Who should read The Wisdom of Insecurity?

    • Anyone feeling unfulfilled in life
    • Anxiety sufferers searching for the secrets to happiness
    • People interested in contemporary philosophy

    About the Author

    Alan Watts is considered one of the most influential interpreters of Eastern philosophy in the Western world. An advanced student of theology, his enlightening and compassionate writings continue to influence thinkers today. His other books include The Way of Zen and Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life.

    Categories with The Wisdom of Insecurity

    Books like The Wisdom of Insecurity

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial