wisdom that springs from a direct awareness of our existential position
. Human beings, Watts argues, live as sparks of consciousness between an unfathomably ancient past and a fundamentally open and unknowable future.
happiness and meaning are realized in the present moment, not in the recollection of memories or aspirations for future successes.
the ego, or “I” (as he calls it) is the source of grave suffering and endless anxiety.
The I, which designates the part of the human mind dedicated to securing itself from outside harm, creates borders to separate itself from the rest of the world, hiding behind dogma, belief, moral code, and aspirations that it anxiously pursues with endless abandon.
rapid transformation of the social landscape at the hands of science and technology, the modern individual is more insecure than ever.
while science provides new insights for manipulating the world, but no direction on how to live. In the face of this insecurity, people flee from their existential position, their mortality, and the present moment.
much of our suffering in this age of anxiety is due to future-oriented ambitions, desires for escapist entertainment, and the avoidance of change.
goic tendency to individualize oneself
there is no self behind the experience
There is only the event of the experience. Experiencing the present unavoidably entails pain and suffering. However, the attempt to flee from suffering into comfort and security will only “inflame the agony” (79).
the visionary experience that makes life self-evidently worth living
rests in the understanding
security is impossible
there is no individual self
everything is impermanent
true separateness is an illusion.