The Wisdom of Insecurity

Excerpts from The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts

… only doubtful truths need defense.

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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. Religious ideas are like words — of little use, and often misleading, unless you know the concrete realities to which they refer. The word “water” is a useful means of communication amongst those who know water. The same is true of the word and the idea called “God.”

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You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run. The same is true of life and of God.

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