Insecurity

Malaise is a consequence of the depersonalization and permanent insecurity of modern life. Yet it has never been felt among people so strongly as in the past few decades. The inchoate protest, the sense of disenchantment, and the vague complaints and forebodings that are already perceptible in late nineteenth century art and literature have been diffused into general consciousness. There they function as a kind of vulgarized romanticism, a Weltschmerz in perpetuum, a sickly sense of disturbance that is subterranean but explosive. The intermittent and unexpected acts of violence on the part of the individual and the similar acts of violence to which whole nations can be brought are indices of this underground torment. Vaguely sensing that something has gone astray in modern life but also strongly convinced that he lacks the power to right whatever is wrong (even if it were possible to discover what is wrong), the individual lives in a sort of eternal adolescent uneasiness.

Life is insecurity and nothing is wrong in it. In fact, life cannot be otherwise. Death is secure, life is insecure. Marriage is secure, love is insecure. Marriage is dead, love is alive. The more alive you are the more your life remains in insecurity, because the livelier person will be exploring the unknown, he will be adventurous. It is life’s nature, its law, its very intrinsic soul. But the priest has exploited it. He has given you consolations, securities, insurances, not only for this life but for future lives too. He says, “Don’t be worried. If you follow a certain code of conduct, if you cultivate a certain character, if you follow the commandments given in the scriptures, then you need not be afraid. Then God is going to reward you. You will be punished only if you go against the convention, against the tradition.

To know life in its insecurity is to know life in its immense beauty, is to know life in its authenticity. To know life in its insecurity, without any fear, is to transcend death, because life never dies.

You can think of the groundlessness and openness of insecurity as a chance that we're given over and over to choose a fresh alternative. Things happen to us all the time that open up the space. This spaciousness, this wide–open, unbiased, unprejudiced space is inexpressible and fundamentally good and sound. It's like the sky… You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.

A society in which everyone works is not necessarily a free society and may indeed be a slave society; on the other hand, a society in which there is widespread insecurity can turn freedom into a barren and vapid right for millions of people.

It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man's insecurity before himself and before nature.

People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.

The end of the world will be legal.

They [referring to participants in a walk from San Francisco to Moscow plagued with many difficulties] are all concerned about the fact that their own human failings and incompatibilities came out a bit. That is all right, though. It has to be that way. Another form of poverty that we have to accept. We have got to be instruments of God and realize at the same time that we are very poor and defective instruments. It is important to resist the feelings of resentment and impatience we get over our own failings because this makes us project our faults onto other people, instead of bearing their burdens along with our own.

Civilization is the order and freedom is promoting cultural activity.

When feudalism was overthrown and “free” capitalist society appeared in the world, it at once became apparent that this freedom meant a new system of oppression and exploitation of the working people.

All our emotions and thoughts are conditioned reflexes, reactions.

Fighting inner darkness in the wrong way is the same as submitting to it. Truth will show you how to truly fight for light.

Life may sometimes feel short at a philosophical level, and there is always the chance we may die young. But for most people in well-off countries today, life is not, as the 17th-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously put it, 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'.

This is what intimacy does to us over time. That's what a long marriage can do: It causes us to inherit and trade each other's stories. This, in part, is how we become annexes of each other, trellises on which each other's biography can grow.