Throughout our lives, most of us are constantly striving to improve ourselves and our lives, by any means possible. And while this may seem to be a daunting task, philosopher Alan Watts believes that we may be wasting our time.
As many of us spend our entire lives attempting to transform ourselves and trying to transform our world, is it even possible for us to be the ones transforming?
According to Watts, “If I am in need of improving, then the person doing the improving, is the very person needing the improving!”
And while that may sound like a mouthful, it actually packs quite a punch. During the video, Watts explains that we as humans have wasted much of our time and energy into “doing things that are quite impossible.”
Continuing he says, “All sensible people there begin in life with two fundamental presuppositions. You are not going to improve the world, and you are not going to improve yourself. You are, just what you are. And once you have accepted that situation, you have an enormous amount of energy available to do things that can be done. And everybody else looking at you from an external point of view will say, ‘My god, how much so-and-so has improved.’”
Basically, he is trying to explain that when we are constantly working to improve ourselves, we tend to get lost from what is actually taking place in reality. That instead of facing ourselves for who we are, we instead see ourselves as an ongoing project or something that is broken and can be fixed? Due to this, we never truly know or understand ourselves.
And this constant improvement makes it set in our minds that there is an objective manner in which to be. As we do this, we miss the big picture that takes place, and we miss the moments that make life worth living. It is because of this that we suffer, and it is because of this, that we never actually improve. Because if we would just stop trying so hard, and learn to let it be, we could actually improve ourselves quite simply.