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Timeless Wisdom

On Being Human

People appear to be under the fixed impression that one speaks or writes of these things in order to improve them or do them some good, assuming, too, that the speaker has himself been improved and is able to speak with authority. In other words, the philosopher is forced into the role of preacher, and is in turn expected to practice what he preachers. Thereupon the truth of what he says is tested by his character and his morals -- whether he shows anxiety or not, whether he depends upon 'material crutches' such as wine or tobacco, whether he has stomach ulcers or likes money, whether he loses his temper, or gets depressed, or falls in love when he shouldn't, or sometimes looks a bit tired and frayed at the edges. All these criteria might be valid if the philosopher were preaching freedom from being human, or if he were trying to make himself and others radically better....[but, overcoming 'negative tendencies'] solving problems and coping with situations is by no means the only or even the chief business of life."

			Alan Watts
			This is It, pp. 31-32

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