So what I think we could aim for in the way of human civilization and culture would be a system in which we are all highly aware of our existing interconnection and unity with the
whole domain of nature, and therefore do not have to go to all sorts of wild extremes to find that union. In other words, look at the number of people we know who are terrified of
silence, and who have to have something going all the time, some noise streaming into their ears. They’re doing that because of their intense sense of loneliness. And so when they feel
silent, they feel lonely and they want to escape from it. Or people who just want to get together. As we say, they want to escape from themselves. More people spend more time running
away from themselves. Isn’t that wretched? What a definition. What an experience of self if it’s something you’ve always got to be running away from and forgetting. Say you read a
mystery story. Why? So you forget yourself. You join a religion. Why? To forget yourself. You get absorbed in a political movement. Why? To forget yourself. Well it must be a pretty
miserable kind of self if you have to forget it like that. Now for a person who doesn’t have an isolated sense of self, he has no need to run away from it, because he knows.
— Alan Watts