I really enjoyed Hal Foster's essay "Precarious" in the new ARTFORUM: insightful and concise reviews of five shows (Paul Chan, Robert Gober, Jon Kessler, Mark Wallinger, and Isa Genzken) in the context of what art in the last century is trying to achieve.
And...beyond just a good art review, as a bonus there's a bit of Self-Help advice in the closing paragraph:
I came to the term precarious via Thomas Hirschhorn, and many of his projects, such as Musée Précaire Albinet, staged in the Aubervilliers banlieue of Paris in 2004, are very much to the point here; his sometime collaborator the French poet Manuel Joseph has also used the term, in a short text on la précarité “as a political and aesthetic apparatus.”⁸ Yet what I want to underscore in the word is already present in the OED: “Precarious: from the Latin precarius, obtained by entreaty, depending on the favor of another, hence uncertain, precarious, from precem, prayer.” This implies that this state of insecurity is not natural but constructed—a political condition produced by a power on whose favor we depend and which we can only petition. To act out the precarious, then, is not only to evoke its perilous and privative effects but also to intimate how and why they are produced—and thus to implicate the authority that imposes this antisocial contract of “revocable tolerance” (as Joseph puts it).
I re-read this passage several times and felt the weight of it's message: insecurity comes from the power we give to others.