On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
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We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence, which is in accord with the physical facts and which over comes our feeling of alienation from the universe. In The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Alan Watts asks what causes the illusion of the self as a separate ego, housed in a bag of skin, which confronts a universe of physical objects that are alien to it. Rather, a person's identity (their ego) binds them to the physical universe, creating a relationship with their environment and other people. The separation of the self and the physical world leads to the misuse of technology and the attempt to violently subjugate man's natural environment, leading to its destruction. Explaining man's role in the universe as a unique expression of the total universe, and interdependent on it, Alan Watts offers a new understanding of personal identity. It reveals the mystery of existence, presenting an alternative to the feelings of alienation that are so prevalent in Western society, and a vision of how we can come to understand the cosmic self that is within every living thing. The foremost Western expert on Eastern thought, Alan Watts urges against the idea that we are separate from the world. Nowhere is this idea more apparent than in the concept of cultural taboos. The biggest taboo of all is knowing who we really are behind the mask of our self as presented to the world. Through our focus on ourselves and the world as it affects us, we have developed narrowed perception. Alan Watts tells us how to open our eyes and see ourselves not as coming into the world but from it. Alan Watts takes us through our daily lives, explaining how our goal-oriented selves leave something missing. In tackling technology and consumerism from the 1960s, Alan Watts demonstrates ways of thinking that have become increasingly urgent in the time since The Book was first published. In our increasingly adversarial times, The Book offers a way out of conflict by reckoning first with who we are before defining us against others. Alan Watts overturns the illusion that individuals are merely 'egos' contained within their bodies who are separate from the rest of the universe. Drawing on the Vedanta religion, Alan Watts explains how a person's identity makes them the centre of the universe, and outlines that the universe has meaning only if each individual places himself at the centre of it.The separation of the Self from the physical universe has led to Mankind's hostile attitude to the environment, and a destructive attitude to Nature. In coming to understand the individual's real place in the universe, Alan Watts presents a critique of Western culture and a healing alternative.
In The Book, Alan Watts provides us with a much-needed answer to the problem of personal identity, distilling and adapting the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. At the root of human conflict is our fundamental misunderstanding of who we are. The illusion that we are isolated beings, unconnected to the rest of the universe, has led us to view the “outside” world with hostility, and has fueled our misuse of technology and our violent and hostile subjugation of the natural world. To help us understand that the self is in fact the root and ground of the universe, Watts has crafted a revelatory primer on what it means to be human—and a mind-opening manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence.
In order to come to your senses, Alan Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind. Perhaps more than any other teacher in the West, this celebrated author, former Anglican priest, and self-described spiritual entertainer was responsible for igniting the passion of countless wisdom seekers to the spiritual and philosophical delights of India, China, and Japan. With Out of Your Mind, you are invited to immerse yourself in six of this legendary thinker's most engaging teachings on how to break through the limits of the rational mind and expand your awareness and appreciation for the great game unfolding all around us. Distilled from Alan Watts’s pinnacle lectures, Out of Your Mind brings you an inspiring new resource that captures the true scope of this brilliant teacher in action. For those both new and familiar with Watts, this book invites us to delve into his favorite pathways out of the trap of conventional awareness, including: • The art of the “controlled accident”—what happens when you stop taking your life so seriously and start enjoying it with complete sincerity • How we come to believe “the myth of myself”—that we are skin-encapsulated egos separate from the world around us—and how to transcend that illusion • Why we must fully embrace chaos and the void to find our deepest purpose • Unconventional and refreshing insights into the deeper principles of Buddhism, Hinduism, Western philosophy, Christianity, and much more
In this collection of essays, Watts displays the playfulness of thought and simplicity of language that has made him one of the most popular lecturers and authors on the spiritual traditions of the East. Watts draws on a variety of religious traditions and explores the limits of language in the face of spiritual truth.
Over the course of nineteen essays, Alan Watts ruminates on the philosophy of nature, ecology, aesthetics, religion, and metaphysics. Assembled in the form of a “mountain journal,” written during a retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, CA, Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown is Watts’s meditation on the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature, known in Chinese as the Tao. Embracing a form of contemplative meditation that allows us to stop analyzing our experiences and start living in to them, the book explores themes such as the natural world, established religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and tantric yoga, the nature of ecstasy, and much more. From the Paperback edition.