The Book : On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts
New York : Pantheon Books, 1966. First Edition. Hardcover. 146 pages ; 21 cm. Price clipped dust jacket. Gift inscription on flyleaf. No other markings elsewhere. Binding is firm.
ALAN WATTS has evoked the delighted enthusiasm of audiences all over the world with his books and lectures giving living illustrations of Eastern philosophy, Zen Buddhism, comparative religion, and the crucial problem of human identity: "Who or what am I?"
This book delves into the cause and cure of the illusion that the self is a separate ego, housed in a bag of skin, which "confronts" a universe of physical objects which are alien and stupid. According to Dr. Watts, this illusion underlies the misuse of technology for a violent and hostile subjugation of man's natural environment, leading to its eventual destruction.
lb find the urgently needed answer to this problem of personal identity, the author modernizes and restates the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta and brings out the full force of its startling and psychologically subversive way of realizing that the self is, in fact, the root and ground of the universe— a realization so strange and inadmissible to the West that it is virtually our most rigid taboo.
With his customary lucidity and wit, Alan Watts presents this "lowdown" on the nature of the self in the form of The Book—a. manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence which any father might slip to his son, or mother to her daughter, upon the threshold of adult life.
ALAN WATTS, who holds both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. Standing apart, however, from sectarian membership, he has earned the reputation of being one of the most original and "unrutted" philosophers of the century. He is the author of some seventeen books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, and has been a guest lecturer at most of the principal universities n this country. He has just completed a two-year research fellowship at Harvard, in the Department of Social Relations, involving travel and study in both Europe and the Far East.
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