The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

4.5 26
by Alan W. Watts
     
 

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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. In The Book, philosopher Alan…  See more details below

Overview

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. In The Book, philosopher Alan Watts provides us with a much-needed answer to the problem of personal identity, distilling and adapting the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta to help us understand that the self is in fact the root and ground of the universe. In this mind-opening and revelatory work, Watts has crafted a primer on what it means to be human—and a manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307807878
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
123,872
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Alan W. Watts, who held both a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best remembered 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 twentieth century. Watts was the author of some twenty books on the philosophy and psychology of religion that have been published in many languages throughout the world, including the bestselling The Way of Zen. An avid lecturer, Watts appeared regularly on the radio and hosted the popular television series, Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life,in the 1960s. He died in 1973.

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The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A High School English teacher handed me this book in 1971. I thought it was interesting then, the author a very erudite and amusing fellow with some imaginative notions. 21 years later, while listening to some recorded lectures by Alan Watts on my local public radio station, I suddenly realized what the real implications of what he was saying were, and that they must be true! I was at my desk at work, and for the next several days, I was walking about 3 inches off the ground. Still am, really. Many have tried to explain these concepts to Westerners, but none do it with the fluency, subtlety or entertaining style of Alan Watts. If you want to understand who you are, and what the universe is, read anything you can get your hands on by this guy. He casually and rather slyly accomplishes what religion is supposed to do, but doesn't. Hint: it's a single, central concept, but it isn't easy to 'get', so don't shrug it off until you've really let Watts' words roll around in your mind for a few years.
mndoc More than 1 year ago
I started reading Watts in the late 60's, just out of high school. His works vary in flavor and message only a little (now that I look back on it 40 years later) but this is THE book that clearly and directly represents his central understanding of being alive on the planet and trapped in the bag of skin we call "I". Hint: you are not who or what you think you are. Most of his writing avoids tedium or becoming laborious and this book is no exception. He shows remarkable wit and humor while dealing with a topic that is (or should be) life changing. And, to be honest, while the central message comes from "Eastern" thought, i.e. Zen, Taoism, Hinduism, he often points to mainstream Western tradition as owning a great deal of that message. While one does not hear about Watts much these days his message transcends time since it derives from mystical traditions that date back forever. Forty years later much of the core truth of what this roguish, clever man wrote is still rattling around in this boys head. Definitely worth a look.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic in its genre.

If you seek spiritual wisdom, if you are interested in the age-old questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Is there a God? Is there a life hereafter? What am I supposed to do with my life? Then you could do no better than to read the late Alan Watts. He has no peer, in the English language.

Another author of perhaps equal rank is Joseph Pierre, whose THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS is one of the truly great classics in this area of interest. No seeker should fail to read it.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book on the self
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brilliant
Da_Greek More than 1 year ago
Alan Watts sees western society from the outside. He elucidates with impressive clarity and wit the wisdom of Zen Buddhism specifically and eastern philosophy generally, liberally applying its precepts to the problems of the 20th and 21st century. I recommend this book for anyone no longer satisfied with the way they've been taught to see the world. Anyone looking not only for a comprehensive review of modern identity, but also for an alternative and entirely more sensible way to understand who they are should read this book. I wouldn't call this book life changing simply because it only seeks to explain. It opens the door to greater understandings, but does not force the reader to take that next step. An overall excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was 18 or 19 when I first heard Alan Watts speaking on a radio lecture series. I have been inspired and moved by his life and thoughts ever since. For me, 'The Book' was by far the most accessible and touching of his many writings. I have read and re-read it many times, and recommend it without reservation to any human being in search of meaning, purpose, and direction. I am ordering a copy for my soon-to-be sixteen-year-old daughter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love most books on consciousness but this one takes the cake! Even after 30 years, I have not found a book that explains the duality of consciousness as articulately as Watts does. The only book I can truly recommend after reading this one is 'The ever-transcending spirit' by Toru Sato. It takes these ideas about consciousness and applies them to relationships and human development in a way anyone can understand. I can honestly tell you that my life is full of peace after reading these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read and study this book over the years. It impresses me as the most important book you can ever read. It covers all the major human problems: good and evil; life and death; truth and lies; hope and despair; happiness and sadness; differences and similarities. It can--and will, if understood--resolve your existential fears and frustrations. It cures your encroaching insanity. Don't delay; start learning today.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book on consciousness and life! Watts has a knack for explaining complex things in very simply ways. If you like this book I think you'll also like "Rhythm, Relationships, and Transcendence" by Toru Sato. It's also a fantastic book about consciousness and life!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes you on a journey that encompasses old Zen-like ideals and intertwines them with modern western philosophy. It mentions everything that you have always wondered about and makes sense of it. It is a quick, enjoyable read. Again, this is a definite must have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read ,The Book, many times. It is Watts 'best' book to get the attention of people, who would never read a philosophy book .....simply.....because most non-philosophical people are 'afraid' to ask questions abut their 'owm'.....existence.