Tag Archives: existence

Just finished “The Book” by Alan Watts. I like it.

I have just finished reading The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!  It comes as close as I can imagine to a book that helps its reader truly understand the concept of existence, our world, and our “purpose in it”.

The Book (cover)

I must admit that I have had an affair with such ideas and philosophies for a very long time – and this perhaps makes the content and context of the book easier for me to grok than it would others – but it is worth the effort.  If there is anything worth doing in this world, I would image that understanding who you are, and understanding why you have the experiences and knowledge that you do, in contrast to the experiences and knowledge of others around you, to be of utmost significance and importance.

I have written a few articles under various pseudonyms over the years that explore the very concepts explained in this book, but have never really come across a published work that summarized these thoughts as clearly and succinctly as I would have liked, until now.

If you have any capacity or motivation to understand the world you live in, and you are able to free yourself (your mind) from the conditioning of your environment and your up-bringing, even for a moment, then I suggest you take the time read this book.

If you are not very familiar with Eastern or Western philosophy to begin with, then the ideas in this book may be difficult to grasp.  Nevertheless, once you’ve had a chance to explore the basics of such ideas in other writings, you would do well to circle ’round and come back to this marvelous treasure.

[Quote] Alan Watts on the difference between where we are, and where we are going..

“… To most of us living today, all these fantasies of the future seem most objectionable: the loss of privacy and freedom, the restriction of travel, and the progressive conversion of flesh and blood, wood and stone, fruit and fish, sight and sound, into plastic, synthetic, and electronic reproductions. Increasingly, the artist and musician puts himself out of business through making ever more faithful and inexpensive reproductions of his original works. Is reproduction in this sense to replace biological reproduction, through cellular fission or sexual union? In short, is the next step in evolution to be the transformation of man into nothing more than electronic patterns?”

” All these eventualities may seem so remote as to be unworthy of concern. Yet in so many ways they are already with us, and, as we have seen, the speed of technical and social change accelerates more than we like to admit. The popularity of science-fiction attests to a very widespread fascination with such questions, and so much science-fiction is in fact a commentary on the present, since one of the best ways of understanding what goes on today is to extend it into tomorrow. What is the difference between what is happening, on the one hand, and the direction of its motion, on the other? If I am flying from London to New York, I am moving westwards even before leaving the British Coast.”

– From: The Book.. On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan W. Watts,  First Collier Books Edition 1967

Thoughts on Religion and The World Today

I’m starting to think that more and more people are falling back to religious beliefs and traditions because they begin to believe that once you become secular or atheist, that the world has no meaning, that things are as they are, and there is no mystical purpose to life or the universe, and this makes them feel uncomfortable.

I think it’s comforting to know that the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, our world, and yes, all of us are travelling down a singular path which we cannot break away from; that all events, actions, and reactions which take place in the physical world, that have taken place in history, are simply things that we must experience in order to move forward.

It is inevitable that we will all die one day, and that the generations that come after us will all make the same mistakes (not necessarily in the same way, but in the same vain). The World population is continually growing, and it is already way past Earth’s capacity to support human life without the assistance of war and fear (or so it would seem, the way our world leaders have been acting and reacting lately). These are all things people are starting to realize in this age of free information and global connectivity. The reason why the majority of the world cannot cope with this realization is that our actions are still heavily influenced by emotions, faith, and romanticism.

Although we have so much technology at our disposal, we are still not a species which allows logic and reason dictate our choices. Instead, emotions, faith, greed, and mis-information are still the primary movers of the world.

Likely we will one day become an enlightened species, and finally refer to ourselves as “the Human race” rather than as white or black, or by where we were born or raised.  Maybe one day we will become a single nation which finally takes direction from logic, reason, and innocent curiosity; but that time seems very far away, and it’s quite likely we will destroy ourselves before we ever get there.. but I guess it’s still a possibility that we will overcome all our hatred and prejudices, and finally become a peaceful and free world.   Likely you and I won’t be around to see that day, but you never know.  Have faith.