Monday, August 24, 2009

Alan Watts - The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Alan Watts - The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

I just finished reading this for the second time. It's such a great book, a must-read for the spiritually-minded. Here are some of my favorite passages:

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated ‘egos’ inside bags of skin.” -Alan Watts, “The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are,” Vintage Books (8)

An ardent Jehovah’s Witness once tried to convince me that if there were a God of love, he would certainly provide mankind with a reliable and infallible textbook for the guidance of conduct. I replied that no considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and unadaptable as to depend upon on book, the Bible, for all the answers. For the use of words and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency. (11)

The cat has already been let out of the bag. The inside information is that yourself as ‘just little me’ who ‘came into this world’ and lives temporarily in a bag of skin is a hoax and a fake. The fact is that because no one thing or feature of this universe is separable from the whole, the only real You, or Self, is the whole. The rest of this book will attempt to make this so clear that you will not only understand the words but feel the fact. (53)

1 comment:

Tao said...

it is a great book. His philosophy through all of his books was consistently his, a bit hindu/buddhist and a bit tao. Right until his final book Tao, The Watercourse Way, he clearly and beautifully said what seems impossible to say.