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The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Anglais) Broché – 28 août 1989

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

The best book I ve ever read on the nature of what actually is, what the world is about, and how you should behave. --John Lloyd, Desert Island Discs

For a new generation of readers... look at this ancient philosophy from a modern counter-cultural standpoint. Alan Watts explores the subject in concrete terms, using current idioms and expressions which will also appeal to the younger reader. --Vedanta

Offering spiritual answers to the problems of a materialistic lifestyle, alienated from the natural world, Watts is the voice of all who seek a deeper understanding of their own identity and role in the world. --Watkins Review --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 176 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage; Édition : Vintage Books ed (28 août 1989)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0679723005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679723004
  • Dimensions du produit: 13,2 x 1,3 x 20,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 42.753 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Dans ce livre

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Just what should a young man or woman know in order to be "in the know"? Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait
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0 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par cutler martine. le 13 mars 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Parfait état, déception un peu ,un peu vieillot,c'est toujours l'avis de mon époux...Un peu dépassé.
Mais il a aimé un peu.
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533 internautes sur 551 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Who Are You? 26 mai 2004
Par Robert Morris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I read this book when it was first published in 1966, re-read it after an unexpected opportunity to meet Alan Watts just before he died (in 1973), and then re-read it again recently after having recommended it highly to a close personal friend. Long ago, I became convinced that the nature and extent of any book's impact are almost entirely dependent on (a) the nature and extent of our life experiences when reading a book and (b) the nature and extent of our ability to absorb and digest whatever that book may offer. Watts's The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are offers an excellent case in point. Frankly, Watts's personal impact on me now is greater than were the first and second readings of his book. At the beginning of our brief encounter, I immediately sensed his stunning intellect and compelling decency. More impressive by far was a sense of his spirituality. It was most evident in his eyes and tone of voice. More then twenty years later, I re-read The Book. What follows is an admittedly clumsy attempt to share my thoughts and feelings about it.

First, with regard to the title and subtitle, Watts explains that "The Book I am thinking about [and later wrote] would not be religious in the usual sense, but it would have to discuss many things with which religions have been concerned -- the universe and man's place in it, the mysterious center of experience which we call 'I myself.' the problems of life and love, pain and death, and the whole question of whether existence has meaning has meaning in [in italics] any sense of the word."

With regard to the subtitle, Watts explains that there is no need for a new religion or a new bible. "We need a new experience -- a new feeling of what it is to be 'I.' The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing -- with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego."

So, that was the book Watts was thinking about writing, and, the taboo to which he devotes most of his attention (directly or indirectly) throughout the book he eventually wrote.

What do I now think of this book? First, it retains its ecumenical spirit but in ways and to an extent I did not fully appreciate years ago. Watts is very respectful of all of the major religions, at least in terms of the common values they affirm; however, he also suggests (and I agree) that those values have been concealed by layer-after-layer of doctrine, policy, and procedure. Watts's point: "The standard-brand religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Mohammedan, or Buddhist, are -- as now practiced -- like exhausted mines very hard to dig." Also, I am again struck by the fact that Watts suggests a mindset which is inclusive, tolerant (and when appropriate, forgiving...especially of self), and at all times determined to continue a process of self-discovery. It seems that he wrote this book because he had become concerned about man's alienation from himself (herself) as well as from other human beings and from the physical world within which all of us struggle to achieve (in Abraham Maslow's terms) survival, then security, and eventually self-fulfillment.

This is not a book for dilettantes. Watts is quite serious when posing questions so easily phrased but so difficult to answer, at least responsibly. In his view, "for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumph and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white [i.e. that diametrically opposed forces can co-exist, indeed nourish each other]. Nothing, perhaps, ever got nowhere with so much fascinating ado." Having recently re-read this book, I was reminded of what Whitman observed in Song of Myself: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes."

I am also reminded of the key concept in Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death. He acknowledges that all of us die eventually. Only the suicide decides the circumstances in which physical death occurs. However, Becker suggests that there is another death that CAN be denied: That which occurs when when we become totally preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations of us.

For me, that is the essential point in The Book. Watts concludes with a quotation of James Broughton's observations:

This is It
and I am It
and You are It
and so is That
and He is It
And She is It
and It is It
and That is That.

"To come on like IT -- to play at being God -- is to play the Self as a role, which is just what it isn't. When IT plays, it plays at being everything else."

"Who am I?" Alan Watts offers this book which can help to answer that question. However, the inevitably perilous journey of self-discovery can only be completed by each of us. And that journey may require many years of frustration and confusion...without any guarantee that any of us will reach the destination we seek. Our choice. It always was, is...and will be.
198 internautes sur 207 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Superb explanation of Eastern thought for Western minds 31 août 2003
Par n0s4a2 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A "hip" teacher lent me this book when I was 17, and I thought it was fascinating, entertaining, and thought-provoking. 20 years later, I was listening to a series of recorded lectures by the author on my local public radio station, and it finally dawned on me what he was talking about in the book I had read in 1971! This isn't even Watts' "best" book, but its the best one to start with if you have reached the intellectual dead-end, as I had as a bright teenager, of "scientific" materialism. Watts writes in plain language, using everyday examples, and is simply the best translator of Hindu, Toaist and Buddhist philosophies into language that Westerners can easily understand. He is also a witty storyteller and delightful personality. If you read this, give it 20 years to sink in before you write your review. When you finally "get" it, you'll be walking 3 inches off the ground. Of course, now that everybody you meet is either into quasi-Eastern New-Age beliefs or rutted in reactionary Fundamentalist dogma, the book may read differently. But it's more likely that Watts' genuine acceptance of human foibles, egoless wisdom, light-hearted, amused honesty and absolutely penetrating insights into the nature of reality would make "The Book" accessible to any human who likes to think.
116 internautes sur 124 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Watts Up... 3 novembre 2006
Par John P. Morgan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Being a "wannabe" Hippie, I kew that eventually I would have to read this book because this book was once considered a very subversive text. Nowadays, books by Wayne Dyer, Marrianne Williamson, and Deepak Chopra are writing books left and right with the same kind of stuff that Alan Watts wrote about in the late 50s, early 60s. And even though I appreciate the works of Dyer, Williamson, and Chopra, their words don't seem to carry as much as a "punch" as the words of Watts. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's just my own interpretation of the material. Maybe it's because I used to listen to him late at night on the far left-end of the dial on a publically sponsored radio station listening and reading everything that I knew my dad would "hate" and "dissaprove" of. The ironic thing is, is that he read and listened to Watts long before I did but like a lot of us, he got caught up in Life and put some things aside and focused on changing diapers instead of minds, rasing a family rather than raising consciousness, and yet he still held onto a few "jewels" of Truth that he wanted to impart with me, and me, being an idiot as well as a teenager (aren't they synonomous) thought and felt that somehow he was trying to be the boss of me.

When I read these essays now, I am comforted by Watts' brilliant way of making the abstract, a little more "user friendly". The essay, 'How To Be A Genuine Fake' was most helpful as I was studying to become a spiritual counselor (a practitioner)for my church. It seemed as though everyone was holding themselves in some glorious light of what they were doing. It became a new game that they were playing with themselves. "Oh, when I get this practitioner license I will be this and I will be that..." And yeah, I fell for it, too, but after reading this essay a few billion times I remembered that with or without a "practitioner license" I will still be spiritual. Taking a class doesn't make you spiritual. Reading a book, going to a lecture, listening to audio programs don't make one "spiritual". Even meditation and prayer don't make us Spiritual. What makes us spiritual is knowing that we already are spiritual and here's the tricky part, EVERYONE IS. Not just some, but all. Even "Charlie" the smelly drunk that likes to go to my Monday night class. I have a feeling he is an undercover angel so even though people complain about him, I let him stay.

My copy is underlined and reunderlined, it is stained with coffee and food stains, it has notes in the margins and little doodles. It is being held together by a rubber band and maybe one day I will give it to my kid or one of my nephews or nieces so they can say, "Eh, what does Uncle Johnny know about life, anyway?"

Not much...not very much...

Know that the seen and the unseen are One; that black dissolves into white and white dissolves into black, that your soul is part of the same soul of everyone you meet; that you are no worse than or better than anyone else. Afterall, it's one thing to read these incredible words and it is quite another to live them out. But don't punish yourself if you don't and don't reward yourself if you do.

Everything is just as it needs to be.

Peace & Blessings, to all.
106 internautes sur 113 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Still useful 60's classic 28 septembre 2002
Par magellan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I never gave Watts his full due of respect back in the 60's and 70's, because at the time I (and others) saw him as a trendy popularizer perhaps cashing in on the interest of that segment of the western readership who are perennially eastern-obsessed and therefore too naive and uncritical of their philosophy. Back then, there were just too many young people, who, having rejected whatever western culture they were brought up in, simply accepted, lock, stock, and barrel, Tao, Vedanta, and/or Buddhism after having read one or two books and therefore having finally discovered "the truth."
Well, looking back, that's perhaps too harsh an assessment, and I will say that Watts's book is an extremely well-written, concise, and clear introduction to Vedantic thought that is as relevant today as it was 35 years ago. I recently picked up the book after 30 years, and found that in many ways I enjoyed it even more than I did back then.
As others have commented more completely on the usefulness and relevance of the philosophy in the book, I will just mention one thing. I really enjoyed his discussion about the fear of death. Watts points out that the way western culture deals practically and philosophically with death, isolating the individual from feeling a part of the universe as a whole on the one hand, and as basically a taboo subject, on the other, is unproductive and ultimately does nothing to resolve the issue. He points out that the denial process of sweeping it under the rug only makes it worse, and that ultimately the only solution is to just face one's fear. If death frightens you or makes you afraid, well then, be afraid. At least be honest about it, because that's the first step to realistically starting to deal with the problem.
The reality is, that no matter how certain one is of one's religion, no-one truly knows if there is an afterlife. It is possible that all these beliefs simply represent a wishful-thinking and wish-fulfillment response to a realistic fear--the fear of death. Until one admits that and confronts the issue head on, it will continue to haunt you despite your most cherished beliefs to the contrary.
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Deep and lasting peace 24 août 2005
Par P. F. Molloy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Like some of the other reviewers, I have read this book numerous times over the years, and it never fails to move me deeply and positively. I was quite mature when I first found it - probably in my late 30's. I had a conventional religious upbringing in a mainstream church, which I had already rejected by the time I read Watts. His book does not attack any of the churches, but it gave me a great sense of peace at having made my decision to reject them. And it did one other incredible thing - it removed once and for all any fear I had of death. Now close to 60, I still pick the book up and read it cover to cover about once a year. If you belong to a mainstream church and you are strong in your faith then you should enjoy this book. If you are a fundamentalist with a closed mind then you're highly unlikely to enjoy it. If you have no religious beliefs then you should also find this book interesting. But be aware that it is NOT easy to get into. You might have to persist through some quite challenging chapters. And be aware too that you're most likely to get more out of your second, and third readings, a year or so apart. But well worth the effort.
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