A classic look at man's search for certainty from the acclaimed expert on Eastern philosophy In this fascinating book, Alan Watts explores man's quest for psychological security, examining our efforts to find spiritual and intellectual certainty in the realms of religion and philosophy. The Wisdom of Insecurity underlines the importance of our search for stability in an age where human life seems particularly vulnerable and uncertain.Watts argues our insecurity is the consequence of trying to be secure and that, ironically, salvation and sanity lie in the recognition that we have no way of saving ourselves. Alan Watts was the foremost Western expert on Eastern thought, specialising in Zen Buddhism. He was the author of a number of books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, which have continued to be in popular demand over the past forty years.
Suggests that the best way to achieve security in life is to let go of the anxiety associated with the past and future, understand and accept the limits of technology and science, and to focus on the present moment.
In this collection of essays, Watts displays the playfulness of thought and simplicity of language that has made him one of the most popular lecturers and authors on the spiritual traditions of the East. Watts draws on a variety of religious traditions and explores the limits of language in the face of spiritual truth.
Deep down, most people think that happiness comes from having or doing something. Here, in Alan Watts’s groundbreaking second book (originally published in 1940), he offers a more challenging thesis: authentic happiness comes from embracing life as a whole in all its contradictions and paradoxes, an attitude that Watts calls the "way of acceptance." Drawing on Eastern philosophy, Western mysticism, and analytic psychology, Watts demonstrates that happiness comes from accepting both the outer world around us and the inner world inside us — the unconscious mind, with its irrational desires, lurking beyond the awareness of the ego. Although written early in his career, The Meaning of Happiness displays the hallmarks of his mature style: the crystal-clear writing, the homespun analogies, the dry wit, and the breadth of knowledge that made Alan Watts one of the most influential philosophers of his generation.
Six revolutionary essays exploring the relationship between spiritual experience and ordinary life—and the need for them to coexist within each of us. With essays on “cosmic consciousness” (including Alan Watts’ account of his own ventures into this inward realm); the paradoxes of self-consciousness; LSD and consciousness; and the false opposition of spirit and matter, This Is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience is a truly mind-opening collection.
Before he became a counterculture hero, Alan Watts was known as an incisive scholar of Eastern and Western psychology and philosophy. In this 1961 classic, Watts demonstrates his deep understanding of both Western psychotherapy and the Eastern spiritual philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. He examined the problem of humans in a seemingly hostile universe in ways that questioned the social norms and illusions that bind and constrict modern humans. Marking a groundbreaking synthesis, Watts asserted that the powerful insights of Freud and Jung, which had, indeed, brought psychiatry close to the edge of liberation, could, if melded with the hitherto secret wisdom of the Eastern traditions, free people from their battles with the self. When psychotherapy merely helps us adjust to social norms, Watts argued, it falls short of true liberation, while Eastern philosophy seeks our natural relation to the cosmos.
The widespread influence of Buddhism is due in part to the skill with which a way of liberation was refined by it's teachers and became accessible to people of diverse cultures. In this dynamic series of lectures, Alan Watts takes us on an exploration of Buddhism, from its roots in India to the explosion of interest in Zen and the Tibetan tradition in the West. Watts traces the Indian beginnings of Buddhism, delineates differences between Buddhism and other religions, looks at the radical methods of the Mahayan Buddhist, and reviews the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path
In The Book, Alan Watts provides us with a much-needed answer to the problem of personal identity, distilling and adapting the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. 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. To help us understand that the self is in fact the root and ground of the universe, Watts has crafted a revelatory primer on what it means to be human—and a mind-opening manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence.
Mark Watts compiled this book from his father's extensive journals and audiotapes of famous lectures he delivered in his later years across the country. In three parts, Alan Watts explains the basic philosophy of meditation, how individuals can practice a variety of meditations, and how inner wisdom grows naturally.
Alan Watts introduced millions of Western readers to Zen and other Eastern philosophies. But he is also recognized as a brilliant commentator on Judeo-Christian traditions, as well as a celebrity philosopher who exemplified the ideas — and lifestyle — of the 1960s counterculture. In this compilation of controversial lectures that Watts delivered at American universities throughout the sixties, he challenges readers to reevaluate Western culture's most hallowed constructs. Watts treads the familiar ground of interpreting Eastern traditions, but he also covers new territory, exploring the counterculture's basis in the ancient tribal and shamanic cultures of Asia, Siberia, and the Americas. In the process, he addresses some of the era's most important questions: What is the nature of reality? How does an individual's relationship to society affect this reality? Filled with Watts's playful, provocative style, the talks show the remarkable scope of a philosopher at his prime, exploring and defining the sixties counterculture as only Alan Watts could.
This classic series of essays represents Alan Watts's thinking on the astonishing problems caused by our dysfunctional relationship with the material environment. Here, with characteristic wit, a philosopher best known for his writings and teachings about mysticism and Eastern philosophy gets down to the nitty-gritty problems of economics, technology, clothing, cooking, and housing. Watts argues that we confuse symbol with reality, our ways of describing and measuring the world with the world itself, and thus put ourselves into the absurd situation of preferring money to wealth and eating the menu instead of the dinner. With our attention locked on numbers and concepts, we are increasingly unconscious of nature and of our total dependence on air, water, plants, animals, insects, and bacteria. We have hallucinated the notion that the so-called external world is a cluster of objects separate from ourselves, that we encounter it, that we come into it instead of out of it. Originally published in 1972, Does It Matter? foretells the environmental problems that arise from this mistaken mind-set. Not all of Watts's predictions have come to pass, but his unique insights will change the way you look at the world.
In Nature, Man and Woman, philosopher Alan Watts reexamines humanity’s place in the natural world—and the relation between body and spirit—in the light of Chinese Taoism. Western thought and culture have coalesced around a series of constructed ideas—that human beings stand separate from a nature that must be controlled; that the mind is somehow superior to the body; that all sexuality entails a seduction—that in some way underlie our exploitation of the earth, our distrust of emotion, and our loneliness and reluctance to love. Here, Watts fundamentally challenges these assumptions, drawing on the precepts of Taoism to present an alternative vision of man and the universe—one in which the distinctions between self and other, spirit and matter give way to a more holistic way of seeing. From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this new edition of his acclaimed autobiography — long out of print and rare until now — Alan Watts tracks his spiritual and philosophical evolution. A child of religious conservatives in rural England, he went on to become a freewheeling spiritual teacher who challenged Westerners to defy convention and think for themselves. Watts's portrait of himself shows that he was a philosophical renegade from early on in his intellectual life. Self-taught in many areas, he came to Buddhism through the teachings of Christmas Humphreys and D. T. Suzuki. Told in a nonlinear style, In My Own Way combines Watts's brand of unconventional philosophy with wry observations on Western culture and often hilarious accounts of gurus, celebrities, and psychedelic drug experiences. A charming foreword by Watts's father sets the tone of this warm, funny, and beautifully written story. Watts encouraged readers to “follow your own weird” — something he always did himself, as this remarkable account of his life shows.
Just as groundbreaking today as it was when it first appeared, Behold the Spirit is philosopher Alan Watts’s timeless argument for the place of mystical religion in today’s world. Drawing on his experiences as a former priest, Watts skillfully explains how the intuition of Eastern religion—Zen Buddhism, in particular—can be incorporated into the doctrines of Western Christianity, allowing people of all creeds to enjoy a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the spiritual in our present troubled times. From the Trade Paperback edition.
In describing the effects of mescaline, Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception opened a proverbial door for a generation of seekers. Watts walked through it with this classic account of the levels of insight that consciousness-changing drugs can facilitate “when accompanied with sustained philosophical reflection by a person who is in search, not of kicks, but of understanding.” Watts and peers including foreword authors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (then Harvard professors) anticipated physicists’ recognizing the individual’s “inseparability from the rest of the world,” the work of New Age thinkers who combine scientific findings and spiritual experiences, and federally funded clinical trials utilizing psilocybin to treat a variety of conditions. More than an artifact, The Joyous Cosmology is both a riveting memoir of Watts’s personal experiments and a profound meditation on our perennial questions about the nature of existence and the existence of the sacred.
Philosopher, author, and lecturer Alan Watts (1915–1973) popularized Zen Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies for the counterculture of the 1960s. Today, new generations are finding his writings and lectures online, while faithful followers worldwide continue to be enlightened by his teachings. The Collected Letters of Alan Watts reveals the remarkable arc of Watts’s colorful and controversial life, from his school days in England to his priesthood in the Anglican Church as chaplain of Northwestern University to his alternative lifestyle and experimentation with LSD in the heyday of the late sixties. His engaging letters cover a vast range of subject matter, with recipients ranging from High Church clergy to high priests of psychedelics, government officials, publishers, critics, family, and fans. They include C. G. Jung, Henry Miller, Gary Snyder, Aldous Huxley, Reinhold Niebuhr, Timothy Leary, Joseph Campbell, and James Hillman. Watts’s letters were curated by two of his daughters, Joan Watts and Anne Watts, who have added rich, behind-the-scenes biographical commentary. Edited by Joan Watts & Anne Watts
Over the course of nineteen essays, Alan Watts ruminates on the philosophy of nature, ecology, aesthetics, religion, and metaphysics. Assembled in the form of a “mountain journal,” written during a retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, CA, Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown is Watts’s meditation on the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature, known in Chinese as the Tao. Embracing a form of contemplative meditation that allows us to stop analyzing our experiences and start living in to them, the book explores themes such as the natural world, established religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and tantric yoga, the nature of ecstasy, and much more. From the Paperback edition.