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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality revealed
I'm going to keep this short: Once you reject mainstream religion, having realised that you are being 'short-changed' by it and having rejected its 'magical' thinking as no longer viable - but you still have a strong feeling about 'reality' that you need help to quantify - then this is the book for you: You are at the right point in your development to read it. It...
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by G. Bancroft

versus
69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Quirky Ideas
Having read many of the positive reviews on here and seen a few of his vids on Youtube, I thought it would be good to give this a try.

I can see the attraction of this book for atheists, for those that have not come across Eastern religion/philosophy and philosophy students. But for me, it doesn't really do anything as it hasn't really extended my...
Published on 16 Mar 2011 by T. Young


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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality revealed, 3 Oct 2010
By 
G. Bancroft "Arthur Sartorius" (Cumbria, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Paperback)
I'm going to keep this short: Once you reject mainstream religion, having realised that you are being 'short-changed' by it and having rejected its 'magical' thinking as no longer viable - but you still have a strong feeling about 'reality' that you need help to quantify - then this is the book for you: You are at the right point in your development to read it. It resolves so many conflicts we struggle with and it may change your life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It lies blatantly to our faces then tells us to run along and be good citizens…. by which time it is too late, 14 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Paperback)
You have simply got to put aside time to read this book. Society is a mess - it messes with our heads from the day we are born; controlling, conditioning, manipulating. It lies blatantly to our faces then tells us to run along and be good citizens….by which time it is too late.
I have often felt the need to 'unlearn' much of what I've learned over the course of my life. What's been offered under the guise 'normal' or 'reasonable' has often felt weird, alien, even absurd to me. Like an explorer going into the unknown I have travelled into 'self' and realised 'self' is an illusion. I urge others do the same - question everything, take nothing as read or real….explore, investigate, grow beyond the one dimensional illusion you have of yourself.
Society is laughing at you and me - it pigeon-holes us, narrowing options, growth, enlightenment. It tells us to go be rich, famous, go be somebody or fail and become a nobody. And this leads to fear and grasping and groping in the dark for insights and truths...
I have often felt the magic of living - not necessarily in knowing, for in knowing the magic becomes compartmentalised and in some way dies. This book tells us how to see - with every fibre of our being - our true nature and more besides: it shows us we consist of everything - it shows us to look beyond this sack of tissue and bone - and in so doing sets us free from the dictates, doctrines and false truths that perpetuate this silly, trivial, ridiculous all-controlling existence that our superiors are selling us...
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my perception of reality for the better -Instantly!, 2 Jun 1996
By A Customer
It is time for you to throw away all your self help books and
all the gimmicky, new wave, pop psychology junk that has been
weighing down our bookshelves as well as our minds and lose
yourself in this wonderful piece of inspired writing. A truly
mystical experience, practically evoking enlightenment by
altering or restructuring my world view. Enlightenment or cosmic
consciousness is the state whereby everything that is as bad as
can be suddenly flips to everything being as good as can be.
Stop blaming others for your misery. Happiness, peace and serenity
is an "inside" job. Alan Watts has given us this option with
warmth, compassion and humor. A book for everyone. Don't miss it!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of the Vietnam crisis, 3 Dec 1999
By 
This pamphlet came out at a time of unprecedented spiritual agony for a new USA generation in the late 1960s. They were being called up by lottery for a war few believed in, that was being waged against a Buddhist nation. Watts, a Buddhist scholar, taught in Sausalito, at the very gate to Asia, where warships passed his houseboat every day, leaving San Francisco Bay for Pacific bases. Thousands of war resisters read this book, and had their lives changed by it. It must be one of the most powerful spiritual tracts ever penned, yet Alan Watts has become a non-person in his native English culture. His ideas about changing Christianity from an instrument of royalist domination to a liturgy of nature and renewal have been utterly ignored and rejected, with the predictable result: an irrelevant priesthood preaching to empty churches while Christian man destroys the planet.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmic Comedy, 2 April 2007
I first came across this book when my sister-in-law handed it to me with the strict injunction to be sure to give it back. That was about 15 years ago. I just can't bear the thought of parting with it! I live in hope that she will not remember that I have it. However, as it is still available from Amazon, I might be persuaded to return it when I've replaced it.....

Alan Watts has written a classic on"being" from the Hindu point of view, but with an added twist of Western science. Although it was first published in 1969 the message is still as relevant now as it was back in the heady days of Haight-Ashbury. In fact, more so, as we have moved so far down the road to a kind of pathological individualism.

Never was there a time when materialists have needed to break down the barriers between their carefully insulated selves and the rest of the universe. Buy it if you can - its pure joy.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life 101, 25 Feb 2001
By 
Steven Taylor "Gyrus" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Very gratifying to see this book getting all-round 5-star reviews here. It's a truly unique work - among the simplest and most profound works of philosophy. Everything the 60's should be remembered for but isn't. For weeks after my first reading of it, I felt incredibly strong mystical perceptions. Very few collections of words can do this.
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69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Quirky Ideas, 16 Mar 2011
By 
T. Young "Truth" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Paperback)
Having read many of the positive reviews on here and seen a few of his vids on Youtube, I thought it would be good to give this a try.

I can see the attraction of this book for atheists, for those that have not come across Eastern religion/philosophy and philosophy students. But for me, it doesn't really do anything as it hasn't really extended my knowledge.

There are some really mind provoking ideas in the book that many people would enjoy like when seeing Matrix for the first time or Ghost in the Shell and give a completely different perspective. One central theme in this is the idea there is no separate self as society always intertwine with you. I agree with this from understanding the ideas of free will and fate/Hinduism rather than through his explanations. I think his explanation is better for the layman and those unaccustomed to eastern religion.

What I don't quite like though is his style of writing/model of thinking. His concentration is on highlighting contradictions and double bind ideas when I see no contradiction at all. He is highlighting problems when I am more looking for solutions.

What I don't agree with is the idea of either having to do something for yourself, or for society, and he constantly make them seem like mutually exclusive goals when I see 'self' as the society very much including 'me' in it. They do not have to be opposing forces (working for self and working for society) and if anything the right attitude to take is to help yourself first and foremost since you can always change yourself 100% and that is a big part of you helping society. And when I say 'help', I don't mean the pursue of pleasure but to do what is right.

His writing comes across as slightly clever, mind twisters with an academic curiosity. But what I am looking more for was someone that was going to give direct, simple, lay down on the way it is.

Those that like clever books that make you think a bit e.g. philosophy students. Get this book.
Those that are militant atheists that enjoy ripping apart religion. Definitely get this book. Help to give you a solid foundation to build a 'logical' world view to have and be more constructive.
Those that know about eastern philosophy/religion - can be skipped.

Alan Watts is a good bridge to Eastern philosophy using Western ideas. Or those that are really interested can go straight to Eastern philosophy and read up 'Jnana Yoga' by Swami Vivekananda (Theory) or 'Passage Meditation' and 'Essence of the Upanishads' by Eknath Easwaran (Practice). First two books are free on the net.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Dharma" For Today!, 21 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Alan Watts has done an incalculable favor for the English speaking world by restating the ancient Insights of the East in modern thought, modern concepts. If you read only one book in your entire lifetime about Far Eastern Mysticism, make it this one. Your established world-view and mental habits will be delightfully challenged, enlarged, and transformed. BUY THIS BOOK! N.M.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Paperback)
I stumbled across Alan Watts a couple of years ago while browsing on the internet. I listened to many of his talks and lectures. Everything he said made sense to me and hit home. Finally, I purchased this book. After debating and putting it off over and over again, I finally bought The Book! I was excited when it arrived.

While reading the first two chapters I found myself fighting the urge to close it and give up out of sheer bordom. The following day I picked up the book again and read the next chapter.....this time Watts was completly bombing, and tearing to shreads, all of the science I had just spent my whole life learning. I've read many physics books from Feynman and Hawking, to Greene and Susskind.....now, Watts was taking a hurtful blow at all of these iconic scientists (not at them directly, but at the things they teach). I basically had to stop reading at that point, but somehow mustered up the courage to finish.

Bottom line: If you enjoy "listening" to Alan Watts, I suggest you do just that. Don't let his boring writing style and his mental block for science get in the way of that. Alan Watts is still a brilliant man, but I cannot recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slight disappointment, 29 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Paperback)
I expected a generous and thought provoking work of philosophy, but found more of an ill-humoured rant, and a strangly pld fashioned attitude to women, which I realise now is because the book was written quite a number of years ago.
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The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts (Paperback - 5 May 2009)
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