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a courageous and original mind
on 20 April 2011
Though I was skeptical when handed this book - I am neither into religion nor do I desire to have a hip-zen lifestyle in Southern California - I was immediately drawn in to the way this amazing man's life unfolded. Early on, he set out to be an independent intellectual, constantly learning and living in his "own way." He succeeded, in spite of the odds, on the terms that he set out for himself. This was deeply inspiring to me, and it turned out that despite the surface differences of interest, Alan Watts had a lot to say about the choices one makes in life and how to go about living.
The book is also filled with details that are as fascinating as they are hilarious. A friend of his youth made a pilgrimage to a famous and ancient monastery, which he discovered was "an elaborate homosexual organization." Though he lacked a university degree, Watts was allowed to study at Northwestern, which he described as "the type of place where philosphers worked from 9 to 5." Later, in LA, he hung out with Aldous Huxley, experimenting with hallucinogens, beating drums all night long, and listening to the incredible rhythm of that brilliant man's speech, which he says arrested all conversation in entire restaurants. The list goes on and on.