Monday, October 18, 2021
The Book:  On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are   Source: Holy Books
Introduction
the book cover


The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Allan Watts is a radical piece about the unrecognised but mighty taboo — our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are.

Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy — religions of the East — in particular, the central and germinal Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism.

This hallucination underlies the misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man’s natural environment and, consequently, its eventual destruction.

Preface

THIS BOOK explores an unrecognized but mighty taboo — our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are. Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East — in particular the central and germinal Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism. This hallucination underlies the misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man's natural environment and, consequently, its eventual destruction.

We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence which is in accord with the physical facts and which overcomes our feeling of alienation from the universe. For this purpose I have drawn on the insights of Vedanta, stating them, however, in a completely modern and Western style — so that this volume makes no attempt to be a textbook on or introduction to Vedanta in the ordinary sense. It is rather a cross-fertilization of Western science with an Eastern intuition.

Particular thanks are due to my wife, Mary Jane, for her careful editorial work and her comments on the manuscript. Gratitude is also due to the Bollingen Foundation for its support of a project which included the writing of this book.

ALAN WATTS
Sausalito, California
January, 1966

Contents

Introduction

Preface

About the author

1 Inside Information

2 The Game of Black-and-White

3 How To Be a Genuine Fake

4 The World Is Your Body

5 So What?

6 IT

THE BOOKS

  

i

ii

iv

1

15

31

47

63

79

92

About the author

Dedication


To my Children and Grandchildren
Joan
*
David
Elizabeth
Christopher   
Tia
Mark
Richard   
Diane
Lila
Ann
*
Myra
Michael
 

 

Acknowledgments


The author is grateful to the following for permission to quote:

  • Cambridge University Press for The Nature of the Physical World by Sir Arthur Eddington and My View of the World by Erwin Schrödinger;
  • Prentice-Hall Inc. for Quantum Theory by David Bohm;
  • William Collins & Sons Ltd for The Gospel According to Thomas, translated by A. Guillaumont and others;
  • J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd for Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas; and
  • Methuen & Co. Ltd for The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton.
Copyright


ABACUS edition published in 1973
by Sphere Books Ltd
30/32 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JL
Reprinted 1976, 1977
First published in Great Britain
by Jonathan Cape Ltd 1969
Copyright © 1966 by Alan Watts
 

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 
Printed in Great Britain by Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd
Aylesbury, Bucks
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