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The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Alan Watts

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

As the cover states, Watts is “writing beautifully the unwritable.” Watts calls himself a ‘spiritual entertainer’, and The Book is my favorite bundle of both his gifts: spiritual potency and invigorating entertainment. Though he draws from Vedic mythology, physics, meditation, even thermodynamics, the clarity with which his message comes across is disarmingly simple:

“We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience – a new feeling of what it is to be ‘I’…The basic thing is therefore to dispel, by experiment and experience, the illusion of oneself as a separate ego.”

This is the book that, if I could, I’d slip under every angsty teenager’s pillow on Christmas Eve.