Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life: Collected Talks – Alan Watts – New World Library, 2006.
Alan Watts, who held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. Standing apart, however, from sectarian membership, he earned the reputation of being one of the most original and "unrutted" philosophers of the past century. He was the author of some twenty books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, including The Way of Zen; The Wisdom of Insecurity; Nature, Man and Woman; The Book; Beyond Theology; In My Own Way; and Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown. He died in 1973.
Although Watts introduced millions of Western readers to Zen and other Eastern philosophies, he can also be 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.
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