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Does It Matter?: Essays on Man's Relation to Materiality Kindle Edition

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Length: 140 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fascinating entry into the deepest ways of knowing.” — Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

From the Inside Flap

This is a series of essays representing philosopher Alan Watts's most recent thinking on the astonishing problems of man's relations to his material environment. The basic theme is that civilized man confuses symbol with reality, his ways of describing and measuring the world with the world itself, and thus puts himself into the absurd situation of preferring money to wealth and eating the menu instead of the dinner.

Thus, with his attention locked upon numbers and concepts, man is increasingly unconscious of nature and of his total dependence upon air, water, plants, animals, insects, and bacteria. He has been hallucinated into the notion that the so-called "external" world is a cluster of "objects" separate from himself, that he "encounters" it, that he comes into it instead of out of it. Consequently, our species is fouling its own nest and is in imminent danger of self-obliteration.

Here, a philosopher whose works have been mainly concerned with mysticism and Oriental philosophy gets down to the "nitty-gritty" problems of economics, technology, clothing, cooking, and housing.

Product Details

  • File Size: 311 KB
  • Print Length: 140 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; 2nd edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 7, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042FZX4W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By yygsgsdrassil on February 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is subtitled "Essays on Man's Relationship to Materiality"...and my copy perhaps is almost ready for the Smithsonian. So much for my relationship with my materiality, eh? Well, I'm still learning. This book is one of his most accessible collections, his writing style here is so light and readable that it's clear that he is getting a kick out of his own whimsical turning of phrases. The words, the symbols, the images, the numbers in which we define reality are NOT reality and according to Watts, we confuse our descriptive world with what is really going on, thus we are distanced and numbed to real situations in the real world...we become blind to nature, we fail to connect to the living vibrations. These essays--I know, yet more descriptives--are designed for us to recognize the problem. (Money is not wealth. We are not our clothes. Food is not the packaging it is placed in.) These essays tell us ways we can connect to the cosmic consciousness...so we can avoid self destruction. One of the best essays is the short piece on Zen scholar DT Suzuki in which, I find, has the best line about both Suzuki and the Alan Watts of this text...it is "as if he had seen the Ultimate Joke and as if, out of compassion for those who had not, he were refraining from laughing out loud." Well, that is almost the way I have often been described, like I've told a joke that few people get...Anyway one of Watt's best, it's a pity is no longer in catalogue....
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By The Old Philosopher on February 26, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alan Watts is one of my favorite philosophers. His wisdom is timeless, and his views refreshing in this age of mass media hype and overplayed political propaganda. Does it Matter? That is an important question for everyone to ask themselves. I'm not going to list here the many topics covered in this volume, and certainly I'm not equal to Watts in trying to explain it. The book is worth owning even for his writing about children. One can get a whole new perspective on the Columbine shootings, for example, by reading what Watts said about children several decades before. Columbine wasn't a surprise. It's a great book for those who take time to think about life and the real way of the world.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By TMerfee@aol.com on December 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alan Watts is somehow able to turn upside down our most basic assumptions and, by doing so, make more sense of the world. "Does It Matter" is a small collection of essays about Western man's relationship to everyday material things (e.g. food, clothing, money). Watts convincingly shakes us out of rutted thinking. With humor, irreverance, sincerity, and clear writing, he articulates profound ideas without resorting to obscure argument. A theme that runs through the essays is our tendency to confuse symbols with the material things to which they refer(desiring the menu more than the food). I get the feeling while reading these essays that the author is comfortable enough in his own search for truth to enjoy sharing it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Whiteside on November 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You need to be an Alan Watts fan to fully appreciate this book; it is not the place to start if you are just getting into him, but it is important if you want a fully representative collection of this brilliant man's work.

Watts' writings, considered as a whole, come close to providing a workable philosophy of life. This book contains essays, some quite funny, about materialism. But it wouldn't make much sense unless you were already familiar with his more important and serious work explaining and translating Buhddist and Hindu thought and practice into Western terms.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book changed my life. It's a series of essays by the late Alan Watts. Two brilliant essays included in it are: "Wealth Versus Money" (the US government should read this one), and "Murder In The Kitchen". Must reading for all Watts fans, and the best book to start with if you aren't familiar with Watts' brilliant insights into the unspoken obvious! -Paula Martin-
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on November 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I particularly love Alan Watts' play on words in his titles, in which this case he does so well. A common phrase 'Does It Matter' is the subject in which the author explores and expresses his ideas of materialism in a materialistic age (more so now than in his own time - appearingly). Discussing his own perceptions in which the way things could be in order to get full advantage of living and being free from oneself as well as anything material. Yet, also expressing the notion that materialism, in all its greed and desires, can be viewed as spiritual and indeed be part of every persons awakening to real life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Marie on July 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another fine book by the deceased author, Alan Watts. After reading this book, I decided that my own ideas of making my life simple were reinforced in a very positive way. Simple living, with a reasonable temper on what that means. A modernist of comfort, I only need one cup, one saucer, etc. Make do and do away with excess. Everything else is a "money" on our back. People move and carry all their "great stuff," with them. Alan has made me re-think what is really needed and what can be dismissed. Took everything out of the closet, gave it a social value, and gave away anything that did not fit my life today. Great idea, great book!
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