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VINE VOICEon November 27, 1999
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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on August 9, 2012
Just a light, fun read by an old philosopher. Irreverent in ways, thoughtful in others but easy to get into the humor of this great man. Makes you wonder what people of such deep consciousness do in their spare time. This is the silly, playful side of Alan Watts....or, maybe not. Really enjoyed reading!

Carl Bozeman

Author: On Being God - Beyond Your Life's Purpose &
Are You Listening? Addressing the Divine Within
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 29, 2014
Alan Wilson Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as a populariser of Eastern philosophy. He and his then-wife left England for America in 1938 on the eve of WWII, and he became an Episcopal priest---but he left the priesthood in 1950 and moved to California, where he became a cult figure in the Beat movement of the 1950s and later. He wrote many popular books, such as The Spirit of Zen,The Way of Zen,Nature, Man and Woman,This Is It,Psychotherapy East & West,Beyond Theology,The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are,Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown,Tao: The Watercourse Way, and his autobiography, In My Own Way.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1969 book, "This book consists of a series of recent essays on man's relationship to the material world---to what we call nature, the physical environment, the body, and substantial matter."

He remarks on the "amazing increase of interest among American college students in Oriental mysticism and other 'non-Western' studies... Obviously, this interest is not unconnected with the widespread use of psychedelic drugs. This is not, as is often suggested, a substitute for alcohol: it is much more an adventure, an exploration of new dimensions of experience, all the more attractive for being esoteric and in defiance of authority." (Pg. 16)

He states, "Excellent as the cuisine may be, restaurants in America serve for the eye and not for the stomach, because abstractionists delight in the initial lift of fancy menus and vastly overloaded dishes---suited only to the appetites of growing boys, who cannot afford to eat in such places. The customer wants anticipation: he has no capacity for fulfillment." (Pg. 36)

He suggests, "Philosophers and theologians have given all too little attention to the vice of pomposity, which is, at root, the folly of taking oneself seriously." (Pg. 61-62)

He argues, "There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs. First, use of the drugs may be dangerous. However, every worthwhile expedition is dangerous---climbing mountains, testing aircraft, rocketing into outer space, skin diving, or collecting botanical specimens in jungles. but if you value knowledge... you are willing to take the risks...Second, drug use may be criticized as an escape from reality. However this criticism assumes unjustly that the mystical experiences themselves are escapist or unreal. LSD in particular, is by no means a soft and cushy escape from reality." (Pg. 92-93)

Not Watts' most "profound" work, this book will nevertheless be appreciated by most fans of his work, for its treatment of topics that he has not often treated elsewhere.
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on May 11, 2013
This book raises numerous issues that are prevalent in our modern society, and the vast majority was written in the 60's! Very interesting stuff about the way we relate to the world around us. Loved the essay on the loss of passion in cooking.
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on December 20, 2009
Watts is the most incredible author I have ever read. He makes difficult Eastern concepts easy to understand, mixes in some humor and often leaves you with a rush of enlightenment. The concepts he brings across make sense at the gut level. It's what Eastern Philosophers call intuitive knowledge. In our complex and controlling Western Society that intuitive knowledge gets beaten out of us at an early age. The writings of Alan Watts have restorative and refreshing powers. Pick any Alan Watts book and start on any page to begin your journey.
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on May 31, 2016
Despite being written 50+ years ago this book is still a most relevant read. Alan Watts, the Oracle of the universe was generally panned for this work by the so called gurus of the time. I think it was actually one of his best works.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 29, 2014
Alan Wilson Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as a populariser of Eastern philosophy. He and his then-wife left England for America in 1938 on the eve of WWII, and he became an Episcopal priest---but he left the priesthood in 1950 and moved to California, where he became a cult figure in the Beat movement of the 1950s and later. He wrote many popular books, such as The Spirit of Zen,The Way of Zen,Nature, Man and Woman,This Is It,Psychotherapy East & West,Beyond Theology,The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are,Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown,Tao: The Watercourse Way, and his autobiography, In My Own Way.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1969 book, "This book consists of a series of recent essays on man's relationship to the material world---to what we call nature, the physical environment, the body, and substantial matter."

He remarks on the "amazing increase of interest among American college students in Oriental mysticism and other 'non-Western' studies... Obviously, this interest is not unconnected with the widespread use of psychedelic drugs. This is not, as is often suggested, a substitute for alcohol: it is much more an adventure, an exploration of new dimensions of experience, all the more attractive for being esoteric and in defiance of authority." (Pg. 16)

He states, "Excellent as the cuisine may be, restaurants in America serve for the eye and not for the stomach, because abstractionists delight in the initial lift of fancy menus and vastly overloaded dishes---suited only to the appetites of growing boys, who cannot afford to eat in such places. The customer wants anticipation: he has no capacity for fulfillment." (Pg. 36)

He suggests, "Philosophers and theologians have given all too little attention to the vice of pomposity, which is, at root, the folly of taking oneself seriously." (Pg. 61-62)

He argues, "There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs. First, use of the drugs may be dangerous. However, every worthwhile expedition is dangerous---climbing mountains, testing aircraft, rocketing into outer space, skin diving, or collecting botanical specimens in jungles. but if you value knowledge... you are willing to take the risks...Second, drug use may be criticized as an escape from reality. However this criticism assumes unjustly that the mystical experiences themselves are escapist or unreal. LSD in particular, is by no means a soft and cushy escape from reality." (Pg. 92-93)

Not Watts' most "profound" work, this book will nevertheless be appreciated by most fans of his work, for its treatment of topics that he has not often treated elsewhere.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 29, 2014
Alan Wilson Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as a populariser of Eastern philosophy. He and his then-wife left England for America in 1938 on the eve of WWII, and he became an Episcopal priest---but he left the priesthood in 1950 and moved to California, where he became a cult figure in the Beat movement of the 1950s and later. He wrote many popular books, such as The Spirit of Zen,The Way of Zen,Nature, Man and Woman,This Is It,Psychotherapy East & West,Beyond Theology,The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are,Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown,Tao: The Watercourse Way, and his autobiography, In My Own Way.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 1969 book, "This book consists of a series of recent essays on man's relationship to the material world---to what we call nature, the physical environment, the body, and substantial matter."

He remarks on the "amazing increase of interest among American college students in Oriental mysticism and other 'non-Western' studies... Obviously, this interest is not unconnected with the widespread use of psychedelic drugs. This is not, as is often suggested, a substitute for alcohol: it is much more an adventure, an exploration of new dimensions of experience, all the more attractive for being esoteric and in defiance of authority." (Pg. 16)

He states, "Excellent as the cuisine may be, restaurants in America serve for the eye and not for the stomach, because abstractionists delight in the initial lift of fancy menus and vastly overloaded dishes---suited only to the appetites of growing boys, who cannot afford to eat in such places. The customer wants anticipation: he has no capacity for fulfillment." (Pg. 36)

He suggests, "Philosophers and theologians have given all too little attention to the vice of pomposity, which is, at root, the folly of taking oneself seriously." (Pg. 61-62)

He argues, "There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs. First, use of the drugs may be dangerous. However, every worthwhile expedition is dangerous---climbing mountains, testing aircraft, rocketing into outer space, skin diving, or collecting botanical specimens in jungles. but if you value knowledge... you are willing to take the risks...Second, drug use may be criticized as an escape from reality. However this criticism assumes unjustly that the mystical experiences themselves are escapist or unreal. LSD in particular, is by no means a soft and cushy escape from reality." (Pg. 92-93)

Not Watts' most "profound" work, this book will nevertheless be appreciated by most fans of his work, for its treatment of topics that he has not often treated elsewhere.
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on January 12, 2015
Perhaps I'm missing something. But this book just seems to be a series of rants on topics of interest in the 60's. For a writing to be considered philosophical, there should be deeper thought and contemplation rather than just an endless stream of expression. I saw too much of the latter here.
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on March 27, 2015
Started reading it and the essays are definitely thought provoking. The book cuts off after page 36 and jumps to a page in the 50's. I found part of that missing section in the 80's, but it was still missing a few pages. Second book I got from Amazon with pages either blank, missing, or out of place in the last month... :(
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