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The Supreme Identity Paperback – September 12, 1972


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (September 12, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394718356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394718354
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dave Ledbetter on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
when i first encountered this book in the mid-eighties i was a pastor of a small church in pennsylvania. i am now a dance musician at slippery rock university and must say that The Supreme Identity is probably watt's most enlightening work. it will be outright rejected and considered dangerous by probably most religious minded folks but that will only serve to make it more interesting to anyone who is ready for it's message. if you feel that religion in its current form is simply too small minded and practically irrelevant but don't know exactly why, then read this book. watts is not anti-religion by any means.
but he courageously and clearly sets forth the truth of the human/divine continuum by elucidating the essence of vedantist realization. he uses clear and plain language with that wry humor
that endeared him to so many. this book changed my life nearly twenty years ago. i'm glad i read it and hope many find it in their hands in years to come..
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ross James Browne on May 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
_The Supreme Identity_ is one of the more important among the earlier works by Alan Watts. It engages the reader with a rigorous theological discussion which is thought provoking yet mentally taxing. At times he lapses into hair-splitting minutae in examining theological issues, and the result is what the author himself admitted was a "sometimes tortuous argument". However, I would still recommend this one to anyone who wants to go right after the meat of Alan Watts' theology, or for those who wish read stuff from his earlier Christian stage as opposed to his later works, when he dealt almost exclusively with Eastern religion. Before you read this one, I would strongly suggest you read _Behold the Spirit_, which is more readable but just as profound as _The Supreme Identity_.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Firehill on April 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
You can tell by the limited numbers of reviews that not as many people read this book as some of his others. I'll admit it, it's a tough read, and took me several tries to get through it; but it is so very worth the effort. In fact, part of the reason I had such a hard time getting through it is because Watts kept blowing my mind, which made reading on impossible; I had to absorb it a bit at a time. It was the same way with Thoreau's Walden. But maybe I'm just slow?

This is a deep book, his most scholarly that I know about, and I've read most of his work. In the foreward to the new edition, he calls the thesis "rather torturous" and while that might be somewhat true, it is still brilliant and enlightening to read.

What struck me the most was how logical it all was. He isn't just spouting New Age blather, nor parroting Eastern philosophy. He really builds up an argument from the bottom, starting with asking "what are we living for?" He says the fact that modern society has no answer for that, at least no common answer (aside from the lowest common denominator of keeping fed, clothed, and comfortable, which is mostly to say, we live so we can keep living), is the reason we have so much disharmony in the world, leading us to the point of teetering on the edge of self-destruction. He goes on from there in this exploration of the mystical worldview, which he terms "metaphysic". And keep in mind, there is nothing "fuzzy" or "wooly" about this concept of mystic/metaphysic. I found the argument highly grounded in rationality, perhaps going beyond it at points-- but not in the sense of wild leaps of faith.

This is a book that needs to be taken slow. Stop and think about the things he writes, and let the insights come. You won't be sorry.
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