- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Unwin Paperbacks; New edition edition (September 24, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0044400497
- ISBN-13: 978-0044400493
- Package Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,832,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Genuine Fake: A Biography of Alan Watts Paperback – September 24, 1987
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Dear Alan Watts ,
Thank you for introducing me to the Tao Te Ching . It's my favorite book after the Bible .
No one could write about common sense better than the Ancient Chinese philosophers.
What the west needs today is more of the Common Sense of the Ancient Chinese
philosophers . And what they need is a better understanding of God from Christianity .
I believe in the Triune God . Holy , Holy ,Holy . The Blessed Trinity .
Zen is like getting a new pair of glasses to help you see better. What do you see with your
new pair of glasses ? I see that Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life .I see a better world.
Love God with all you heart , soul , mind and strength . And love your neighbor as your self.
You are your neighbors neighbor . Who is a Neighbor ? Someone other than yourself .
Jesus is the Way . He is the second person of the Trinity . When we are in Christ we are in the
second Person of the Trinity . Equality with God is not something to be grasped at . Know the Lord
and let the Holy Spirit work through you .
Alan Watts is a great explorer who didn't quite make the return trip to being a Joyful Christian .
God Bless you for your efforts and scholarship in understanding . We are all on a journey .
The Journey Home.
Biographer Monica Furlong notes in this 1986 "authorized" (by the family) biography about critics of his first book (The Spirit of Zen - A Way of Life, Work and Art in the Far East (The Wisdom of the East)), "At his age, they wondered, what did he know of wisdom, of suffering, or mystical experience? Where was his apprenticeship to a guru, his initiation, his gradual growth into God-consciousness? Wisdom demanded that the disciple should work away faithfully until crisis-point or breakdown was reached... yet here was young Alan Watts claiming that you could get there without the agony... instead of making the long, painful journey by foot or camel. Who did he think he was?" (Pg. 75)
Of his time as a priest, she observes, "it is difficult not to feel a twinge of cynicism about this scheme. A young man who has been Buddhist for the past ten years ... suddenly decides to become a Christian priest... because, to put it bluntly, it provides a convenient way of earning a living... knowing that he knows a great deal about religion, and that he is a natural speaker, singer, and theologian... he adds all of these considerations together and decides that switching religions may be the answer." (Pg. 78) She adds, "Watts's daughter Joan suggests another reason for Alan's 'conversion'. In 1941 he was in danger of being drafted, and having escaped the war in England he did not propose to have it catch up with him in America. As a minister he would be safe from the draft. It is not a reason he mentions in his autobiography." (Pg. 79-80) Of his leaving the priesthood, Furlong wrote, "Watts had shown no sign of wishing to leave until his position became impossible---he had taken the Church's money and preached its accepted wisdom only moderately critically... it seems too striking a coincidence that the Church's value in general seemed to decline in Watts's eyes just at the moment that it rejected him." (Pg. 109)
His first wife Eleanor reports, "Over the years of his marriage his pornographic interests and phantasy, while more attractive to him than the normal marriage relationship, lost some of their power to stimulate him and he began to seek stimulation from women outside his marriage." (Pg. 102) In 1950 she had their marriage annulled on the grounds that "her husband had concealed from her that he was a 'sexual pervert.'" (Pg. 106)
She observes, "He was drinking heavily, vodka mostly... He tried to insist that he was a 'philosophical entertainer'... 'a genuine fake'... perhaps to help him endure the sense of hypocrisy that fame gave him." (Pg. 133) She adds, "Film taken of him in 1969 shows him looking seedy, ill and older than his 54 years; friends were concerned about his obvious fatigue and about his heavy drinking." (Pg. 166) In 1968 his doctor warned him that he had an enlarged liver and must give up drinking, but he did only for a few months. (Pg. 167) Jungian analyst June Singer "was saddened to see how heavily he was drinking. On one occasion she visited him in hospital where he was suffering from delirium tremens, and she realised that he knew how destructive the habit had become." (Pg. 175) His son Mark once asked him, "Dad, don't you want to live?" and Watts replied, "Yes, but it's not worth holding on to." (Pg. 177)
I am one of those who benefited greatly in my younger days from Watts' writings and recorded talks; it was sad to discover about the tragic turns his life took. (He was still a wonderful writer and speaker, though!)