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This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1973
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Top Customer Reviews
Aside from theology, no field is more guilty of overlooking the "here and now" than philosophy - overlooking it, or simply missing it. But Alan Watts believes in a philosophy that is true to its spirit, the love of wisdom. "Such philosophy will not preach or advocate practices leading to improvement." As he understands it "the work of the philosopher as artist is to reveal and celebrate the eternal and purposeless background of human life." It may seem presumptuous for Watts to use the word purposeless, but if fact it's the opposite. To begin with, in relationships that involve observation, appreciation, celebration, or interaction with the "here and now," (life) there should be no assumptions made regarding a purpose. Assuming a purpose is already removing oneself from the "here and now" by imposing an impression that only could have been established through time, in the past. In truth, the purpose or lack thereof is not important.
We don't realize how many of these assumptions form the base for all that we experience. Watts pulls a wonderful line from Dostoyevsky: "Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that...If anyone finds out he'll become happy at once, that minute." Watts isn't trying to imply that happiness is easy. But we don't make things easier on ourselves by entangling ourselves in webs of assumption, dogma, and rigidity.Read more ›
Logical paradoxes aside, the "just shut up and get on with it" approach to Life is one of the key elements in Zen. The 'kill the Buddha' psychology of avoiding the pitfalls of externally arising enlightenment is well in line with Watt's own philosophy.
Completeness comes from within and from a place of non-duality, which the koans of Zen are designed to lead you towards. One of the key human errors and the cause of immense suffering is the belief that Life must make sense. Who ever said that? And make sense to whom?
The Techno Bible in The Hitch Hiker's Guide bore the words "Dont Panic" on the cover. That's a good starting point. Add to that Just Do It and This Is It, and you're going to be just fine.
Another great read from the man who gave us The Two Hands Of God.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A most lucid description of IT, what IT is, why we need to experience it, and how to do so.
Double-bind definition reminds us that we are in a mad world and what my confusion was throughout my whole life. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Everything by Watts is brilliant. This booklet is a case both for and against the practice of meditation, written is Watt's characteristic self-contradictory way. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Morgan
Excellent for when you only have a couple minutes of reading time (at work, on a break, etc.)...I've only had it a couple weeks and it's pages are so dog-eared it looks like i've... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Adam C. Smith
Good. Alan Watts is rad. Wish the essays were longer, more in depth. His "Wisdom of Insecurity" is better.Published 6 months ago by Dalek
My favorite essay in this book is Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen. Watts has a way of breaking things down in order to clarify and crystallize his points and examples. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Josie Poetess
Enjoyed this immensely, as I enjoy most of his work. Some essays are better than others and I especially liked the last two in this book. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mathew T Brooks