📖The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

authors
Watts, Alan
year
1989
see also
  • p.9 #quote

    We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.

  • We can’t describe what Truth is through words. That’s why we use myths to describe what it is like, not what it is. Myths describe through metaphor, analogy, and images. (The same idea in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.)
  • You will die. If you remember this an stop thinking you can somehow fix this or put it off, you realize that there is nothing to cling for.
  • Game of Black-and-White: we can only know a thing comparing it with the opposite. Thus, opposites do not exist in separation. Black does not exist without white; light—without dark; life—without death. They always come together. We deny that and try to play the game of Black-against-White, or rather White-against-Black. We want life to win, as if death is bad—it is not.
  • Cause and effect are one thing. We perceive things as having cause/effect because we perceive them through a thin slit of time. We cannot perceive all time together and thus do not see the whole picture.
    • It is as if we see through a thin slit in fence a cat walking. We always see head, then body, and then tail. We might think that head causes body, which causes tail. When in fact the whole cat is.
  • We have divided the world into spirit and matter. And now we ask all sorts of stupid questions like “what happens to soul when it leaves the body?”
  • Double bind of demanding spontaneous behavior.
  • p.82

    Money alone cannot buy pleasure, though it can help. For enjoyment is an art and a skill for which we have little talent or energy.

  • We are interdependent with out environment and we do not exist/operate without it.
  • p.89

    To say that certain events are causally connected is only a clumsy way of saying they are features of the same event like the head and tail of the cat.

  • We always perceive things in relationship to background (figure/ground relationship)
  • We speak about brain “governing” stomach. But stomach does not belong to brain any more than brain belongs to stomach.
  • Really does not have color, weight, distance, softness, or any quality without an observer. It is observer that defines reality.
    • Good example is rainbow. Rainbow depends on sun, air moisture, and observer’s position. There is no rainbow without observer. Rainbow is not subjective: all people in given location see rainbow. Now, we don’t think of rainbows as “real” real, but they are as real as anything else (though is harder to grasp).
  • p.116

    the ego-trick must be overcome through intensified self-consciousness.

  • p.117

    Saints have always declared themselves as abject sinners—through recognition that their aspiration o saintly is motivated by the worst of all sins, spiritual pride, the desire to admire oneself as a supreme success in the art of love and unselfishness.

  • _

    any direction you may take will imply, and so evoke, its opposite. Decide to be a Christ, and there will be a Judas to betray you and a mob to crucify you. Decide to be a devil, and men will unite against you in the closest brotherly love.

  • p.122

    Don’t try to get rid of the ego-sensation. Take it, so long as it lasts, as a feature or play of the total process—like a cloud or wave, or like feeling warm or cold, or anything else that happens of itself. Getting rid of one’s ego is the last resort of invincible egoism! It simply confirms and strengthens the reality of the feeling. But when this feeling of separateness is approached and accepted like any other sensation, it evaporates like the mirage that it is.

  • There is no conflict between science and no-self. In fact, science supports no-self.

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