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Alan Watts introduced millions of Western readers to Zen and other Eastern philosophies. But he is also recognized as a brilliant commentator on Judeo-Christian traditions, as well as a celebrity philosopher who exemplified the ideas — and lifestyle — of the 1960s counterculture. In this compilation of controversial lectures that Watts delivered at American universities throughout the sixties, he challenges readers to reevaluate Western culture's most hallowed constructs.
Watts treads the familiar ground of interpreting Eastern traditions, but he also covers new territory, exploring the counterculture's basis in the ancient tribal and shamanic cultures of Asia, Siberia, and the Americas. In the process, he addresses some of the era's most important questions: What is the nature of reality? How does an individual's relationship to society affect this reality?
Filled with Watts's playful, provocative style, the talks show the remarkable scope of a philosopher at his prime, exploring and defining the sixties counterculture as only Alan Watts could.
“A selection of Watts’ energetic, provocative, and shibboleth-shattering talks is now in print for the first time, and his arguments remain vital. With disarming candor, intellectual delight, and spiritual acuity, Watts offers frank assessments of the church and keen elucidations of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taosim. He also explores essential perceptions and contradictions in “Philosophy of Nature,” “Mysticism and Morality,” and “Religion and Sexuality.” In a time of raging fundamentalism, such erudite, witty, and positive inquiries into religion and right action are a balm and a light.”
— Donna Seaman, Booklist