Shaman: The Strange Life and Forgotten Genius of Alan Watts

by Tim Lott

Format: Other book format 256 pages

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Alan Watts was a counter-cultural hero of the 1950s and 60s, and today his writings and philosophy have been embraced by a generation looking for guidance as to how to live their lives. English mystic and reluctant guru he was also an hedonist, womanizer, and drug taker, married three times with seven children, and derided or ignored by many of his contemporaries. He is a long way from the role models that people tend to associate with the profession of wisdom. Watts' thinking was deeply marked by common sense. He did not believe that there was much to be achieved by sitting cross-legged, meditating for hours. Instead, with a sharp sense of humour, he had a rare ability to put across complex philosophy or psychology in plain language. His understanding of Eastern philosophy requires no commitment to superstition and makes no claims that the world is anything other than the world you see in front of you, and the people who to this day 'follow' Watts are not intellectuals. They are artists rather than academics. The animators Matt Stone and Trey Parker of 'South Park' fame, animated a series of his lectures. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp considers him 'a genius'. John Lloyd, the comedy innovator took a Watts book with him on "Desert Island Discs'. Tim Lott, having been brought up in rationalist, restless, rootless metropolitan London - like Watts himself - discovered Watt's writings and recordings and through them found a place in his mind that he had always sought, without ever being able to articulate it. And he found it, like Watts, without getting aching knees, becoming a vegetarian, or shaving his head. This book brings Watts out of the shadows into the spotlight where he belongs.

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Simon & Schuster Ltd


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