The late, great Alan Watts proposes a simple question in this reflection. If you were to pass along a book to your child to give them all (or most) of the information they need to be an informed human; what book would you give them? Watts felt there was no satisfactory piece of literature that fit his qualifications; so, he decided to write the book himself. The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are is a relatively quick read, only 159 pages; but it is quite dense. Dr. Watts lived from 1915-1973 and studied philosophy and religion. He is well known for his translation of eastern philosophies into language western people can attach to. He was a speaker and a spreader of peace, and curiosity. In The Book, Watts explores what it means to be a human in this strange universe. How, many things that we believe to be real are just figments of our perception. He discusses how the ego is harmful if not kept in check. He also chooses to use the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta as a platform for explaining our connection to the universe. This is my favorite part of Watts’ philosophy. He explains that we think we are individuals living in this universe, however we are actually the same as the universe; we are the universe. I think we have been raised to believe otherwise so that we become the ideal consumer, especially in the United States. Watts brings you back to the truest, egoless reality. One in which everyone and everything is equal because we are all alive in the same place, at the same time, here! The four most common elements found throughout the universe are: Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Carbon. The four most common elements found in the human body are: Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Carbon. This idea that we are something separate living in this universe is completely fabricated by our ego. Maybe because it gives use a sense of purpose while we are here, trying to find the meaning of life. Maybe it makes us more comfortable with dying. If consciousness comes from somewhere, then it has to go back to that place. Watts reminds is that these things are probably not true. And that we shouldn’t dwell on these kinds of questions. Realize that you are the universe, and appreciate that for what it is. This book is a much needed reexamination of modern life that I think everybody should read. It challenges your ideas in a way to make you genuinely rethink who you are. Take a weekend and align your perception with The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Dr. Alan Watts.

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