Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mystic Experience and The Environment

I found this gem of insight by Alan Watts, undeniably one of the brightest lights of the twentieth century - a pioneering psychonaut, a Zen master, and lecturer on Indian and Chinese philosophy - on one of my favourite Internet repositories:

It is Watt's opening line from a collection of "Lectures and Essays" available here:

"Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap. Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination. For in a civilization equipped with immense technological power, the sense of alienation between man and nature leads to the use of technology in a hostile spirit---to the "conquest" of nature instead of intelligent co-operation with nature." (Alan Watts, from Psychedelics and Religious Experiences.) 

Watts held a Master's Degree in Theology, and Doctorate of Divinity.  He never practiced as the Church of England minister he had trained for, delving instead into the practice of Zen Buddhism and the study of Eastern Wisdom Traditions.

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