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Nature, Man and Woman

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  825 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
A provocative and enduring work that reexamines humanity's place in the natural world -- and the spirit's relation to the flesh -- in the light of Chinese Taoism.

That human beings stand separate from a nature that must be controlled, that the mind is somehow superior to the body, and that all sexuality entails a seduction -- a danger and a problem-are all assumptions upon
ebook, 224 pages
Published July 11th 2012 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,493)
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Jan 07, 2008 Carrie added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Arun
Watts says: "We know that the fish swim in constant fear of their lives, that they hang motionless so as not to be seen, and dart into motion because they are just nerves, startled into a jump by the tiniest ghost of an alarm. We know that the 'love of nature' is a sentimental fascination with surface-that the gulls do not float in the sky for delight but in watchful hunger for fish, that the golden bees do not dream in the lilies but call as routinely for honey as collection agents for rent, an ...more
Nancy Bevilaqua
Aug 20, 2013 Nancy Bevilaqua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn--over too soon. Watts describes and explains the alternatives to our often utilitarian, puritanical, guilt-ridden (and anything but spiritual) ways of thinking about love-making, and considers that, contrary to popular opinion, sex, the natural world, and spirituality need not be mutually exclusive at all-he doesn't denounce the celibacy of the spiritual seeker, but he doesn't see it as the only way. Taoism and Zen have always appealed to me, but Watts has a way of breathing life into his i ...more
Aug 15, 2007 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't go wrong with Alan Watts. Can't go right either. Opposites implied and all.

Oct 30, 2008 Chaz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alan Watts is brilliant and at times mind spinning philosopher that often is beyond my intellectual grasp. In this work he questions our divorce, abuse, and distrust of the natural world.
He suggest that in time and technological expansion that we will be increasingly isolated and find ourselves at odds with ourselves and the environment. To state the obvious -- he got it.

Further on He delves into Eastern fertility practices and the Kundalani/serpent yoga experience.
A noteworthy quote:
"for the
Sep 09, 2008 Gusmenary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddhism isn't for everyone. I recently began working at a temple out west (in chicago) and so my interest in this subject has resurfaced. My family converted (as much as one can convert to a non-religion) to buddhism when I was about twelve. Church on sunday immediately ceased and we were all a lot happier. I didn't really start understanding the precepts of the middle way until, perhaps, high school. I had tried like many others to understand buddhism by trying to read D.T. Suzuki's Understand ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Watts writing is entertaining and educating. I'd like to say I understood everything in this book. But I didn't. And that's ok, because it is a book I'd happily reread.
Ernie Truman
Second only to Watts' "The Wisdom of Insecurity" this title goes more deeply into our disconnect with nature, and in the process with ourselves. The chapter that held my attention more than any other was Science and Nature. In this part of the book Watts goes deeply into the method whereby, through our interpretations, we impose certain laws of nature and thus reduce its spontaneity to small patterns that we mistake for the reality of nature. By our mistaken beliefs that thoughts can express so- ...more
Erik Graff
May 10, 2012 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: persons interested in Zen and Taoism
Recommended to Erik by: Anne-Lise Graff
Shelves: philosophy
This, along with The Book, were the two books Mother had by Alan Watts which I read at the end of high school and which got me interested enough to read other volumes by him as I encountered copies at used bookstores. These two volumes and the influence of a friend, Michael Miley, got me into the study of religion through the back door of Eastern mysticism despite strong prejudices against the whole concept of religion.
Nov 21, 2015 Adrian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fictiune
"Odata, cand copiii mei m-au intrebat ce este Dumnezeu, am raspuns ca Dumnezeu este interiorul cel mai adanc din fiecare lucru."

"cand omul nepotrivit foloseste mijloacele potrivite, mijloacele potrivite actioneaza nepotrivit."
Tom Ansell
Aug 28, 2016 Tom Ansell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Something like these words in this book caress so deeply, so profoundly, that it is difficult to describe how much of a gift it is.. Indeed, describing a perspective on the book may be missing the point of the book itself. Before opening this, I had a familiarity of some ideas about interdependant relationships and coherent, simultaneous expression of life in all its forms. In saying that, in attempting to conceive of Watts' message I felt more and more self-aware as being stuck and isolated in ...more
Sebastian Beca
Aug 07, 2015 Sebastian Beca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always good to read Watts. This book is a bit more philosophical and goes into comparing christianity with hindu and taoist traditions.
He also poses interesting questions on sexuality and how occidental civilization has come about to it's current belief systems.
Dec 31, 2015 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three stars only because the organiztion/clarity of this book could have been better. Content was excellent, a great compare and contrast piece about Eastern and Western spiritual views of nature.
Ross Cohen
Apr 23, 2016 Ross Cohen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful meditations from a Zen and Taoist philosopher on issues during the Free Love era. I would be interested to hear a feminist commentary, since Watts gives women privilege of place, but little agency.
Travis Hosgood
Aug 22, 2014 Travis Hosgood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He seems to take the best bits of Christianity, Buddhism, zen, Taoism, Vedanta and mold it into simple linguistics. Be my babies daddy Mr. watts.
Dec 24, 2014 Nadia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read it but did not understand 50%. At least. What did reach me was very eye opening.
Ohmtas Millett
Mar 29, 2016 Ohmtas Millett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of his best
Apr 03, 2008 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was just what I needed to read when I read it. I love when that happens. It reminded me of just what part of myself has been neglected thus far in my life.... instinct, feeling (as opposed to logical thinking) and helped me relax around 'knowing' and remind me I have an 'understanding' of a different sort when I can tune it in.

And written in a beautiful style, not at all academic or verbose, but beautiful and evocative and occasionally poetic in the same way as the subject he describe
J Ruth
Oct 30, 2011 J Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan Watts demands your mind and soul in this book. And I mean REALLY. Readers cannot be halfway there, almost awake, kinda into it. His brain is complex. His comprehension of the deeper layers of humanity and struggle with everything from religion to sexuality is delusion-shattering and beautiful. This is another book I have read but will always have sitting nearby with a page marked by notes. This is read and currently always reading. He's that gifted.
Alexandria Roberts
As a polemic to Christianity it's rather weak. But as a way to expand intellectual and spiritual horizons, it offers invaluable insight and new perspectives. While the initial chapters and arguments were subjective and narrow, the latter sections incorporated many different beliefs and principles to build a well-balanced structure for developments in my personal spiritual life.
Steve Woods
The master! This work is pretty dense and it takes some work but it is worth it. Watts develops some ideas that I have seen in his work before but here in great detail. The writings of this man have changed my life. He never ceases to amaze me with hi intellect and his grasp of the human condition! Great stuff
Apr 06, 2014 Brandyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Alan Watts; this book, however, feels a bit dated. So far, I'm not really getting much out of it that I don't either already agree with, and what I don't agree with, it's often because it seems to me a bit naïve and uninformed due to the era he was writing in. Time will tell as I work through it.
Jun 27, 2008 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could be strangled by scientific knowledge. This book describes truth, and the need to feel to know. This book gives me the courage to strive for life without inner conflict, but rest with the paradox that life wouldn't exist without contradictions.
Katalin Koda
Dec 29, 2008 Katalin Koda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite authors, his writing is pure poetry; the abstract of the East captured by the English language, something that remains effortless in his writing, effortless as Zazen, something that is incredibly difficult.
This book really did it for me...had me going for quite awhile. It still flavors any physics, evolution, or economics that I read.

Follwed it up with Aikido and the Harmony of Nature and I'd say that was good choice.
Jun 08, 2013 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book started me on an authentic seeker path. Though I eventually left Alan Watts behind, I am so grateful for this little book. Whatever truly speaks to you, go with it.
Alicia Grega
pulling from thorough and broad research, digs deep and eloquently summarizes that which makes so much sense it's got to be true - exactly what we've come to expect from Watts.
This man abounds with theories on the historical meanderings of the roles of men and women and nature... and religion. It gets preachy, just to warn you.
Ben Patterson
Worth a read, though Watts' thinking is less clear and his reasoning weaker. There are a lot of ideas here, some good and some more questionable.
Rob Springer
This may have been the last Watts I read. If so, it was the one where he took Oneness to an extreme where good and evil seemed to meet.
May 19, 2013 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
absolutely amazing insights into human nature. just he sucks at writing and never really gets to the point.
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Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer and speaker, who held both a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity. Famous for his research on comparative religion, he was best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher con ...more
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“Thought and science are therefore raising problems which their terms of study can never answer, many of which are doubtless problems only for thought. The trisection of an angle is similarly an insoluble problem only for compass and straight-edge construction, and Achilles cannot overtake the tortoise so long as their progress is considered piecemeal, endlessly having the distance between them. However, as it is not Achilles but the method of measurement which fails to catch up with the tortoise, so it is not man but his method of thought which fails to find fulfillment in experience.” 7 likes
“The answer to the problem of suffering is not away from the problem but in it. The inevitability of pain will not be met by deadening sensitivity but by increasing it, by exploring and feeling out the manner in which the natural organism itself wants to react and which its innate wisdom has provided.” 4 likes
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