This book is a very personal collection of essays about subjects which were clearly close to Watts' heart.I have always enjoyed his work and as well aThis book is a very personal collection of essays about subjects which were clearly close to Watts' heart.I have always enjoyed his work and as well as feeling that his self proclaimed title of "spiritual entertainer well deserved the precision of his argument and the depth of his understanding of the human condition and an encyclopaedic knowledge have produced for me some life changing realisations as I have progressed along the path of practice.
The appeal of this collection is that it is very personal and delivered in a conversational way such that at times I had the sense of the great man was in my presence whispering just over my shoulder. I have always respected his intellect and his ability with language now I know that had I ever met him and spent time with him I would have liked him tremendously as a human being as well.
Not only entertaining but some of the essays here sum up the conclusions I have come to myself about being human and about some of the more ridiculous indulgences of my race, particularly religion; particularly the big three Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the balance, both individually and as a cartel, probably responsible for more destruction and human suffering than any other phenomenon in human history.Fantasy when presented as fact to be proselytized at the point of a sword if necessary, all have run rivers of blood and destroyed much that was good in the world in the name of faith in the fairy tale.
The substance of the value system of the west and the philosophical underpinnings of daily existence in western industrialized countries also comes in for some meticulous dis assembly. We ll we might consider the arguments for the prescience of Watts thought (many of these notes were written in the 70's)is now coming to a gloomy pass; and like lemmings our societies persist in their delusional drive towards the cliff face.
Although the tome of this book is a little too bellicose and gung ho for my taste, well that's just the American military. Otherwise it is an excellenAlthough the tome of this book is a little too bellicose and gung ho for my taste, well that's just the American military. Otherwise it is an excellent piece of work. As a combat veteran of actions in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1970's it all made perfect sense to me. Grossman deals with the standard human responses to deadly force and I ticked all the boxes. More importantly he talks in detail about how to deal with them. Diagnosed with ptsd and having had years of exposure to the tender mercies of the mental health profession I concur with his views that much of the problem is created by the media and the health professionals themselves. An approach to dealing with ptsd was something I had to work out for myself, having dismissed the approach that was being put to me as a nonsense. Much of what he recommends became part of my own box of tools. He talks common sense and this is the approach that should be taken when dealing with our veterans.
Grossman also spends a substantial part of the book raising the alarm about the effects violent video games and movies are having on our young people. The same thought occurred to me. I was trained for combat using pop up man shaped targets while I walked down a range. I know how that honed my skills, skills that without a doubt saved my life on more than one occasion. I have also seen the new training suite at the Infantry Centre in Australia, it IS just one big video game, far more effective than the training I went through. I agree totally with his conclusion that these games are training a generation to kill, and without feeling. I too see the hand of this industry in the plethora of school shooting now enveloping the US, that and the availability of guns are a toxic and lethal combination. The proof is there now. But as is always the case, it seems that big business, in this case the gaming industry and the NRA have the politicians in their pocket, so nothing happens and things just get worse.
All in all I'd say that this book should be required reading by anyone who has dealings with veterans, or anyone who trains military personnel in the use of deadly force. This together with his earlier boo "On Killing" make a great contribution to our understanding of the subject and an essential resource for everyone involved....more
A pretty poor effort really from such an accomplished story teller. It had the feel of something churned out to pay the tax bill. Almost bad enough toA pretty poor effort really from such an accomplished story teller. It had the feel of something churned out to pay the tax bill. Almost bad enough to be a Mills and Boon....more
This is a great book, it places the whole catstrophe of modern life lived through desire and the driven consumption directed at quenching it, in the cThis is a great book, it places the whole catstrophe of modern life lived through desire and the driven consumption directed at quenching it, in the context of the Buddhist world view. It offers much insight into human nature, into my own nature and how we relate to the stuff of our lives. I really enjoyed the read and it provided me with perpectives I would never have otherwise considered. A must read for anyone who is inclined towards conscious living. Wonderful...more