Patrick's Reviews > Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown

Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown by Alan W. Watts
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's review
Jul 27, 2007

it was amazing

Just finished this one and, not surprisingly, it was amazing. The chapter titled "What are we doing?" is by itself worthy of 5 stars. Talk about hitting the nail on the head! In about ten pages or so he effectively lays bare the entire root system of Western thought and, more importantly, details the problems and social ills that it brings about.

Watts makes you feel so comfortable with the subject matter. Although this book was no more than a collection of some scattered essays and journal entries it was still amazingly consistent and well written. Watts truly has a gift. He is by far one of my favorite writers.

His ability to so eloquently and simply explain Eastern thought is astounding. His strength is that although he thoroughly analyzes his subject, he avoids the over-intellectualization that is so prevalent in a lot of other works on Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism (some of that crap is so dense as to be completely unintelligible and one cant help but feel that to overexplain Taoist thought is to completely miss its unbelievably simple thrust and profoundly powerful message).

Although one may be able to challenge Watts' objectivity due to his obvious personal affinity for his subject, I actually find it to be much more convincing precisely because of this personal involvement (which is not a usual reaction for me). Its as though you are reading a promotion or, I hate to say it, a pitch for a way of thinking that has brought its promoter great satisfaction and peace and yet throughout his writing, Watts never gives off a sense of moral superiority or preachiness. There is a beautful honesty that puts me completely at ease and allows my mind to open up and relax, knowing that what is being explained to me is not something that can be sold or preached but only experienced. Maybe someday I will read something that will prove otherwise but in the meantime I am happy to say that I have found someone who can communicate not only on an intellectual and philosophical level but also on a spiritual level without triggering my almost knee-jerk skepticism and mistrust. With me that is a rare thing and I am truly excited about reading the rest of Watts' extensive catalog.
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