For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts

Profession: Philosopher
Nationality: American

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So what is discord at one level of your being is harmony at another level.

Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word water is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.

Doctors try to get rid of their patients - clergymen try to get them hooked on the medicine so that they will become addicts to the church.

On the other hand, others felt that the world was a state of probation where material goods were to be used in a spirit of stewardship, as loans from the Almighty, and where the main work of life is loving devotion to God and to man.

The world as described is included in but is not the same as the world as it is. As a way of contemplation, it is being aware of life without thinking about it, and then carrying this on even while one is thinking, so that thoughts are not confused with nature.

Real freedom cannot exist alongside false freedom, but the abandonment of false freedom looks as if it would leave you as good as dead. But this is the secret of Goethe's Stirb und werde, Die and come to life. For the job of compassion in a sick society only the dead need apply.

The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything.

Egg is ego, and bird is the liberated Self.

The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.

During World War II a friend of mine used to fly Chinese laborers over the Hump to work on the South end of the Burma Road. The long flight was, of course, ideal for gambling, but since there was not enough cash between them to make the game interesting, the stakes were that the final loser should jump off the plane. No parachute.

Like love, the light or guidance of truth that influences us exists only in living form, not in principles or rules or expectations or advice, however widely circulated.

Part of man's frustration is that he has become accustomed to expect language and thought to offer explanations which they cannot give.

We can't reimpose old myths on ourselves or believe in new ones made up out of a desire for comfort; therefore, the path of self-examination is the only one a person of conscience can reasonably follow.

Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.