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The Joyous Cosmology

Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness
Paperback Book
New World Library
May, 2013
$20.50 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

In describing the effects of mescaline, Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception literally opened a door. Watts walked through it with The Joyous Cosmology, his classic account of the levels of insight consciousness-changing drugs can facilitate “when accompanied with sustained philosophical reflection by a person who is in search, not of kicks, but of understanding.” Watts and peers including foreword authors Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (then Harvard professors) anticipated physicists recognizing the individual’s “inseparability from the rest of the world,” the work of new thinkers who combine scientific findings and spiritual experiences, and federally funded clinical trials utilizing psilocybin to treat a variety of conditions.

Alan Watts spells out in eloquent detail his drug-induced visionary moments. He is, of course, attempting the impossible—to describe in words (which always lie) that which is beyond words. But how well he can do it! —from the foreword by Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary

More than an artifact (it was first published in 1962), The Joyous Cosmology is both a riveting memoir of Watts’ personal experiments and a profound meditation on our perennial questions about the nature of existence and the existence of the sacred.

I recall the words of an ancient Tantric scripture: “As waves come with water and flames with fire, so the universal waves with us.” Gestures of the gesture, waves of the wave—leaves flowing into caterpillars, grass into cows, milk into babies, bodies into worms, earth into flowers, seeds into birds, quanta of energy into the iridescent or reverberating labyrinths of the brain...

Evening at last closes a day that seemed to have been going on since the world began... It’s warmth and radiance—“tongues of flame infolded”—are an efflorescence of love so endearing that I feel I have seen the heart of all hearts.

Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head, has written a new introduction to this classic.

Publisher’s Description: 

Alan Watts, student of Buddhism, Episcopalian minister, research fellow at Harvard, and the author of more than 20 books, died in 1973. His talks have been (reverently) animated by South Park and Book of Mormon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

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