The man who readily acknowledges what others have reproached him for--his ""certain charm and a big gift of gab""--also...

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IN MY OWN WAY: An Autobiography

The man who readily acknowledges what others have reproached him for--his ""certain charm and a big gift of gab""--also places himself as a philosopher, poet, Brahmin, ""disreputable epicurean"" and ""unrepentant sensualist"" (no stylite he) as well as a grandfather, father of seven and husband of three. Although you'll learn very little that is truly personal, other than he married Eleanor before he left England, ""for reasons which I still cannot understand."" The early chapters in which he discusses his childhood are the most precise, and decorative, in purely descriptive terms; they also lay the basis for his lifelong protest against the strictures of home and school and culture (""suet-pudding heroism"") which directed his search at an early age for other more esoteric ways via assorted metaphysical movers and shapers. Watts studied for the ministry here in America; then took the ""sunwise turn"" west, where having attempted to reconcile Buddhism and Christianity (and many kinds of psychotherapy--primarily Jungian--and mysticism), he has advocated self. centered experience and repudiated the reductive and repressive aspects of our society ("" 'The establishment' is a class of physical barbarians... in common business suits."") Gary Snyder and the Huxleys and Gerald Heard and Kerouac and Timothy Leafy all appear, to favorable effect. On rare occasions he is muzzy--i.e, when he compares his own work to ""reality seen and felt directly in a silence of words and mindings."" Mostly he asserts unsilently and easily and also not very profoundly his enjoyment of humor and magic and fantasy and pleasure, the untrammeled self and his ""own-way""-of life. And for some he's still the perdurable wizard of Om.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1972

ISBN: 1577315847

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972