About the Book

Does It Matter?

Does It Matter?

Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality
October 2007
Trade Paperback · 140 Pages
$14.95 U.S. · €10.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781577315858
New World Library


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Does It Matter? presents Alan Watts’ thoughts on the problem of humankind’s relationship to its environment. Here he argues that contemporary people confuse symbols with reality, preferring money to wealth and “eating the menu instead of the dinner.” Focusing on numbers, concepts, and technology, he says, makes us increasingly unconscious of nature and of our total dependence on air, water, plants, animals, insects, and bacteria. We have hallucinated the notion that the "external" world is a cluster of "objects" separate from ourselves, that we "encounter" it rather than come out of it. Consequently, he claims, humanity is fouling its own nest and is in imminent danger of self-obliteration. In one of his most provocative books, a philosopher known for his writings and teachings about mysticism and Eastern philosophy confronts the nitty-gritty problems of economics, technology, clothing, cooking, housing, and the rest of the world around us. First published in 1971, the book is especially timely today.

About the Author

Alan Watts was born in England in 1915 and received his early education at King’s School, Canterbury and the Buddhist Lodge in London, where he met D.T. Suzuki. He received a master’s degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Illinois and an honorary doctorate of divinity from the University of Vermont. He wrote his first book, The Spirit of Zen, at the age of twenty and went on to write over twenty other books including The Way of Zen, The Wisdom of Insecurity, and The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. In addition to being an acclaimed author and philosopher, Watts was also an Episcopalian minister, professor, graduate-school dean, and research fellow at Harvard University. In the early 1960s, he moved to California, and held seminars and lectures throughout the US. He died in Sausalito in 1973.