The following lists the contents of Self and Society, Volume 43 Issue 4.
Each article can be downloaded as a PDF, but only if you are logged in as an AHP subscriber.
The table of contents for this issue can be downloaded as a PDF file.


Editorial:
Authors: Richard House, David Kalisch
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Introduction:
Special Theme Symposium: Alan Watts
Author: Peter J. Columbus
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Poetry:
Litany (for Alan Watts)
Author: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
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Article:
‘You can tell a yogi by his laugh’: reminiscences of Alan Watts’ last summer
Author: Kenneth S. Cohen
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Abstract:

In a long-distance race, you save your best effort for last. It seems that Alan Watts did the same, as he once told me that Taoism was his greatest love, and it became the subject of his last book, Tao: The Watercourse Way. This book remained, like his life, incomplete, or perhaps complete in its imperfection, like the beauty of a haiku poem that requires the mind of the reader to fill in the landscape. To explore and stimulate ideas for the book, Alan instituted a scholarship program for six students during that final summer of writing, and I was blessed to be a member of that group. We met at his wooden yurt-shaped library near Muir Woods five days a week for two months. This article is a personal record and poetic exploration of that idyllic summer and the context of his final attempt to express, or at least laugh with, the ineffable Tao.


Alan Watts and neurophenomenology
Author: Susan Gordon
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Abstract:

Alan Watts (1915–1973) was a religious philosopher and interpreter of Zen Buddhism and Indian and Chinese philosophy to the West. Francisco Varela (1946–2001) was a biologist, a neuroscientist, and practitioner-scholar of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Watts and Varela share common interest in Buddhist and phenomenological approaches to human experience. In this article, I explore intersections of Watts and Varela regarding their phenomenologically grounded radical empiricisms, particularly: (1) embodied cognition; and (2) the specious present. This exploration is prefaced by establishing Watts’ phenomenological place in Humanistic Psychology, and delineating Varela's neurophenomenological research agenda.


Square gnosis, beat eros: Alan Watts and the occultism of Aquarian religion
Author: Christopher W. Chase
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Abstract:

Alan Watts’ influence on religious discourse is beginning to be mapped by twenty-first-century scholars, but emphasis is mostly placed on his role as an interpreter of Eastern religion for the West. The present article considers Watts as a contributor of Western hermetic and occult tradition to contemporary American Paganism. Drawing on historical perceptions of occultism, Watts’ works and their use by subsequent Pagans, I locate Watts as a source for both gnostic realization and erotic transmutation through cosmic hierogamy. Drawing on Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutic theory, I contend that Watts’ commitment to gnostic and erotic themes enframed a ‘historically-effected consciousness’ undergirding the modern Aquarian movement in general and American Paganism in particular.


Alan Watts’ ‘dramatic model’ and the pursuit of peace
Author: Juliet Bennett
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Abstract:

This article explores the contribution of Alan Watts’ ‘dramatic model of the universe’ to the pursuit of peace. It locates Watts’ critique of dominant Western worldviews alongside process philosophers, ecologists and peace theorists who have made similar claims. It focuses on Watts’ proposition that understanding the ‘self’ to be a ‘skin-encapsulated ego’ is a root cause of many of humanity's biggest problems, not least the destruction of the environment. According to Watts, a more satisfying worldview understands the self to be a process, inseparable from the cosmological, evolutionary and ecological processes out of which it has emerged. Watts refers to this as a ‘dramatic’ model of the universe. He contrasts this with the ‘ceramic’ and ‘fully-automatic’ models, which he posits underlie most Western worldviews. The impact of these models is discussed in terms of social, ecological and inner peace.



Author: Peter J. Columbus
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Abstract:

This article is the first of a two-part retrospective reflection on Alan Watts’ 1961 book Psychotherapy East and West. Part I concerns 1961–1970, especially initial book reviews in academic journals. Watts’ text garnered early interest from psychologists and psychotherapists rather than from religionists, and Watts was praised for his writing style and challenging outlook. The book was concurrently scrutinizing and indicative of problematic predicaments in 1960s psychotherapy and American society by its lining up with values and aspirations of countercultural and human potential movements. Critical and affirmative commentaries tended to focus on Watts’ approach to ego transcendence. The 1960s ended with divided opinion about Watts and his work viewed from optimistic literary and skeptical Freudian vantage points.


Bibliography:
Alan Watts: a bibliographic resource
Author: Peter J. Columbus
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Article:
In praise of self-help
Author: Dina Glouberman
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Abstract:

In response to a recent BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed programme by sociologist Laurie Taylor which cast a critical eye on self-help books, this article offers an argument in support of self-help books at their best. Self-help books offer understanding, empathy, encouragement, tools to understand and manage life, and a sense of participation in a network of people in a similar situation. Further, there is a democratization of knowledge such that the psychotherapeutic, psychiatric and medical establishments are sharing wisdom and tools that can be used by individuals, or in peer learning. The effectiveness of integrating professional with self-help is discussed. This is a ‘both/and’ perspective of encouraging people to be aware of the social context that informs their life, but also supporting them in managing and transforming their own attitudes and choices, so that they can chart a course, including a social contribution, that is effective, peaceful and creative.


Torn fabric
Author: John Victor Roy
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WORKSHOP REVIEW:
The 2015 election so far: therapy, thinking and the political process
Author: Rachel Tribe
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The AHP chair's page
Author: Lucy Scurfield
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News Interchange
Author: Sissy Lykou
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Letter to the Editors
Author: Colin Lago
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Editorial:
Ethical Dialogue
Author: Andy Rogers
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