Alan Watts was an English born “philosopher/entertainer” as he like to call himself. He wrote prolifically and eloquently about our wrongheaded concept of ourselves as unique and separate individuals. This little quote pulled from his book “Does it Matter” is a good example of his profound, and for most, deeply unsettling views.
Civilization, comprising all the achievements of art and science, technology and industry, is the result of man’s invention and manipulation of symbols — of words, letters, numbers, formulas and concepts, and of such social institutions as universally accepted clocks and rulers, scales and timetables, schedules and laws. By these means, we measure, predict, and control the behavior of the human and natural worlds — and with such startling apparent success that the trick goes to our heads. All too easily, we confuse the world as we symbolize it with the world as it is.