Alan Watts asks what is the cause of the illusion that the self is a separate ego, housed in a bag of skin, and which confronts a universe of physical objects that are alien to it. Rather a person's identity (their ego) binds them to the physical universe, creating a relationship with their environment and other people.
The separation of the self and the physical world leads to the misuse of technology and the attempt to violently subjugate man's natural environment, leading to its destruction.
Explaining man's role in the universe as a unique expression of the total universe, and interdependent on it, Alan Watts offers a new understanding of personal identity. It reveals the mystery of existence, presenting and alternative to the feelings of alienation that is prevalent in Western society, and a vision of how we can come to understand the cosmic self that is within every living thing.