How do you learn who you are? It's like waking up from a dream. After a while, one's experience begins to have, what I would call, a haven't-we-been-here-before-feeling. Going round, and round, and round. And then you begin wondering, “where am I going?” And to answer that question you have to try and find out what you want. And so I went into that very thoroughly. What do I want to happen? And, of course, as soon as you ask yourself that, you begin to fantasize. Our amazing technology is, of course, an expression of human desire. Desire for power, for what we want to achieve.
So I set myself to simply thinking through how far we could go. And so I soon found myself at a great push-button place, where I had a fantastic mechanism with buttons available for every conceivable thing I could wish. So I spent quite a bit of time playing with those. And science fiction wasn't in it! You know? You go “goinnng”, like that, and here is Cleopatra. And so on, you know, and then you press this button—symphonic music. In four-channel sound. Sixteen-channel sound. Anything! All possible pleasures are available. And then, you know—everybody's dream of the sultan in the palace—you suddenly notice there's a button labeled surprise.
You push that—and here we are.
—Alan Watts, Alan Watts Is God For 10 Minutes