Posted by: goatberg | March 6, 2008

Alan Watts: Conversation with Myself

You are just an idea, explains the great philosopher-poet Alan Watts in this talk.  “You’re only making a mess by trying to straighten things out,” he says, “you’re trying to straighten out a wiggly world, and no wonder you’re in trouble.”  As he strolls through the peaceful hills outside San Francisco he contemplates the illusory concept of self in the western mind, and ruminates over our alienation from nature and our proper place within it; one small part of a much larger whole.  When you’re looking at nature, he submits, you are in fact looking at yourself.  This is a wonderful little talk, about half an hour in four parts.  Part 1: 

 

 Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 

Also, here’s An Appreciation of Alan Watts by Dr. Ralph Metzner, who was a graduate student under Timothy Leary and Dick Alpert (now Ram Daas) at Harvard during the psilociben project.  It’s not a fabulous essay, but it’s full of excellent quotes from Watts like this one:

Life is basically a gesture, but no one, no thing is making it. There is no necessity for it to happen, and no necessity for it to go on happening. It just happens freely of itself. It’s a gesture of motion, of sound, of color…completely purposeless play – exuberance which is its own end. Basically there is the gesture. Time, space, and multiplicity are complications of it. There is no reason whatever to explain it, for explanations are just another form of complexity…of gestures gesturing…pain and suffering are simply extreme forms of play…there isn’t any substantial ego at all. The ego is a kind of flip, a knowing of knowing, a fearing of fearing. It’s a curlicue, an extra jazz to experiencee, a sort of double-take or reverberation, a dithering of consciousness which is the same as anxiety.” (Joyous Cosmology, p. 72).

And there’s plenty more Watts material on youtube

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