Posts tagged Alan Watts

Alan Watts’ ‘dramatic model’ and the pursuit of peace

My latest academic publication - on the work of my favourite philosopher of all time: Alan Watts, and how his "dramatic model of the universe" can contribute to peace 🙂 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 Read more [...]

Commemorating 100 years of Alan Watts

Today marks the 100-year birthday of Alan Watts. While Watts’ "came out of this world" on 6 January 1915, and "returned to the world" in 1973 (far too young, at 58 years old), his legacy continues and expands in influence and appreciation. Alan Watts was a polymath of spirituality, religions, mysticism, philosophy, psychology, phenomenological, among his many disciplines. Though he tried to prevent labels, he was an expert in Zen Buddhism, Taoism, had a stint as an Episcopal clergyman, and Read more [...]

Retreat from the city: Watts’ mountain cabins and old ferry-boats

My partner, a sculptural artist, and I, with my love of writing, have been thinking about ways we might create some sort of retreat from the city. As I read Alan Watts' biographies I have been curiously uncovering his two most unusual abodes: a communal mountain retreat with Gary Snyder, Catharine A. MacKinnon, Elsa Gidlow and others at Druid Heights, and an old ferry-boat named SS Vallejo with artist Jean Varda and other party-goers in San Fransisco Bay. Druid Heights, Mount Tamalpais "What Read more [...]

A Wattsian Message of Happiness for 2015

In 1940, as the Second World War began its violence, a 25-year old Alan Watts published a book called The Meaning of Happiness. Its subtitle was the quest for freedom of the spirit in modern psychology and the wisdom of the East. This book shares the same essential message of  countless books, articles and lectures that followed: you are not only what is inside your "bag of skin", you are what is outside of it too. To kick off the new year, let me explain what this means and how it relates to Read more [...]

Boundaries between Self and World

"Your skin doesn't separate you from the world; it's a bridge through which the external world flows into you, and you flow into it." More Alan Watts? Yes, it's always a good time for more Alan Watts. Over and over and over, repeat. "The whole world is moving through you, all the cosmic rays, all the food you're eating, the stream of steaks and milk and eggs and everything is just flowing right through you." Have you ever thought about your self in this way? In goes oxygen, water, sunshine Read more [...]

Is colour real? Reality and rainbows.

‘Extensive studies of colour perception over several decades have made it clear that there are no colours in the external world, independent of the process of perception.’[1] Since I was a child I've wondered if what I see to be green is the same as what you see to be green. I wondered if I were to switch places with someone would I be horrified by everyone walking around with green faces or green hair. That's not the kind of un-real we are talking about here. I think we're safe to assume Read more [...]

Questions to ask

'The notions most worth questioning are just those which are most taken for granted.’ [1] I'm not sure who said "Truth cannot be told, it can only be found" (or something along those lines), but I believe there's something very important in this idea. Each of us must search for our own truth/s. When you find your truth, you cannot impart it to others. You can share your truth in the context of it being your truth, understanding that the person you are sharing it with may enjoy your perspective Read more [...]

Alan Watts Fan Club

I've met two people who also can't get enough Alan Watts, and tonight will be our first night of our small Alan Watts Fan Club! In preparation I thought it would be useful to post some thoughts and summaries of his work. Alan Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher best known for popularising Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. While he worked in many universities, including a fellowship at Harvard, giving lectures and writing books for many universities, he called himself "a philosophical Read more [...]

Dictators, Monarchs and Anarchy: on Earth and in Heaven

Have you ever noticed that the interior design of churches bears a striking resemblance to courts? From the pews to the preacher, and even their outfits! There is a curious similarity between our politics and our religion, and an even more curious similarity between our systems of power within human societies and the way we imagine power structures within our universe. "God" is still imagined by many people to be a king. This metaphor originated in the time when this image came to bear Read more [...]

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