Alan Watts on the Legitimacy of Words

“The poet is trying to describe what cannot be said. And he gets close, you know? He often really gives the illusion that he’s made it. And that’s a great thing, to be able to say what can’t be said. I am trying to express the mystical experience and it just can’t be done. And therefore everything I’m saying to you is a very elaborate deception. I’m weaving all kinds of intricate nonsense patterns which sound as if they’re about to make sense and they don’t really [laughter]. […]

The patterns that people make with words are just like the patterns of ferns, or of the marks on sea shells — they are a dance and they’re just as much of a legitimate form of life as flowers.”

Alan Watts

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