“The mystical experience is nothing other than becoming aware of your true physical relationship to the universe, and you are amazed, thunderstruck by the feeling that underneath everything that goes on in this world, the fundamental thing is the state of unbelievable bliss.”
“It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”
Robert Oppenheimer, “Father” of the atomic bomb
“That’s what consists in being a [Zen] master. He’s not doing it because he wants to be superior, to put down other human beings. He’s doing it out of great compassion because he feels he knows something, which if you could find out, you would just be so happy and would want to give it to everybody else. But you can’t give it away because everybody’s got it, because what you’ve got to make them do is to see that they have it, that you don’t give it to them. And that’s the most difficult task. ”
This line at the end — it’s at the very end of Chapter 6 of his lecture book You’re It — as the words come out his voice goes introspective, somber.
This to me is what he felt he was making his life about. I’m endlessly grateful for people like him who didn’t stop to simply enjoy themselves when they realized the whole name of the game was to enjoy yourself.
(Watts was a great enjoyer of himself as well. No bones about it.)
“… fake, rascal, philosophical entertainer, ego inside a bag of skin. ”
How his friends remember him:
“He saw the true emptiness of all things. He taught us to be free. To see through the multiplicities and absurdities to the Great Universal Personality and Play. He gave us the Dharma Eye of a new age…”
“Wide Mind, Joyous Mind, Careful Loving Mind. For the true life is beyond life and death, origination, and extinction. We are with you in the many paths you opened for us…”
“Alan Watts was a philosopher, a poet, a calligrapher, a lover, a friend, a dharma reveler, a revealer, a great founder of the spirit for all of us…”
Alan Watts is one of those lights in my life. I want to learn more about him. I understand there’s some scandal in how he ended his days, but this recount of his life makes me wonder how much is true.
Dude was a badass mystic trickster.
“Chuang Tzu (Lao Tzu’s successor) put it this way: ‘people who speak of having good government without its correlative — misrule — or right without it’s correlative — wrong — do not understand the basic principles of the universe. One might just as well speak of having yang without yin. Such people must be either naves or fools.’ Of course, how would we know we were wise if there weren’t naves and fools? ”
“I think the problem is that oftentimes, the only people that are qualified to talk about something are people that, were they to talk about it, they’d be hypocrites. I don’t think I would know certain things if I hadn’t benefited from it. So I feel like it’s sort of my job to just pull the rug out from under something.”
Still sort of reeling from watching his “Make Happy” special on Netflix. This video came out showing the final song of the show… that line about giving the audience what he can’t give himself. Damn. Got me.
Here’s another quote from this article that I liked:
“I’ve always just been very confused about how comedy is supposed to be about honesty, how everyone would always say to me, ‘You got to be more honest up there,’ but honestly what I’m feeling is: this is strange. That’s the first thing I’m thinking. That me standing up here is super weird. This is all very weird and us pretending this isn’t weird, pretending like I’m your best friend, just a cool guy at a party getting up making jokes, is really strange.”
“We have to be brave enough to actually encounter our emotions, work with them in a real sense, feel their texture, the real quality of the emotions as they are. We would discover that emotion actually does not exist as it appears, but it contains much wisdom and open space. The problem is that we never experience emotions properly. We think that fighting and killing express anger, but these are another kind of escape, a way of releasing rather than actually experiencing emotion as it is. The basic nature of the emotions has not been felt properly.”
As a blogger, podcaster, marketer, wannabe comedian, entrepreneur person this was a really powerful thing to watch. Here’s the quote in text:
“I was born in 1990 and I was raised in America when it was a cult of self expression. And I was just taught, you know, express myself and have things to say and everyone will care about them. And I think everyone was taught that and most of us found out no one gives a shit what we think. So we flock to performers by the thousands cuz we’re the few who have found an audience. And then i’m supposed to get up here and say ‘follow your dreams’ as if this is a meritocracy? It is not, OK. I had a privileged life and I got lucky and I’m unhappy. They say it’s like the “me generation.” It’s not. The arrogance is taught, or it was cultivated. It’s self-conscious, that’s what it is; conscious of self. Social media is just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform. So the market said, ‘here, perform everything to each other all the time for no reason.’ It’s prison. It’s horrific. It is performer and audience melded together. What do we want more than to lay in our bed at the end of the day and just watch our life as a satisfied audience member. I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience you should do it. And now you’re thinking, ‘how the fuck are you gonna dig the show out of this weird hole?’”
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives… There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.”
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion—that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”
More from this:
“Ah, that he could pass again into his neutral, godlike independence! Who can thus lose all pledge and, having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable, must always engage the poet’s and the man’s regards. Of such an immortal youth the force would be felt. He would utter opinions on all passing affairs, which being seen to be not private but necessary, would sink like darts into the ear of men, and put them in fear.”