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Alan Watts - Lectures (Deoxy Collection)

Alan Watts - Lectures (Deoxy Collection)

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Published by: galaxy5111 on Aug 20, 2010
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01/28/2013

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A l a n W a t t s
 Lectures and Essays
Alan Watts (1915-1973) who held both a master's degreein theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best known asan interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and Indianand Chinese philosophy in general. He authored morethan 20
excellent 
books on the philosophy andpsychology of religion, and lectured extensively, leavingbehind a vast audio archive. With characteristic lucidityand humor Watts unravels the most obscure ontologicaland epistemological knots with the greatest of ease.
Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap.
 Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a seriousand dangerous hallucination.
For in a civilization equipped with immensetechnological power, the sense of alienation between man and nature leads tothe use of technology in a hostile spirit---to the "conquest" of nature instead of intelligent co-operation with nature.
Alan Watts,
During his life Alan Watts spoke at length to the public through books, lecturesandnon-commercial radio broadcastson the ways and means to spiritualliberation. It is clear that he intended to influence the widest possible audiencewith this honorable message aimed at improving our understanding of theworld and our behavior towards it and each other. These materials are providedto you in that spirit of goodwill for non-profit academic research and spiritualteaching purposes."To extend the idea of 'personal property' to include teachingswhich have as their object the liberation of the human spirit fromselfish myopia, the awakening to states of consciousness whichapprehend the essential identity of the self and its transcendentessence, seems very contradictory if not simply wrong, maybeeven 'evil'."
 
 
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Lectures
These lectures are transcripts of recordings made fromnon-commercial radio broadcasts.They are fairly complete with some inevitable errors in spelling, grammar, and minor tapebreak omissions. Alan Watts was a higly-skilled lecturer so these files should not beconsidered acceptable substitutes for the original audio recordings. Unlessyou don'tunderstand englishor have hearing impairment, these files can only serve as the barestintroduction to his oral talent.
T
he subject of this seminar is "Self and Other," and this is therefore to be anexploration into the subject that interests me most, which is the problem of personal identity, man's relationship to the universe, and all the things that areconnected with that. It is for our culture at this time in history an extremelyurgent problem, because of our technological power. In known history, nobodyhas had such capacity for altering the universe than the people of the UnitedStates of America, and nobody has gone about it in such an agressive way.
I
find it a little difficult to say what the subject matter of this seminar is goingto be, because it's too fundamental to give it a title. I'm going to talk about whatthere is. Now the first thing that we have to do is to get our perspectives withsome background about the basic ideas that, as Westerners living today in theUnited States, influence our everyday common sense, our fundamental notionsabout what life is about. And there are historical origins for this whichinfluence us more strongly than most people realize. Ideas of the world whichare built into the very nature of the language we use, and of our ideas of logic,and of what makes sense altogether.
Part 1 and most of 2 (of 3) are also known as "What Is Reality?"
 
T
oday, serious heresy, and rather peculiarly in the United States, is a deviantstate of consciousness. Not so much deviant opinions as having a kind of experience which is different from "regular" experience. And as RonaldLang..has so well pointed out, we are taught what experiences are permissablein the same way we are taught what gestures, what manners, what behavior ispermissable and socially acceptable. And therefore, if a person has so-called"strange" experiences, and endeavors to communicate these experiences,because naturally one talks about what one feels, and endeavors tocommunicate these experiences to other people, he is looked at in a very oddway and asked "are you feeling all right?" Because people feel distinctlyuncomfortable when the realize they are in the presence of someone who isexperiencing the world in a rather different way from themselves. They call inquestion as to whether this person is indeed human. They look like a humanbeing but because the state of experience is so different you wonder whetherthey really are. And you get the kind of.. the same kind of queasy feeling insideas you would get if, for example, you were to encounter a very beautiful girl,very formally dressed, and you were introduced, and in order to shake handsshe removed her glove and you found in your hand the claw of a large bird.That would be spooky, wouldn't it?
T
his weekend seminar is devoted to Buddhism .. The center of Buddhism, theonly really important thing about Buddhism is the experience which they call'awakening.' Buddha is a title, and not a proper name. It means "awake".
I
t would be, of course, much better, if this occasion were celebrated with notalk at all, and if I addressed you in the manner of the ancient teachers of Zen, Ishould hit the microphone with my fan and leave. But I somehow have thefeeling that since you have contributed to the support of the Zen Center, inexpectation of learning something, a few words should be said, even though Iwarn you, that by explaining these things to you, I shall subject you to a veryserious hoax.
(aka Zen Bones)

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