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Dillon Anderson Prof. Alexander Izrailevsky http://dande289.weebly.

com 11/21/2013

Picking a philosopher to write on for this assignment was a pretty easy task at hand for me. I have chosen to write about the philosophy of Alan Watts, (1915-1973). Watts has many audio lectures available and has written over 25 books, including The Way of Zen which I will merit on throughout this essay. Hours of his Audio lectures are available at the city library or online at AlanWatts.com Alan Watts was born in Great Britain in 1915, he is best known for taking south eastern Asian philosophy, interpreting, and popularizing it for the western culture. He moved to the U.S. in 1938 where he began Zen training in New York. He studied at Seaburg-Western Theological Seminary where he received his masters degree in theology. He then became an episcopal priest for a few years, he then left the church and joined the American Academy of Asian Studies. While volunteering for local radio broadcast shows through the San Francisco Bay Area, Watts gained a large group of followers. Throughout his career Watts helped propose that Buddhism could be a way of life, not based completely on religious values. Doing so helped him teach youth that were skeptical about organized western thought religion. He died in 1973 from a heart condition that was brought on through excessive drinking. He was cremated in a Buddhist temple, and his ashes were spread in a secret location on Mount Tamalpais. He was 58 years old. A myth is an image Watts believes that there is two basic images of the world, the ceramic model, and the fully automatic model.

1. The ceramic model is based on the book of genesis, with the idea that god is a technician, and the architect of the universe. God has a plan, and he fashions and builds the universe in accordance with that plan. Those who believe in this model are the subjects of a king. 2. The fully automatic model states that during the evolution of time western science was based on the idea that there is laws to nature. Logos- The love of god, and the love of nature (based on Watts). Eighteenth Century Western individuals started questioning if there was an architect of the universe. This was the beginning age of science, and Watts stated the business to science is to study the past to make better predictions to the future. And to make those hypothesiss factual, Watts says you cant have god in the picture. If you say everything happens because of god, then you cannot have true science. (Watts) Watts philosophy is based on the realization of the fully automatic model, and he gives much insight on the construct and why he believes in it. He believes that the existence of man, and everything in the world, is the subject of blind, unintelligent force and from this energy we have people. He uses the idea of the vast reaches of the cosmos, and the idea of evolution and the big bang to back up his point. Watts states that the idea of the big bang is not as crazy as it sounds. He compares it to a bottle of ink being thrown to a wall. The ink is more dense in the center where it was thrown, and it starts running down the wall and to the sides. The same way that stars, planets, and galaxies are moving through the universe. He goes on to explain that earth, humans, and the surrounding living objects are not the result of the big bang, but that we are still the continuous process of the big bang.

Watts also goes on to say that we live in a wiggly world, he believes that there is no such thing as things as hypocritical as that sounds, He questions people by what they mean by thing, he states that a thing is a noun, a part of speech that has no doing with the changing process of the universe. It is only a part of speech. Your chicken doesnt come bitten, the same way the world doesnt come thing. (Watts) I find this part of Watts philosophy confusing and hypocritical, at first, but I now have a better understanding of what he means by things. It can be compared to the astrophysicist Carl Sagan, where he states that everything that we use and everything that we eat and even ourselves are made of the same materials that the stars are made of. If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. (Sagan) And that is what Watts goes on to state that the so called things are to be merited to the universe as a whole, and a universe as one. As people we can be taken in the same way, he teaches that we are not ourselves, but everyone. If you believe you are just yourself inside your skin, you define yourself as a little place of the big bang way out in time and space. I believe that Watts idea of the world being divided into the ceramic model, and the fully automatic model is a perfect illustration of what is happening in our world today. Though science is not as old as the idea of organized religion, it is developing very fast since the 18th century. And in my opinion shows more factual evidence then religion. We are flukes, Alan states. Religion gifts people the safety of an afterlife, and also the idea of eternal life in heaven. Your life has a purpose and is important. Although Watts doesnt believe in the higher power king of organized religion, he still believes that we can follow those ideas in the fully automatic model.

Without the idea of feeling embarrassed due to the fact that god knows every single move that you make. You cant experience no experience Watts believes that life is a continuous dance, and states that we cant experience no experience. The major question of Watts philosophy is if you deny that religion exists then what happens when you die? Many people are afraid that when they die, they are going to be locked up in a dark room forever. And they absolutely have to undergo that. But Watts practices a yoga, and realization question. What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? he says its one of childrens main questions on their mind, and one of the greatest wonders of life. But if you think about it long enough, it will pose another question to you. What was it, to wake up after never having to go to sleep? That was when you were born. You cant experience nothing, so after you die you will have the same experience, or the same sort of experience that you have now. Only you dont need to remember the past experience, the same way you dont need to know how you work your thyroid gland. You just do it. You all know that I am I, You all know you are you, and whatsoever beings exist throughout all galaxies, it doesnt make any difference, you are all of them. Many people are skeptical on that idea. It does sound pretty extreme for what it is, but Watts backs up his proposal with the idea of if we were living in the ceramic model, it would be quite the coincidence that we would be living the mortal life now instead of thousands of years ago where we would either be living an eternal life in heaven, our eternal suffering in the depths of hell.

Alan Watts says that his philosophy after the images of the world requires you to wake up and have the realization that you are the universe as one. He says that because the main part of his philosophy is actually to live your life and to enjoy the dance. But because we live in a society of standards, where we work to set our goals and focus on success, we block the true reason of living a happy life. He states though before causing confusion, that it should not exclude people from being productive members of society. He believes in that fully. But is against the capitalistic society of the west and the system of schooling. He believes it is a hoax. We have a system of schooling that gives a completely different notion, it is all graded, and it sets the child up in a corridor to thrive off success. They spend years in grade school, to go onto college, then to go onto graduate school. And that whole time this great thing is coming ever more closer. And after that they go out into the world to find a career and to work, and work, and work. He states Then one day you will wake up about 40 years old and say my god, Ive arrived. But you dont feel much different than when you were in race to get here. And you feel let down because you feel there was a hoax, and there was a hoax, a dreadful hoax, they made you miss everything. (Watts) Watts believes that the western education system is designed to root out the bad as soon as possible to have the good ones be the future of a powerful capitalistic society. When really the greedy will use you to their advantage and dump you as soon as you become a threat. And your life and goals are wasted just in a blink of an eye. He also believes that a good amount of the homeless are the wise ones. If they are not on the streets due to an addiction taking hold, then they are there for their enjoyment. There are people who have spent their whole lives working to retire. But by the time they retire they are too old to do anything, and they are basically a vegetable. Because we cheated ourselves

the whole time. It was a musical thing and we were supposed to sing or dance while the music was being played. If we live our lives in enjoyment, and stress free we will find true happiness, and a true appreciation for life as a whole universe. And only with the realization that we are one and the same we will find true happiness throughout this world. Watts wants to express and have you contemplate frequently what you might think, do, or say when you are on your death bed. What would you change in your life if it came down to that? Make those daily changes so you may die peacefully and have no regrets. Alan Watts philosophy follows the ideas of the Buddha and of Lao Tzu, he has offered a more understandable up to date idea on their philosophy and has reached out to a western audience. I believe his philosophy has helped shape the generation that we live in today. The so called hipster could be the start to a generation of South Eastern Asian thought. I think this would help generate a society that is not biased to one another. And with that we could really shape the way the world would look at America and other westernized cultures. I believe in this philosophy to the fullest and can relate it to what I see in my life right now going through college and watching my parents get old. I believe in getting a higher education one hundred percent, but Im going to excel in what I am passionate about, which is music. I know it is a vast competitive industry, but as long as I am having fun, I am winning in this life. Alan Watts philosophy has helped me understand that money isnt everything. That we should live each day an enjoyable way. And to never fear the idea of death. Like Peter Pan said, Death would be an awfully big adventure! We should not live our lives fearing the next chapter, and the changes in life. We just need to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. My dad is pushing 60 and will be retiring within the next 4 years. He has always dreamed of getting back on his skies and going to

the resorts with us. But due to age, being overweight, and having bad knees he doesnt believe it is a possibility in his day and age. I can only imagine the thoughts that my dad is having in his latter days. I know he will live it the best he can because my dad is so positive old school hard ass. And I have accepted the idea that my dad will live another great life somewhere in the known or even unknown universe. And of course I as well, it is a peace of mind to accept and live your life under this philosophy.

Works Citied The Way of Zen. Published in the United States by Pantheon books, New York 1957 Out of your mind The audio archives of Alan Watts, Sounds True, Incorporated; Unabridged edition (June 2004)