Alan Wilson Watts, a philosopher, author, and public speaker, did wonders for the minds of Western world

. Interpreting Eastern philosophies and translating the mystical into laymen terms, many now understand what was previously unimaginable. Born January 6 1915, Alan was raised in Kant, England. He attended King's School in Canterbury where he engaged in creative writing, fencing, and debating. At about 11 he sparked an interest in the Eastern tradition, reading philosophical novels about FuManchu, and other Chinese characters. While in England he worked for his father in an office setting and served on the committee of the World Congress of Faiths in London, an interfaith charity uniting people around the world. He continued to avidly study philosophy of all types, with a particular interest with that of the East. His first book, The Spirit of Zen was published in 1936 and a couple years later he made his way to the United States. Arriving in New York, he studied under the Zen Buddhist master Sokei-an Sasaki, but also worked with the Episcopal Church becoming an Anglican priest. In 1948 he earned a masters degree in Sacred Theology in Illinois, and a doctorate in Divinity from Vermont. During the early 50s Watts taught philosophy and psychology, and also served as a dean at the American Academy of Asian studies in San Francisco which became a graduate school. Yet he retired in 57 to continue to write and lecture. Watts directed and wrote the television series Eastern Wisdom, and Modern Life from 1959 to 1961. In the 60s Alan began experimenting with psychoactive substances such as LSD and mescaline, participating in studies led by notable doctors. He found the experiences helpful in his philosophy but let go of the drugs soon after he picked them up. Watts married three times, first to Eleanor Everett for 11 years, having 2 daughters with her, second wife Dorothy leaving five children behind with her. His third wife was Mary Jane Yates King and he was with her until death. Alan Watts wrote over 25 books and articles relating to Eastern and Western philosophies and religions. He lectured at colleges, universities, mental heath institutions, and medical schools, all over the world. No doubt he changed thought wherever he went, and brought peace to the heart of many. Unfortunately he was a heavy drinker, and he died of heart failure at 58.