Monday, August 18, 2008

Like Mind

With the usual mysterious synchronising of like minds I started looking/listening at Alan Watts on You Tube for no apparent reason – and when I went to the Forums I found Pentaphobe had posted a link to these delightful animations accompanying brief recordings of Alan Watts.

I know when I peep into the world of Sinologists, and serious Zen folk, and all that – I may hear Watts described as some kind of dilettante, or populariser – but I know for myself that he changed my life with a couple of books. I would have thought myself irredeemably mad in my teens if I hadn’t come across Psychotherapy East and West, and would probably not have found the courage to drop out without The Wisdom of Insecurity, and he popped up every now and then (when taking acid I found his beautiful little book The Joyous Cosmology - Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness both enlightening and reassuring, and I found The Book - On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are absolutely hilarious because I had just experienced that weird insight of the world as some sort of godhead playing hide-and-seek with itself…and so on).

Then I didn’t read him for decades, although his ideas would often occur to me (re-occur to me) at critical moments. I enjoyed his autobiography In My Own Way (beautifully ambiguous title), and later, Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown.

Then I get the impulse to look him up again, knowing that (for instance) he made a walk-on appearance in Cosmic Trigger, etc. And not only do I find these half dozen animations just recently posted at the Maybe Logic Academy, but one refers to ‘the language of the birds’ which I happened to use as the last five words of a speed novel I wrote last year (in a month), and have currently found myself editing to publish (just for the hell of it) on Lulu.

Small and self-referential world.

You can easily YouTube 'Alan Watts' yourself (and you will find more) but I’ll offer you a taste with this Conversation With Myself from 1971, because I think it important you hear his voice, and see his face, to fully appreciate his communication (excellent though his words remain).

Enjoy - if you have half an hour to spare...


CirikloDilo said...

So - I should probably read the actual post before commenting - but I had to mention how much I enjoy the alignment of those video stills creating a whole picture!

Whether by chance (she likes you today) or intent - good job, sir :)

Toby said...

Aw shucks, just a coincidence ya know.

All I did - copy the code from YouTube, so I guess credit goes to Mark Watts - his eldest son...and (apparently) curator of the archive...

He pulls his hat over his eyes, lights an unfashionable cigarette just for the smoke effect in the beam of the spotlight, and croons into the mike...

"Luck be a lady tonight..."

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