Tagged: Alan Watts

Alan Watts on liberation from political stalking

The ‘left’ and the ‘right’ are being stalked and herded by masterful forces.

So easily triggered by news ‘reports’ from the mainstream media – a zone which has been flooded with military and intelligent officials since the Trump ‘anti-intel/anti-military’ narrative began – they hardly have the space to consider these are powerful factions involved in a discreet, but very public, turf war for the political soul of America.

The citizenry are being toyed with at such a merciless pace, and so expertly, the end game will surely be devastating.

But leaving geo-politics to the side, Alan Watts saw the answer to this occult-level manipulation – as he did for so many of our modern socio-political entrapments – rooted in the most ancient of iconographies.

yin_yang

I transcribed this bit of genius from a recording provided by Mark Watts (who runs the Watts Org and Archive). It is by far one of Watts’ most subversive. Just take in the first sentence.

Obviously no society can tolerate within its own borders the existence of a way of liberation, a way of seeing through its institutions without feeling that such a way constitutes a threat to law and order.

I mean really take it in.

And then read the whole brilliant thing:

Obviously no society can tolerate within its own borders the existence of a way of liberation, a way of seeing through its institutions without feeling that such a way constitutes a threat to law and order.

Anybody who sees through the institutions of society and sees them for, as it were, created fictions in the same way as a novel or a work of art is a creative fiction. Anybody who sees that, of course, could be regarded by the society is a potential menace.

In other words, you may put it in another way: one of the basic things which all social rules of convention conceal is what I would call the fundamental fellowship between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. As in the Chinese symbolism of the positive and the negative, the yang and the yin.

You know, you’ve seen that symbol of them together like two interlocked fishes.

760462_1

Well, the great game – I mean the whole pretense of most societies – is that these two fishes are involved in a battle. As the ‘up’ fish and the ‘down’ fish, the ‘good’ fish and the ‘bad’ fish.

And they’re out for killing.

And the white fish, one of these days, is going to slay the black fish.

But when you see into it clearly, you realize that the white fish and the black fish go together. They’re twins, they’re really not fighting each other, they’re dancing with each other.

That, you see though, is a difficult thing to realize in a set of rules in which ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are the basic and formally opposed terms. When it is explicit in a set of rules that ‘yes’ and ‘no’, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, are the fundamental principles, it is implicit but not explicit that there is this fundamental bondage or fellowship between the two.

But the theory is, you see, that if people find that out, they won’t play the game anymore.

I mean supposing a certain social group finds out that its enemy group which is supposed to fight is really symbiotic to him. That is to say the enemy group fosters the survival of the group by pruning its population.

Would never do to admit that.

Would never never do to admit – just as George Orwell pointed out in his fantasy of the future 1984 – that a dictatorial government has to have an enemy. And if there isn’t one, it has to invent one. And by this means …by having something to fight, you see… having something to compete against… the energy of society, to go on doing its job…

Is stirred up.

And what the Buddha or bodhisattva type of person fundamentally is, is one who has seen through that, who doesn’t have to be stirred up by hatred and fear and competition to go on with the game of life.

Does that resonate?

If it does, would it be possible to stave off the shrieking voices all around demanding you to consider the stakes and the necessity to choose and do what’s right, to consider:

What voting and candidates and parties actually mean

When they are facilitated by the order itself.

And, maybe, even further:

If you authentically want to be part of changing this country and this world in a way that fundamentally transforms the machinations of social control and creates the opportunity to birth something entirely new and evolutionary…

Then, to question in a non-reactionary way: whether your place belongs within or without that superstructure.

And if without, then what that would actually look like.

And who you would be in that new paradigm.

Alan Watts: “you are the whole system”

Child prodigy, rebel icon, zen guru, Alan Watts was the philosopher king of the 60s counter-culture. At the age of seventeen, he experienced a mystical state which revealed the unity of spiritual and material worlds. And so began one of the most storied interior quests of the twentieth century.

During Watts’ lifetime his particular brand of wisdom pierced the conformist, Cold War society to appeal to the youth being drafted into a system they’d long stopped believing in. Besides leaving an indelible mark on the leaders of the sixties social movements, his council was solicited by corporations and the Pentagon. In this sense, Alan Watts was the ultimate cultural double-agent: a mystical trickster, courted by the same institutional elites who were fighting to sustain a societal paradigm that Watts was encouraging his young devotees to reject and transcend. 

Alan-Watts-1

His enduring message asks us to see reality in a different way; to understand ourselves as components of a cosmic Self; the implications of which are different for every person whose life he has touched. Unfazed by his own shadow, and the one cast by the social order, he introduced a kind of commentary that was both ancient and ultra modern, and delivered it with an authenticity prized in today’s millennial culture.

I spent a lot of time with Watts’ writing and recordings recently and transcribed many of them into my journals.  Watts was without question, for me, one of the greatest mystical teachers of the 20th century.  Here’s one of my favorite Watt’s riffs from a talk in the 60s:

To control the world is not really what we want to do.

So if all explanations have as their function enabling us to control things, then maybe an explanation isn’t what we wanted. And furthermore, we can very simply see, what makes things complicated is explaining them. When somebody explains to you how a flower works… everybody stands fascinated. “How complicated that is. How clever God must have been to create that flower… to have all the complexity going.”

It isn’t complicated at all.

It’s only complicated when you start thinking about it. Because the vehicle of words is a very clumsy one. And when you try to talk about the processes of nature, what is complicated is not the processes of nature, but trying to put them into words.

That’s as complicated as trying to drink up the ocean with a fork. It takes forever.

So this intense complexity that we see in everything is created by our attempt to analyze it all. And so what we do, when we analyze, we use our eyes and ears as scalpels. And we dissect everything. And we have to put a label on every piece we chop off. And so we scalpelize and we get it right down to atoms…

There is no end to the minuteness that you can unveil through physical investigation. For the simple reason that the investigation itself is what is chopping things into tiny little pieces. And the sharper you can sharpen your knife, the finer you can cut it. And the knife of the intellect is very sharp indeed. And with the sophisticated instruments that we can now make, there’s probably no limit to it.

But in a way, all that is vain knowledge. In a way. Because you see… what it does is it gives the illusion that you’ve solved your problems. When have controlled certain things and you have solved certain problems. Practical problems. You say “fine, more of that please. Let’s go on solving problems.” And you create a world of people as we are today who are far more comfortable than the ones who lived in the 19th century.

But the problem is that we keep running into this thing that all constant stimulations of consciousness become unconscious. And when we take it as a matter of course to have certain comforts, then we switch the level on which we worry. When we solve a whole set of problems, people find new ones to worry about. And after a while you begin to get that haven’t we been here before feeling. Because we don’t realize we’re chasing our own tails, by a constant recurring process of not knowing who we are.

That is hide and seek.

That is the nature of what the Hindus call manvantara and the pralaya. The period of the manvatnara when the worlds are manifested and the period of the pralaya when the worlds are withdrawn from manifestation. In and out, in and out.

Ever more came out through the same door as in I went.

And the thing is to get to the point where you can see that you are doing that in every moment of your existence, with every tiny little atom of your body. You, now at this minute, you see, are the whole system. Of inning and outing.

In other words, you often think perhaps… maybe a long long time ahead I shall reach the point where I wake up from manifestation and overcome the world illusion and discover that I am the Supreme Reality behind all this diversification. My friends, there is no diversification. In other words, what you call diversification is your game. In the same way as you chop the thing and say it is made of pieces. Because you forget that you cut it.

970b4e52a924bac9a7ffb14ebe3d92a4