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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Alan Watts is the bizz-omb!
    #793764 - 08/03/02 07:48 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

What I am going to do here is try to paraphrase one particular theme (among many) in one of Alan Watts? books ?Nature, Man, and Woman.? I would just like to see what you guys think because it is scary how much I am digging this guy- I feel like I need to hear some counter views or something. Check it out:


He talks about, yugen, a subtle order of beauty which, unlike Western man, the Japanese appear to appreciate.

?To watch the sun sink behind a flower-clad hill, to wander on and on in a huge forest with no thought of return, to stand on the shore and gaze after a boat that goes hid by far-off islands, to ponder on the journey of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds. But [in Western man] there is a kind of brash mental healthiness ever ready to rush in and clean up the mystery, to find out just precisely where the wild geese have gone, what herbs the master is picking and where, and that sees the true face of a landscape only in the harsh light of the noonday sun. It is just this attitude which every traditional culture finds utterly insufferable in Western man, not just because it is tactless and unrefined, but because it is blind. It cannot tell the difference between the surface and the depth.?


He talks about how we are used to using a spotlight (instead of a floodlight) and a knife to perceive reality, metaphors for our tendency to chop up nature into little bits and then to analyze them. He says many of us go about?

?thinking that those who do not hasten in with bright lights and knives are deterred by a holy and superstitious fear.?

This way of looking at things does seem to be very popular in Western culture. Do we miss out by feeling we have to ?chop everything up? and analyze how the pieces fit back together?


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


Edited by buttonion (08/03/02 05:12 PM)


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Anonymous

Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: buttonion]
    #793879 - 08/03/02 08:52 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I have read Watts and found a few nuggets there. Here he seems to vibe with the mystical aspect of irrationality which is at odds with reason. I totally agree with his way of looking at a flower laden hill but I do not think that kind of aesthetic revere produces technology or products that are useful in any meaningful sense of the term. I see beauty all around me but when I am trying to produce a hybrid mushroom I use cold, hard logic and leave grokking the oneness to the forest and nature.

Then again, maybe they're just pissed off because we nuked 'em.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: buttonion]
    #793983 - 08/03/02 10:06 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I love Alan Watts' writings, yet he was a major alcoholic.

I love Dr. Lilly's writings, yet he was a major ketamine fiend.

I love the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's writings, yet he turned totally materialist (23 personal Rolls Royces and tons of automatic weapons at his commune).


Why do these mystic authors seem to have major insights into the universe / human mind, yet appear unable to apply that knowledge / wisdom to their own life?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleMystical_Craven
mentally illpsychonaught

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 439
Loc: Earth
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: buttonion]
    #793988 - 08/03/02 10:08 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I've never actually read any of his books, but I have read up on quite a bit of his ideas and what not on the internet...and I have to agree with you, this dude really knows his shit. I once downloaded a lecture of his entitled Vertigo at History's Edge that I found particularly enticing. I can't remember where I got it, but if you ever have a chance to hear it I'd highly recomend that you do.


--------------------


"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794153 - 08/03/02 11:37 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I always wondered where determinists found their hope... I guess Mr. Watts found his in the bottom of a bottle. I'll stick to free will.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Anonymous

Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794173 - 08/03/02 12:00 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Why do these mystic authors seem to have major insights into the universe / human mind, yet appear unable to apply that knowledge / wisdom to their own life?
An unfortunate side effect of enlightenment and ego loss?


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: ]
    #794322 - 08/03/02 01:59 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I would not say that his views are ?mystical?- this word has a fluffy, supernatural quality that isn?t quite accurate. Here, I think he is just saying that a stereotypical western trend in thinking is that in order to really know or experience something with some sort of finality, we feel we have to break it down into its component parts and figure out how it works, as if it was a machine once put together. We feel that this is somehow a better model of the ?truth of the matter.? Simple observation of nature involving not wondering ?how it is? but ?that it is? is not quite legitimate- passive, in the moment experiencing of the unfolding of nature (or the Tao).

I am not saying throw logical analysis out the window all together. But logical analysis is just a tool that helps humans understand nature, conforming to our step by step, linear way of perceiving. Without a doubt it is a useful tool, but although breaking "things" down into smaller "things", placing them into propositions and churning out conclusions is a useful methodology, it does not lead to any fundamental ?essence? of nature that I think some many with this mindset assume.


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794324 - 08/03/02 02:02 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I love Alan Watts' writings, yet he was a major alcoholic.


I don?t know much about that, but I do admit that it is kind of troubling. As far as I can tell, his philosophy does hold ground though.


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
Last seen: 23 days, 11 hours
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794326 - 08/03/02 02:05 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Why do these mystic authors seem to have major insights into the universe / human mind, yet appear unable to apply that knowledge / wisdom to their own life?

It is one thing to know the path, but quite a different thing to walk it.


--------------------
Just another spore in the wind.


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Invisiblebuttonion
Calmly Watching

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 303
Loc: Kansas
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Sclorch]
    #794349 - 08/03/02 02:19 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I always wondered where determinists found their hope... I guess Mr. Watts found his in the bottom of a bottle. I'll stick to free will.

I?m pretty sure he would not classify himself as a determinist. He?s kind of got this other view going on that is not determinism or free-will-ism(?). Libertarianism? Basically all things (nouns in our sentences) are relative (yes, this again). No such thing has inherent existence, but is just an arbitrary foreground against a background. And so the world isn?t viewed as a giant pool table with billiard balls shooting around everywhere (no things), but an organism that is constantly ?growing.? Causality doesn?t quite work from this perspective. I am just a particular foreground of this underlying whatever (I really like the word ?Tao? here). My actions are not caused by any thing or set of things, I?m just a crest of an oscillating wave of the Tao.

We?ll see how that flies


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Seuss]
    #794551 - 08/03/02 04:51 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

It is one thing to know the path, but quite a different thing to walk it.

I suppose that is one reason that I am cynical. Have yet to meet anyone that truly walks the path. In fact I don't even know if the path exists.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794733 - 08/03/02 07:34 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

The 'path' can only be seen by looking back. Each of us can put one foot in front of the other... that's the easy part. The hard part is when you bump into a wall. It is then that you must use your knowledge of the path behind you to decide which way to turn.

Of course, this is probably all bullshit 'skeptic' talk....


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #794858 - 08/03/02 09:56 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

"I love Alan Watts' writings, yet he was a major alcoholic.

I love Dr. Lilly's writings, yet he was a major ketamine fiend."

What are you talking about? He used ketamine for a year or so. He lived till he was 83. Is that what you call a "major ketamine fiend"? He studied dolphins for decades - this makes him more of a dolphin fiend than a ketamine fiend. You have certainly never read any of his writings either because you had no idea he had encountered aliens in both The scientist and Center of the cyclone. You liar.

People who have deep insights often have deep problems in life. It goes with the territory. Genius's often have to walk a lonely road - the world is mostly made up of people like you. It is much easier to go along with the herd than stand out from the crowd. Don't criticise something you could never understand. If you ever have the courage to stray from the herd you will understand why these people often lead troubled lives.

Strange you say you "love" them (even tho you've never read them). I have no doubt if either of them could post on this board you would be the first one coming out with your usual garbage "You are not making sense, it is not logical".


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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OfflineBlastrid
e l e m e n t al i t y
 User Gallery

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 3,323
Loc: The Desert
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Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: buttonion]
    #794884 - 08/03/02 10:35 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

great thread, i just started "way of zen" this week (thanks for the recommendation!), and although (since it's my introduction to eastern thought) it takes many re-readings to fully comprehend, Watts still presents everything very clearly and well-thought out.
So I must agree. Alan Watts is, in fact, the bizz-omb.
a quote from Way of Zen:

"Now the general tendency of the Western mind is to feel that we do not really understand what we cannot represent, what we canot communicate, by linear signs-by thinking. We cannot 'get it by feel', for some reason we do not trust and do not fully use the "peripheral vision" of our minds. We learn music, for ex., by restrictuing the whole range of tone and rhythm to a notation, which is incapable of representing Oriental music. The oriental musician has a rough notation which he ues only as a reminder of a melody. he learns the music, not by reading notes, but by listening to his teacher, getting the 'feel' of it."


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Blas'?trid (bl?s tr?d)
    n.  3rd generation derivitave of a combination of 'bastard' and 'blasted'.  Used as both an insult or an expletive.
    ex.  Blastrid!

Stereopattern  <--My music.


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OfflinePhilosoPossum
member

Registered: 02/17/00
Posts: 131
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Last seen: 12 years, 11 months
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Xlea321]
    #794955 - 08/04/02 01:16 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

ha! I almost wrote a "defence of philosophy" email like that last night, since Swami was dissin' Watts pretty bad there.

Swami man, chill out and read some Watts. If you agree not to be a surly bitch, the man could teach you a lot. Da Bomb, baby.

peace,
matt
------------------------
www.elftrance.com



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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: PhilosoPossum]
    #794980 - 08/04/02 02:05 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

since Swami was dissin' Watts pretty bad there.

I love Alan Watts' writings
Yup, that is certainly dissin'.

yet he was a major alcoholic.
Sorry that facts bother you. Better to deny and pretend apparently.

If you agree not to be a surly bitch...
If I chill out and read more Watts, can I learn how to misread and insult?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Xlea321]
    #794984 - 08/04/02 02:13 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

What are you talking about? He used ketamine for a year or so. He lived till he was 83. Is that what you call a "major ketamine fiend"?
I call mainlining ketamine every day for a length of time, a fiend - yes.

People who have deep insights often have deep problems in life. It goes with the territory.
Sounds like you agree with my post.

Don't criticise something you could never understand.
Please show me the line that criticizes...


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineNomad
Mad Robot

Registered: 04/30/02
Posts: 422
Last seen: 8 years, 11 months
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #795008 - 08/04/02 03:37 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

yet he was a major alcoholic.

I don't know how much of this statement is true, but assuming it is, may we just determine what exactly is the problem with being an alcoholic? It seems to me that the major problem is that alcoholics beat their wives and kill people in car accidents. Did Watts beat his wife or kill people in car accidents? If not, then may you just elaborate a bit on what exactly is wrong about being an alcoholic, or being a ketamine fiend? Or is this supposed to be the mainstream position that drugs and spirituality can't go together? If so, that's wrong. Psychoactive drugs are the reason why there is spirituality around in the first place. The buddhist precepts say that you should not get intoxicated - and you can, of course, take drugs and keep a clear mind. Zen buddhists, particularly, are known to have a very deep relationship to tea, and theobromine is a psychoactive drug just like anything else.

Why do these mystic authors seem to have major insights into the universe / human mind, yet appear unable to apply that knowledge / wisdom to their own life?

Just because you do not like the way they lived, it does not follow that they did not apply their wisdom to their life. And Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is boring, anyway.


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #795015 - 08/04/02 03:55 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

People who have deep insights often have deep problems in life. It goes with the territory.
Sounds like you agree with my post.

That'll be the day...

Well, you criticised Alan for being an "alcoholic" or Lilly for being a "fiend" (LOL). No reference to any other aspect of Alan's character, just that he was an "alcoholic".

As I said, people who see the sunset more beautifully than others often feel the pain more deeply too. It's kinda why you'll never write anything worth reading. Sure, you'll be able to sit on the sidelines and call Alan an "alcoholic" but you'll never produce anything of beauty either.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


Edited by Alex123 (08/04/02 04:00 AM)


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Alan Watts is the bizz-omb! [Re: Swami]
    #795018 - 08/04/02 03:59 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I call mainlining ketamine every day for a length of time, a fiend - yes.

So define a "fiend."

Lilly himself said K saved his life. Got him off cocaine, got his life back on track and gave him insights into life, aliens and the nature of existence that he learned from for the rest of his life and provided raw material for beautiful writings and lectures for decades afterwards. If all "fiends" are like that then we need more of them.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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General Interest >> Philosophy, Sociology & Psychology

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