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Alan Watts

Posted March 24, 2011 by EthanT in Open

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commented on March 30, 2011
by EthanT

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It seems like there are several threads out there that are pertinent to a few audio lectures of Alan Watts I listened to lately. I'd highly recommend them.

This one was an interesting and compelling description of just why the mindset within the scientific community is the way it is, and traces the cause back to it's origins. Really, it covers the entire Western mindset. Link to part I, there are six parts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhRWYFJ2pyI

This one is a contrast of Eastern and Western religions and covers the concept of Oneness, as discuessed in the Duality/NonDuality Thread, and others. Once again in 6 parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qSCaxaUyf8

Hope you all enjoy as much as I did ;-)

  • 4 Comments  
  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 30, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul,

    I agree with what you have to say here for the most part.

    Yes, part of my background is in physics, and many, many scientists are way too wrapped up in empiricism. In fact, some are wrapped up to the point, where I have heard them say, empiricism IS reality. As if, reality is constrained by what we can and cannot observe and experiment upon (not too mention the blinding leap of illogic it even takes to maintain that view!)

    I feel that there are objective, Universal truths out there, that can be used as a "framework" for discerning value in ideas, etc.. As shown by folks like Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, there are Truths (called mythic motifs by Campbell, Archetypes by Jung, etc) that are present and common throughout all the major (and minor) world religions. I believe that when you become familar with this universal ground common to all beliefs you are in a sense tapping into that "ultimate source of knowledge" that you mention. (You may not be directly experiencing it, but you are at least familar with it on a conceptual level.) It is something that is beyond just one culture, or one point in time, or one single peson, because you've had to go past all the superficial coverings, in order to recognize it through all cultures, all times and all people.

    I personally think the existence of these truths almost constitutes "proof" of "divine guidance", for lack of a better term, in the the evolution of humanity, but that's a whole 'nother topic ;-)

    Anyhow, I try to see if what people are saying go against this "framework" or with it. Alan Watts, to me, seems to be working with it, and indeed helps to gain better insight into it, and therefore I like what he has to say. In my mind, he's not really even saying anything new (at least not in the audio lectures below). He is just repeating truths that have been known since time immemorial but, in such an eloquent way and, in such a refined way, that it helps me (and others) see deeper into them, and perhaps get to the point of even experiencing them.

    I like what Meiser Eckhart had to say once. Something along the lines of, "The ultimate leave-taking is the leaving of God for God". The idea being that God is beyond concepts, language, etc. We humans usually take the highest we can think of, and attribute it to God. If we take that picture of God we form and stick to it, how can we grow past it. We often, in a sense, idolize, or pedastalize, our concepts of God, when, in reality, God is beyond any concept. So, I like that it seemed you were pointing out that the ultimate source of knowledge is beyond mere words, concepts?

  • Fallensoul Mar 29, 2011

    Hi Ethan T.

    Thank you for sharing this and your realizations from Gnostic Christianity. Seems like they have very similar ideas as the Eastern schools.

    Regarding Alan Watts, it comes down to one's source of knowledge. The mainstream scientists accept only empirical data as the truth. This has many limitations as reality is outside of what we can perceive with our senses. It is imperfect. Then one may say philosophers have a better idea of the truth because they use logic and reason to try to understand reality. The problem with this is that our minds and logic are also imperfect, so we may become confused by accepting one philosopher and then later someone defeats that idea and we have to accept another and it can go on like this. This seems to be the case with Alan, how much can your own mind fathom reality without the help of someone outside of the TSC? Its so limited.

    So the highest source of wisdom is gaining knowledge from a perfect source of knowledge. Now one may challenge that, but that challenge means one has to apply the teachings of that knowledge and judge for oneself. The idea is by accepting an authoritative source of knowledge, you go beyond the limitations of the mind and the senses and can actually make tangible, practical leaps in understanding reality which is far bigger and better than our limited minds and senses.

    I'll give you an example. According to Vedic wisdom in order to obtain the mystic power of seeing things from a distance, one has to meditate on the sun and the controller of the sun (Paramatma). When one is able to do this properly, one obtains this power. Now one may say, well thats just too far out to believe, but those who have obtained this power know the value of the knowledge which you couldn't have gained from the senses or mind of a philosopher or mainstream scientist. Ofcourse one has to find a teacher who is realized in that knowledge and learn from him/her. Your own attempts to understand transcendental knowledge will be self-limiting. Better to be under spiritual guidance.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 24, 2011

    repost so it is actually readable ;-)

    It seems like there are several threads out there that are pertinent to a few audio lectures of Alan Watts I listened to lately. I'd highly recommend them. This one was an interesting and compelling description of just why the mindset within the scientific community is the way it is, and traces the cause back to it's origins. Really, it covers the entire Western mindset. Link to part I, there are six parts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhRWYFJ2pyI

    This one is a contrast of Eastern and Western religions and covers the concept of Oneness, as discuessed in the Duality/NonDuality Thread, and others. Once again in 6 parts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qSCaxaUyf8

    Hope you all enjoy as much as I did ;-)

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 24, 2011

    wow, why does it take seperate paragraphs and combine it into one like that.

    Too bad we can't edit posts :(

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