I always tell the curious to start with Watts’ 1962 album “THIS IS IT” - it clears the deck and makes it easier for newcomers (to Alan Watts) to better absorb his many talks that came after. The compositions on “THIS IS IT” are like The Residents meet Cambodian Gamelan music meets Harry Partch on lots of espresso
PS - although the South Park dudes obviously put a lot of effort into their animations, they don’t come at all close to assisting or illuminating Watts’ grand work - unfortunately, it takes actual time and effort to listen to Watts to appreciate Watts.
Also, to me the only Watts book worth having is “The Joyous Cosmology” which is more a work of art (Watts’ “Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk” is also nice, as the words are paired with lovely photos and calligraphy) - Watts’ writing style pales in comparison to his verbal skills and his writing tends to come off more preachy and oddly-conservative than helpful. Many Pacifica Radio stations across the country still play Watts lectures.
That was wonderful.
Fantastic! Thanks for the heads up. I remember hearing about this but it must have slipped out of my thoughts. There was another neat project on Kickstarter using Watts’ recordings as a centerpiece called “Zen Dog”:
They’ve got updates as to the film’s status on the website.
Anyway, Watts’ lectures are phenomenal and a good deal can be found on YouTube. They are great in full on their own. But I also love some of the work people have done with animations and clip mashups of his lectures. Two users doing great work are “Tragedyand Hope” and “TheJourneyofPurpose.” A few of my recent faves:
And a couple of old favorites:
Crystal clear, thoughtful with a gentle touch and without any new-age superstitious baggage, only Alan Watts so far has helped me attain what I feel as truly valuable insight into the supreme truths contained in Eastern philosophies.
Among the vast treasure trove of Alan Watts videos on YouTube, I regard the first hour and a half of this lecture, which deals with Hinduism and Buddhism, as essential.
My introduction to Alan Watts was the 10 disc audiobook Out of Your Mind. I highly recommend it.
It helps that Alan Watts smoked and drank. It made him more human and easier to absorb. I do think the Watts estate charges too much for his past recordings and whatnot - though I hear the interweb has torrents that are not un-useful.
Also, don’t mix him up with Alan Watt.
I think Alan Watts has come as close as any human, to having his consciousness preserved posthumously, like the artificial personality constructs in Gibson’s Sprawl series. The topics he addresses in his many audio recordings, combined with his witty and articulate delivery, you can really get a feeling for the man, forty years after his death…I have yet to tire of listening to him, even after hearing such classic talks as “Reality, Art & Illusion”, for the umpteenth time.
A very straightforward explanation of how life really works. The last segment was especially wonderful. It made me feel good about being a college dropout of the good sort, rather than pursuing a goal in life.
Hey, I had no idea Matt & Trey were into Alan Watts… enough to make a vid at that!
And I’ve read a couple of his books, but I don’t remember spiky goo. That’s just great!
I think you must have read some books by Zen Roshi.
In talking about those fundamental, experiential aspects of mind, the perfectly concentrated up-welling of expression lends itself to the recombination of the personality through the mindfulness of the viewer.
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