The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts

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The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts (1972)


Alan Wilson Watts (January 6, 1915 – November 16, 1973) was a philosopher, writer, speaker, and expert in comparative religion. He was in the forefront of popularizing Eastern religions and philosophies (especially Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism) and making them accessible for Western audiences. Watts wrote more than twenty-five books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, consciousness and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and to the teachings of Eastern as well as Western religions and philosophies.

The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts video series was recorded in 1971 above Muir Woods, California, and in 1972 aboard the ferryboat the SS Vallejo in Sausalito. Produced by his son Mark and directed by long-time archivist Henry Jacobs, the series explores core philosophical themes that spawned over Watts’ career.

Episode List

In common speech we often say that you can't get something for nothing. However here Alan Watts puts for the opposite idea that you can't have something without nothing!
28 minutes
E2 Ego
Alan Watts was concerned with the way we trap ourselves in words. He considered it unfortunate that we separate the “I” from reality and think of “I” in terms of how others see us or the image that we want to project.
30 minutes
As Alan Watts explains, “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts and loses touch with reality.” He covers basic mediation techniques, including listening without naming and mantras or sonic meditations.
30 minutes
E4 God
For many of us, the image of God as a gray-bearded omnipotent and omnipresent supreme being has become implausible, yet the common sense notions of divine authority surrounding that image persist.
29 minutes
Alan Watts further explores the Hindu dramatic view of the universe, in which God plays all of the parts – all the while pretending not to know who he/she/it is!
29 minutes
E6 Time
Everyone knows what time is, yet it is difficult to explain in words. On one hand we say I don't have enough time and yet we find ourselves perpetually in the present moment.
21 minutes
Alan Watts swirls an orange on a string and shoots an arrow high into the air before explaining why the art of living is being paid to play.
30 minutes
We tend to think of life as a linear happening with a definite beginning and a definite ending. However Eastern models look at life as a circular and recurring event because what happened once will always happen again.
30 minutes
Alan Watts speaks on our fascination with reproduction through media, and on the far out notion that human beings may just be one star's way of becoming another star!
29 minutes
After talking about growing up near London, Alan Watts demonstrates a variety of cultural garb and points out how each influences the way we live and feel.
29 minutes
Alan Watts speaks about our most repressed sense. Here he introduces viewers to the intricacies of incense.
29 minutes
Alan Watts points to humankind's attempts to straighten out a wiggly world as the root of our ecological crisis.
28 minutes

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cgillette, posted on February 2, 2016


natalie_duggan, posted on January 19, 2015

I've just joined from Australia and am extremely disappointed that so many videos are unavailable to me. Perhaps a warning should be given before joining that 50% of videos will be unavailable unless from the USA or Canada

fraghag, posted on May 26, 2014

Nothingness, Ego, Meditation, and God cannot be added to playlist. Please resolve?

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