The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts
1 Season . 11 Episodes

Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) was a philosopher, writer, speaker, and expert in comparative religion – especially Eastern religious traditions. The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts video series was recorded in 1971 and 1972, and it explores the core philosophical themes that spawned over Watts’ career.

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The Essential Lectures of Alan Watts (Preview)

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.

Host: Alan Watts
Episode 1
28 mins
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!
Episode 2
29 mins
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.
Episode 3
29 mins
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.
Episode 4
29 mins
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.
Episode 5
29 mins
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!
Episode 6
20 mins
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.
Episode 7
30 mins
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.
Episode 8
29 mins
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!
Episode 9
29 mins
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.
Episode 10
28 mins
Alan Watts speaks about our most repressed sense. Here he introduces viewers to the intricacies of incense.
Episode 11
28 mins
Alan Watts points to humankind's attempts to straighten out a wiggly world as the root of our ecological crisis.