Alan Watts – Being in the Way – Ep. 19 – Improbable and Magical: A Tribute To G.K. Chesterton

In this unique episode of Being in the Way, Alan Watts offers tribute to the life, humor, magic and ‘nonsense wisdom’ of writer, G. K. Chesterton.

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G.K. Chesterton & Wonder // God, Surprise, & the Universe

Paying tribute to the writer, G. K. Chesterton, Alan Watts begins by sharing the enormous influence that he had on his being—not so much his specific ideas, but his attitude towards life. From here, he dives into Chesterton’s view on the arrangement of the universe, God, surprise, and the magical.

“I read G.K. Chesterton’s works very carefully, and I have by osmosis imbibed an enormous amount of wisdom from him. Funny thing is, not so much in terms of specific ideas, as in basic attitude to life. This is a man, who above all virtues, has what I think is one of the greatest virtues which we don’t usually find catalogued—he had a sense of wonder.” – Alan Watts 

Alan explores meaning and insanity,’ on Ep. 14 of Being in the Way
Improbable and Magical // Nonsense & Humor (11:08)

Alan relays Chesterton’s gift of experiencing every event in the entire world as improbable and magical, and describes how Chesterton was able to see through the wise lens of nonsense and humor, ringing true the notion that the attitude of Heaven is not serious.

“Things like stones are subject to gravity—they are heavy, they are grave, they are serious. But in all things spiritual there is lightness, and therefore a kind of frivolity. The angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” – G.K. Chesterton 

Alan offers wisdom around play and purposelessness, on Ep. 8 of Being in the Way
Meaning, Music, & the Dance of God // Singing Hallelujah with the Angels (24:00)

Next, Alan illuminates Chesterton’s view of the world as inherently musical, as a dance. Through this lens of nonsense, he flips the ‘search for the meaning of life’ on its head, discussing how the deep wisdom is that there is no inherent meaning outside of itself, that this is all the dance and play of God. To close, Alan sheds light on how to sing “Hallelujah” with the angels.

Chesterton’s view on the world is an essentially musical view, a dancing view of the world in which the object of the creation is not some far-off divine event which is the goal, but the object of creation is the very musicality of it, the nonsense of it as it unfolds.” – Alan Watts

Alan dives into an illuminating thought experiment, ‘on being God,’ on Ep. 6 of Being in the Way