Alan Watts illuminates the connections between Taoism and relativity, technology and human evolution, culture and seperation, Saints and rascals, you and not-you, as well as difference and unity.
Furthering outlining his father’s storied life and works, Mark shares perspective on Alan’s early literary successes, radio work, and ensuing lecture tours. Highlighting how Alan’s lively and expressive style of sharing dharma on the public stage quickly captivated audiences hungry for insight into the mystery, Mark introduces part-one of the talk that is the namesake of this podcast: Being in the Way.
“The principle of relativity is absolutely fundamental to an understanding of Taoist philosophy. That is to say, that wherever you are, whoever you are, and whatever you are: you’re in the middle.” – Alan Watts
Taoism & Relativity, Technology & Human Evolution
Exploring the innate tension which constitutes our feeling of ‘I-ness,’ ‘there-ness,’ of being here as a self-conscious human, Alan uncovers the fundamental connection between Taoism and relativity. Offering perspective on human evolution and technology, Alan illustrates how unique, outwardly distinct parts can fit together into a working, whole system.
“We realize we wouldn’t be healthy as a total organism unless there were all these wars, plots, and politics going on between the various cells in our blood. But from their point of view, they feel a little bit put out. We’re in the same situation, because very slowly the human beings on the surface of the planet are realizing themselves into a total planetary organism with an electronic nervous system.” – Alan Watts
For more Alan Watts elucidating the nuances of Taoism and relativity, join host, Mark Watts, on Ep. 1 of Being in the Way
Seperation & Culture, Saints & Rascals (15:25)
Taking a look at the human body and it’s dynamics, Alan describes how most of us are fighting the external world all the time, constantly trying to hold ourselves together. From this perspective of the learned illusion of seperation, Alan depicts how our culture and class insulates us from the realities of life, and therefore our innate oneness. Alan then elucidates the overlapping connection between Saints and rascals.
“We have been brought up to feel separate. We have been brought up to feel actually disjoined from the external world; although, that is pure mythology and doesn’t exist at all. You’re as much part of the external world as a whirlpool is part of a stream.” – Alan Watts
Rascality runs deep with Saints, as it does with Alan Watts – learn the ‘wisdom of the ridiculous,’ on Ep. 2 of Being in the Way
You & Not-You, Difference & Unity (28:10)
Are you breathing or is it breathing you? Speaking to the notion that every living being is a manifestation of everything that there is, Alan peels back the veil of seperation, lifting the pertinent illusion that what you define as ‘you’ and ‘not-you’ are separate things. Illuminating the innate relativity between ego and oneness—between yin & yang—Alan relays how difference and differentiation is actually the way in which unity is discovered.
“The feeling of ‘not-you’ and the feeling of ‘you’ are relative. They go together, and you can’t have the one without the other. And if you can’t have one without the other, that means there’s a secret conspiracy between the two – they are really the same, but pretending to be different. Because the whole idea is, if there wasn’t a difference, you wouldn’t know anything was happening.” – Alan Watts