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Sunni Coln Loses Himself In The Subtleties Of Love On Little Things – The FADER

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 4:42 am

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Airy Los Angeles singer Sunni Coln is touched by a love that goes beyond the surface in his new song, "Little Things." He coasts over the funky Kaytranada-produced track, crooning about his blossoming bond, and comparing the magnetic attraction between him and his muse to the power of the night sky's constellations. "It's the little things that matter, to me/ When you make me feel important/ When you make me feel like matter, pull me," he sings.

"When I first heard the chords on 'Little Things' I immediately grabbed my guitar and jammed out over it for about an hour,"Coln told The FADER over email. "A week later, l sat in my room with my electric guitar and began writing. The lyrics stem from mindfulness while living in this beautiful yet chaotic world. Around the time I wrote this song I dived pretty deep into Alan Watts and would only listen to him and play guitar."

He continued, "This quote by Alan Watts really stuck with me when I would get caught up into bullshit: 'I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.'

"Im having a conversation about love and appreciating the present moment, without fixating on the past or future. Its the little things in life that we as humans sometimes take for granted, and I decided to create a song that enables us to see through a conscious lens."

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Sunni Coln Loses Himself In The Subtleties Of Love On Little Things - The FADER

Written by simmons

August 13th, 2017 at 4:42 am

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Topsy-Turvy World Murcury Retrogrades in Virgo | The Free Weekly – The Free Weekly

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Mercury in Virgo turns (stationary) retrograde Saturday, August 12th, at 6pm (west coast time) and lasts three weeks (till September 5th). For five days, as September begins, Mercury retrograde back to Leo. Mercury retrogrades from 11 degrees Virgo back to 28 degrees Leo. Where are these degrees in everyones charts? That area of life is affected.

To understand how to use retrogrades, we use re words. Redo, review, re-visit, re-frame, re-think, re-examine, re-evaluate. Which we do with all ideas, thoughts, plans, studies and agendas created since Mercurys last retro, (April). We look back, re-assess, refine, while also resting and recuperating from a mind exhausted with too many facts.

Lets review our (non) actions during retrogrades. We dont create new plans or projects, purchase important items (cars, houses, appliances, clothes, gifts, etc.), contracts arent signed, agreements arent made, money isnt borrowed or loaned and we dont expect clear communication or many aware drivers. We know everythings overlooked, messages arent received, details are neglected, keys are misplaced, informations off-center, minds constantly change, thoughts turn inward, and questions arent answered. In other words, possible havoc everywhere with everyone.

During Mercury retro, we display Virgo tendencies, becoming internally analytical, mentally organized, discriminating, detailed and practical. However, none of this externalizes because our minds are inwardly reorganizing, evaluating and reflecting.

How do we respond? We consider Mercury retro an experiment everyone is participating in. Its a magical mystery time to observe with intelligence, knowledge and, above all, humor.

ARIES: Everything concerning daily life is re-evaluated. Review daily plans, surrounding environments and those around you on a daily basis. Assess in what way you want to shift, change and adapt to make life more orderly and pleasant. You realize you must think differently from now on how to bring forth more beauty and perfection. Careful communication is needed with coworkers. Also assess the state of your health, diet, exercise and how you awaken each day.

TAURUS; Interesting situations and communication may occur with lovers, children, and your own sense of creativity. Issues not yet resolved in relationships will reappear. Try to listen to the core message of all communications. Dont react or defend. These destroy. Instead, learn to listen carefully. The unresolved issues must be dealt with or there will be a dissolving and dissolution of important connections soon in the future. Assess everything with care.

GEMINI: Everything about home, family, early life, mother, real estate, things domestic, comes into focus and will need careful evaluation and assessments. Make no important decisions unless an emergency occurs. Remember everyone in the family is experiencing the present astrological transits. And everyone is experiencing them differently. Use your Gemini mind and heart to observe and discern the differences. You remember to be non-judgmental, non-critical and loving (your purpose).

CANCER: Cancer (sign of the crab) always circles a situation, entering the center from every direction. They do not walk a direct line to anything for they are always wary of prey. Thus, they have a very developed intuition. In the next three weeks that intuition will take on a different tone and focus. Care needs to be taken with communication, thinking, writing and driving. Something from the past reappears. Be aware of forgetfulness. In the meantime, you make home beautiful

LEO: Do not create any shifts or waves in your financial picture. No loans (given or applied for), for example. Take this time to review finances, create new budgets (to be applied after three weeks), assess the flow of money (whats coming in, whats going out), the hows and whys of these transactions and review if everything monetary is proceeding as planned. Include a review of precious metals, your values. And tithe.

VIRGO: Are you feeling somewhat distant and unable to communicate feelings? Are others saying youre difficult and distant? During this time, youre very internally focused, assessing all aspects of yourself who you are, why you are, what your values are, your everyday actions, who youre with and why. You review previous choices asking if they reflect your present values, wants, hopes and needs. Hold on. Things change within the month.

LIBRA: Thoughts, ideas, beliefs, decisions and issues not tended to for a long time appear in the present seeking attention and needing re-assessment. Much of your communication may not be heard or understood by others. Therefore, try to be very clear when communicating, speak slowly, listen well. Be non-judgmental, call forth compassion, retreat for a while. This retrograde for you is a time of deep quiet, prayer and understanding forgiveness.

SCORPIO: With friends and in groups all plans may be delayed, changed or not happen at all. Those close to you may seem distant (remember everyones internal during retrogrades), quiet or confused. Friends, places, ideas from the past make contact and you consider returning somewhere, to a place, a group or to friendships from long ago. Allow no heartache or anguish from the past to remain in your heart. Visualize, instead, warm tropical waters.

SAGITTARIUS: Notice if there is sensitivity (extra) around these subjects: money, partnerships, join resources/finances (something from the past?), speaking with superiors, thinking about career choices, communicating with co-workers, being misunderstood while in public, your life path, your future. It seems like every subject is sensitive. During Leo, we stand in the burning grounds, tested. Say over and over, Dont worry. Be happy. Know that youre perfect.

CAPRICORN: Rest a bit for the next four weeks, make no promises or important decisions, refrain from the following signing anything into permanence (it wont be), making travel plans, traveling long distances. Realize thinking, communications, interactions and especially (people) tending to your money (watch carefully) are internally focused so outer orderly realities wont make sense. It will be a crazy, mixed up, topsy-turvy time. Only you will know why. Dont be lonely. Or sad. Continue to do the Alan Watts meditation of laughing all the time.

AQUARIUS: You want to be practical with money and resources. After the retrograde travel would be good. For now, consider new goals concerning money and resources, reaffirm what is of value to you. Eliminate what is no longer useful or what you havent used, touched or looked at in the past several months. Use this retrograde time of Mercury in Virgo to research, order, organize and visualize new ways of living, building community and finding your like-minded companions. Consider all dreams as practical.

PISCES: Maintain clear a communication with partners, intimates and those close to you. All relationships may enter into a phase of mis-understanding, perhaps disappointments, criticisms, over-reactions, mixed messages and perhaps the need to call upon mediation for understanding to occur. Pisces also at this time must begin to assess the value of their own thoughts, decisions and needs and discriminate between the self and their beloveds. A difficult task, but necessary. A new home might be necessary.

Risa writer, teacher, mentor, counselor, astrologer, esotericist

Founder/director Esoteric & Astrological Studies & Research Institute



FB Risa DAngeles & Risas Esoteric Astrology

Note all FB posts are also on NLN under Daily Studies.

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Topsy-Turvy World Murcury Retrogrades in Virgo | The Free Weekly - The Free Weekly

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August 13th, 2017 at 4:42 am

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TRACES OF SELF-EXILE – Landscape Architecture Magazine

Posted: August 7, 2017 at 11:41 am

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A new biography of James Rose explores his difficult brilliance.

Words! Can we ever untangle them? reads James Roses opening salvo in Pencil Points. Appearing in the definitive journal of modernist design thought, the landscape designers 1939 essay rejects preconceived ideas of formal or informal design and makes the case for an organic and materials-based approachan argument approaching revelation at a time when Beaux-Arts methodologies held sway.

Reading the text today, Roses words cut through the decades, carrying with them equal doses of wit, creativity, and frustration with the status quo. An uncompromising designer from his time in and out of Harvard (he was expelled in 1937, later returned but never graduated) to his death in 1991, Rose is the subject of the latest volume of the Masters of Modern Landscape Design series published in association with the Library of American Landscape History and the University of Georgia Press. Its the first biography dedicated to the landscape architect, who although a prolific writer throughout his career and author of four of his own books, has yet to receive the kind of canonical recognition bestowed on his Harvard classmates Garrett Eckbo and Dan Kiley.

As director of the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Designa nonprofit located at Roses Ridgewood, New Jersey, homethe books author, Dean Cardasis, FASLA, is well-placed to untangle the competing forces of Roses career. Few of Roses works survive in their original form, and a spare eight are presented as illustrated case studiesa fraction of the more than 80 projects produced in his lifetime. Much of the book is devoted to advocating for Roses achievements while trying to account for the designers disillusionment with the culture of postwar landscape architecture and his eventual self-imposed exile to suburban New Jersey. Although these two threads are not in opposition, they do place a strain on the narrative, suggesting a portrait of a man whose increasing radicalism over the course of decadesfrom modernism to ad hoc material sensibilities to environmentalismcontributed to his own isolation. He was a rebels rebel from the start, an incisive critic destined to follow his own path, Cardasis says.

Early in the prologue for the book, Cardasis describes his first encounter with a 76-year-old Rose (just a couple years before his death). The passage is clearly loving, but also disconcerting. A disheveled and mismatched Rose steps out of a rusty, egg-yolk-colored 1970s VW van, and Cardasis writes: An incredibly long, almost wizard-like straw hat grazed his shoulders and shaded his face. As he looked up I could see he was wearing glasses, but one frame was empty, and the remaining one held a tinted sunglass lens. In that instant I had my first silent lesson from the iconoclastic modern landscape architect James Rose: Have no preconceptions.

A view nearly without boundaries from inside to out at Roses house in Ridgewood, New Jersey. From Progressive Architecture (1954).

Its from this point that a revolutionary must be nudged into the historical fold. The task isnt easy, though it is most successful early in Roses biography. Cardasis, unpacking Roses interest in modernism, finds parallels in the spare poetry of William Carlos Williams and the easy spatial flow of Rudolph Schindlers Kings Road house, which serves as a precedent for Roses home in Ridgewood. In both projects, the use of outdoor rooms and landscape features illustrates Roses maxim that landscape design falls somewhere between architecture and sculpture.

Indeed, Roses own writings referenced modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and the Russian constructivist Naum Gabo. Rose even wrote that a Georges Braque still life and Kurt Schwitterss Rubbish Construction are interesting suggestions for gardens. The book describes that fascination with collage and assemblage, tracking it through Roses work, where it appears initially in the model Rose made of his future home while in the navy, the materials scavenged from around his military station, or in the scrap metal fountains he improvised in the 1960s and 1970s. The author continues this line of argument to suggest Roses use of recycled railroad ties and asphaltused for the steps and terraces of the Averett Garden and House in Columbus, Georgia (1959)as an example of Roses affinity for found objects.

But later, as modernism gave way to countercultural influences, it is harder to pin Rose down. Cardasis chronicles the designers withdrawal from mainstream landscape architecture and, more generally, American culture, citing a growing aversion to the impact of postwar suburban development on the existing landscape as the cause. He quotes from Roses 1958 book Creative Gardens as evidence: The recipe is simple: first, spoil the land by slicing it in particles that will bring the most dollars, add any house that has sufficient selling gimmicks to each slice, and garnish with landscaping.

Perhaps as a respite, Rose began traveling regularly to Japan and eventually began practicing Zen Buddhism. He went to Japan in 1960, and that started a love affair with the country that went on for his whole life, Cardasis told me by phone. Rose found inspiration in the Eastern tradition, especially in the attitudes to the natural world.

Rose and a carpenter confer during roof garden construction in 1970. Courtesy James Rose Center.

Given Roses then-radical understanding of landscape architecture as an integration of spatial and natural conditions, the banal blanketing of suburban conventions across the United States would surely account for his retreat; however, Rose was not alone in his critique. Other writers, designers, and artists of the period shared his early environmentalist stirrings, so it is strange to find few references, especially given the wealth of parallels drawn in support of Roses embrace of modernism. The book makes brief and tantalizing allusion to significant countercultural figures: Timothy Leary (Rose apparently dropped LSD with him but wondered what the fuss was all about) and Alan Watts (Rose studied with him but then renounced Wattss teachings). It would seem that his cantankerous personality instigated isolation as much as his ideology.

The biography doesnt hide that Rose was gay, though the narrative doesnt put emphasis on the designers sexuality as an overt source of his outsiderness. As you know, Rose lived in a time when being gay was extremely difficult, and I can only imagine how that influenced his life and work, Cardasis said in an e-mail. Because of this and in deference to his expressed wishes not to belabor the fact, I did not explore the issue further than a simple reference to his sexuality in the book. More (or less), I thought, would be inappropriate. The result of this tact, however, is that the biography seems a bit closetedthe queerness in Roses methods left for others to explore at a later time.

Despite his iconoclasm, there were moments that suggest possible connections between Rose and other practitioners. For the 1960 issue of Progressive Architecture, the editors asked Rose, Lawrence Halprin, and Karl Linnthe environmentalist, activist, and pioneer of urban gardeningto review each others work. Roses Macht Garden and House in Baltimore from 1956 was subject to strong critique by the others for its expressiveness, particularly what was termed the incessant angled terraces. While Cardasis characterizes the grouping of designers as something the magazine cooked up, as if it were a bit of a stunt, there was clearly editorial intent here to make alignments between three landscape architects operating outside the conventional mien, with anticipatory ties to social and ecological movements. As Roses work reenters the canon, more research is needed to better situate it historically.

Eleanore Pettersen, the architect for the Paley house, brought Rose on to design the garden. The site was a rocky, sloping woodland. Drawn by R. Hruby (1994); Courtesy James Rose Center.

Did Rose deliberately push away his contemporaries and potential allies? Its likely. He was never shy about getting into arguments with clients, but he also had his defenders. In the 1970s and 1980s, he collaborated with the architect Eleanore Pettersen on some 30 projects. In addition to sharing his design sensibilities in terms of fluid relationships between inside and outside, she often acted as Roses advocate, especially when he put off clients and building officials. There seems to be more to explore here between the iconoclastic designer and his champion. Pettersen apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright and was the first woman architect to start her own practice in New Jersey in the early 1950s. One cant help but wonder why someone who probably had to fight against social norms throughout her career would willingly stand up for the volatile Rose. The answer in the biography points again to Roses possessing an irascible genius, the nature of which compelled others to be forbearing. This was a period of his practice when he would meditate in the morning and then go build improvisationally on site without drawings. Pettersen, interviewed in 1992, is quoted in the biography simply telling clients: It will be worth it.

Justification for that value is elusive and impressionistic. Because of that lack of documentation, the James Rose foundation has a limited record of projects to refer to for backup. Although he published regularly early in his career, writing essays and three books from the 1930s through the 1960s, Roses pace slowed afterward, and he published his last book, The Heavenly Environment: A Landscape Drama in Three Acts with a Backstage Interlude, in 1987. Ultimately, it is Roses own home, now the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design, that serves as an interpretative text for understanding the work: handmade, iterative, and as quixotic as its author, with courtyards, roof gardens, and a Zendo, each in various states of repair.

The biography puts forth a belief that understanding Roses later oeuvre comes mostly through understanding his singular methodology. Words are left behind to untangle. You can feel it when you go to the site, Cardasis says. As you move through, the garden seems as if it could go on forever. There was no plan as an approach; he just moved through, adjusting things to make people aware of their connectedness to things larger than themselves.

Mimi Zeiger is a critic and curator based in Los Angeles.

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TRACES OF SELF-EXILE - Landscape Architecture Magazine

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August 7th, 2017 at 11:41 am

Posted in Alan Watts

I’m Baiju Bhatt, Robinhood CEO, and This Is How I Work – Lifehacker

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Together with Vlad Tenev, second-generation American Baiju Bhatt founded the stock brokerage service Robinhood, which lets users trade public stocks from their mobile devices without paying a commission or maintaining a minimum balance. Their app has over 2 million users. Baiju started Robinhood, his third company with Vlad, when he was just 27. Heres how he works.

Location: Palo Alto, CACurrent gig: Robinhood Co-Founder and Co-CEOOne word that best describes how you work: Scientifically.Current mobile device: iPhone 6SCurrent computer: A 2013 MacBook Pro that is covered in stickers

Im an only child and the son of two immigrants; my parents moved to the United States when my father was accepted to a PhD program in theoretical physics at University of Huntsville Alabama. I grew up in a small townPoquoson, VAand went to school at Stanford, following in my dads footsteps to study physics. In college, I met Vlad Tenev, who at the time was a long-haired, string-bean kid with a quirky sense of humor and a penchant for late-night games of chess. The two of us would become the best of friends and go on to co-create two companies in New York together before starting Robinhood in California.

My ballpoint pen and my Moleskine notebook.

Its pretty simple: an external monitor and my laptop.

I run outside almost every day of the week. Ill usually step out during lunch for an hour-long jog around the neighborhoods of Palo Alto and through Stanford campus. It helps me clear my head and put all the things Ive been thinking about back together in creative ways. Also, by the time I get back, Im energetic and generally feeling awesome.

I use the Notes Mac app. Its simple and gets the job done!

I have always had strong willpower. Over the years, Ive overcome challenges when Ive set my mind to them, which has proven especially relevant as Ive created Robinhood and grown as a leader.

A personal but very important example comes from my childhood. As a kid, I had always struggled with being overweight. When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided I wanted to change that once and for all. That spring, I started exercising every single day, and by the time I started junior year, I had lost nearly 70 pounds. I looked and felt like a completely different person.

Lately Ive really liked the new Arcade Fire tracks, Everything Now and Creature Comfort. Im usually listening to music while I work, though mostly instrumental stuff since its difficult for me to hear lyrics and write or read at the same time. A few albums on heavy rotation are Moon Safari by Air & Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin. Oh, and for a fun fact: In college I played guitar in a jazz/funk band and I DJed under the moniker Thelonious Moustache.

Last week I read a graphic novel called Head Lopper which just has awesome artwork. Last month I took a trip to Japan and read The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. That was fantastic too.

I spend so much of my time either using technology or thinking about building technology, so I like to spend my free time on old-fashioned, analog activities. Two of my favorite ways to recharge include going for long walks in the forests behind Stanford and playing cards with my friends.

Im usually out of bed by 7AM. I like beating the Bay Area traffic by getting into the office early, plus I get at least an hour most mornings to work on personal projects before Im pulled into meetings.

Alexander Hamilton

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you havent found it yet, keep looking. Dont settle. As with all matters of the heart, youll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Dont settle. Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Nick.

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August 7th, 2017 at 11:41 am

Posted in Alan Watts

Rheo review: This video-streaming/sharing app surfaces videos based on your mood – TechHive

Posted: August 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm

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YouTube is monstrously huge, comparable in popularity to Google and Facebook. Often referred to as the Wild West for video content, Id say its more like an uncharted galaxy, expanding ever-outward as new material comes in. The developers behind Rheo, led by Apple and Facebook veteran Alan Cannistraro, offer a different take on video discovery.

Where YouTube can overwhelm you with choices, making it difficult to decide whats worth watching, Rheo presents videos that fit the mood youre in. It began in 2016 on AppleTV and is now available as an iOS and web app.

Once youve created an account and logged in, Rheo loads up its main video feed, which is called Rheo One. You can passively watch this feed, or you can choose a different one based on the mood youre in. Rheo counts seven moods: Laugh, Inform, Learn, Taste, Chill, Move, and Spark. Videos load automatically, and users can watch or skip each one. If you especially like a video, you can click boost (a heart icon), and push it up higher in the rotation for others to see. Boosted videos are also bookmarked, so you can easily find and watch them again. You can also share videos to Facebook or Twitter, or text videos to friends.

Use the icons at the top of the app to find videos that match your current mood.

You can also use your smartphones camera and microphone to record video responses and comments. Again, users collect their recorded responses into a reel that can be shared. You can search through other users and follow them, and they have the option to follow you back.

The first of the mood channels, Laugh (indicated by a laughing face icon), is, of course, comedy, and seems to lean toward current clips from late-night talk shows. Digging deeper, however, brings up various other shorts. After much skipping, I found some animated shorts and skits, including an Amy Schumer short from Comedy Central called Time Travel. The second channel, Inform (a radio tower), consists mainly of footage from news broadcasts (Reuters is a main source).

Third, we get Learn (a microscope), which is like it sounds: a channel full of short documentaries. Subjects explored upon first glance included gun control, cults, heaven and hell, ghosts, brain freeze, robots, Mexican drug cartels, and more. One helpful video shows how to spot a liar. A nice discovery was the profound little What If Money Didnt Matter? narrated by the late Alan Watts, sure to make viewers ruminate on their lives. (I gave it a boost.)

The fourth channel, Taste (a martini glass), popped up with a Vogue interview with Olivia Munn (73 Questions), which crashed, and moved on to a behind-the-scenes of a photo shoot at Vanity Fair. It sounded like this was going to be more of a food and drink channel, but it started heavy on fashion/lifestyle stuff. After skipping ahead a while, I did find the first foodie-friendly shorts, one about mooncake and another focused on the 90-something queen of Creole cooking. That one included some drool-inducing shots of gumbo and jambalaya.

Spark (a lightbulb), the fifth option, fit best with my personal tastes: short films. There was a preview for a beautiful-looking upcoming animated film; a touching 12-minute comedy-drama called Alls Fair, starring Thomas Middleditch; the weird, semi-controversialbut hilariousshort Baby Trashes Bar in Las Palmas; the pilot episode of Jenny Slates unsettling web series Catherine; and a short documentary on homosexuality in Mexico. As I was skipping through, one short film crashed and didnt work, but the majority did. This is the channel on which I felt like I could have spent the most time.

The 12-minute comedy-drama, Alls Fair, starring Thomas Middleditch, was one of my favorite finds on Rheo.

The sixth and seventh channels proved less interesting to me, but will certainly be interesting to others. Move (a winged shoe) offers what looks to be mostly skateboarding, surfing, skiing, and biking videos. And Chill (a record) offers a series of music videos, mostly low-key, electronic pop, and not much of it particularly chill to my ears. After much skipping, I finally found a beautiful little animated short called Light that seemed to be more meditative.

The video interface is smooth and intuitive, allowing the option to fullscreen or pause, though scrubbing back and forth is a little tricky; doing so tends to skip to the next video. Once a video gets hung up, there seems to be no way to get it to play again.

Like any social service, Rheo benefits from repeated and regular use. The service learns your tastes and will presents videos it thinks youll like in a personal feed. Theres also a setting that blocks or allows mature content (defaulting to the on position). And, of course, users can grow lists of friends and fellow users and watch each others comments. I declined to record my own video comments, but the ones I saw seemed to be troll-free, and for the most part contained kind remarks.

Youll want to use the Rheo smartphone/tablet app to get the full experience. The web app doesnt have nearly as many of the social features.

I noticed content from a handful of video services (specifically not YouTube), including Vimeo, Thrasher magazine, Vogue magazine, Vanity Fair magazine, and Reuters, and I assume that more providers will be coming. I wonder if there will be any main channels, other than Rheo One, to choose from in the future. (The app gives users the option to unfollow Rheo One, but nothing else to choose in its place.) It seems that the service could further diversify its content with more of these. (Imagine a main Rheo channel aimed at women, or kids, or... the possibilities are endless.)

Finally, the web version of Rheo is notably different from the app, and doesnt offer any of the social services. Viewers can watch, boost, and share videos, but they cant access their previously boosted videos, nor can they access any other users, or record comments.

My first time through Rheo, I found myself skipping more than watching, but I did find some worthwhile videos, and several that at least held my attention. And now that Ive tried all the subchannels, I know which ones will be my regular destinations (Laugh and Spark), and perhaps if the app learns that I want food and drink videos rather than fashion, Taste will become a favorite as well. If Rheo catches on, with more users, more boosted videos, and more sources, it could become a finely tuned video-watching machine.

Rheo review: This video-streaming/sharing app surfaces videos based on your mood - TechHive

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August 1st, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Blissed-Out, Hemp-Wearing Sean Spicer Assures Reince Priebus This The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Him – The Onion (satire)

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DELRAY BEACH, FLInviting the recently fired White House chief of staff to take a load off and embrace his newfound freedom, a blissed-out, hemp-wearing former press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly assured Reince Priebus on Monday that leaving the White House was the best thing that ever happened to him. Seriously, man, that place was toxicafter I got out of there, it was like this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, said the serene, baja-hoodie-clad former spokesman, offering Priebus some of his homemade kombucha and his copy of Alan Watts Become What You Are while assuring him that leaving the Trump administration would allow him to find a sense of tranquility and spiritual reconnection. I take long walks now. I read. I meditate. Remember how flustered I used to get? The other day, someone totally screwed up my lunch order, but I didnt even let it get to me. Trust me, youre going to look back on this as the day you rediscovered yourself. Welcome back, brother. At press time, Priebus was attending a silent meditation retreat in Bali, waiting for the echoes of Donald Trump shrieking at him to finally subside.

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Blissed-Out, Hemp-Wearing Sean Spicer Assures Reince Priebus This The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Him - The Onion (satire)

Written by simmons

August 1st, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Mass-Produced Identity – lareviewofbooks

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JULY 31, 2017

CON MEN IN JAPAN collectively pull in over $400 million a year. One of their most successful grifts is the Ore, Ore scam, in which the con man calls an elderly person, says, Its me, and then tells of some bind hes gotten himself into and needs money to get out of. The elderly person, duped into believing that the con man is a younger relative, sends cash through registered mail or transfers money into a bank account. The scam is so common that Japanese children, at school festivals, pass out Its not me flyers to elderly attendants, warning their grandparents about the dangers of Ore, Ore. Its even so ubiquitous that Japanese noir novelist Tomoyuki Hoshino is able to use it as the catalyst for his novel ME,which has recently been translated byCharles De Wolf.

ME begins with disaffected camera salesman Hitoshi Nagano eating lunch at a Tokyo McDonalds. A group of three salarymen stand nearby, one of whom bullies the other two. Hitoshi steals the bullys cell phone, more to be a jerk than to actually have the phone. When he gets back home, the phone rings and the screen tells Hitoshi that the call is from Mother. Hitoshi answers and pretends to be the bully, Daiki. He tells Mother hes had a car accident that led him to running up a bunch of debt. Now, hes in a tight spot. He convinces her to wire 900,000 (about $8,100) to Hitoshis bank account. She does so.

Hitoshi is immediately shaken up. Hes not a con man. He gave Mother his real bank account number. Hes set himself up to get caught. And this is when the unexpected begins to happen in the novel. Rather than charges being pressed, Mother shows up at Hitoshis apartment and starts treating him as if hes Daiki. Making matters worse, Hitoshi returns to his own parents home only to find a replacement Hitoshi living there. Hitoshis birth mother doesnt recognize her birth son and threatens to call the police. The replacement Hitoshi meets Hitoshi at the nearby McDonalds. They realize that theyre both MEs con men who have become so entangled in their own grifts that theyre losing themselves. Replacement Hitoshi has become Hitoshi. He tells the original Hitoshi, Theres nothing for you to do but become Daiki [] Youve got no alternative, have you?

The original Hitoshi is resistant, but the replacement Hitoshi explains, Its like company work there can be personnel changes, and my title may change too, but as long as operations run smoothly, life goes on. So, with seemingly no other options, Hitoshi begins to morph into Daiki. With no prompting, his co-workers at the big box store where he sells cameras begin to call him Daiki. He goes to Daikis high school reunion and visits Daikis sister. In both cases, hes accepted as Daiki. Even his memories blend together with Daikis memories. In the meantime, he meets other MEs who are going through similar transitions. As he loses his individuality and his identity disperses, he begins to become not a part of a community, exactly theres nothing communal about this group but a subculture of equally selfish, equally dispersed MEs. What follows is a Kafkaesque journey of a lonely narrator being absorbed by an impersonal system. For Kafka, these narrators engaged in futile battles against bureaucracy. For Hoshino, Hitoshi/Daiki is swept up in the mass-produced identities of consumer corporate culture.

His specific approach to identity also seems to have roots in Buddhist thought. Throughout the novel, Hitoshi/Daiki continually morphs. He takes on other names and other forms. He dies a few times, yet continues to live in ways that should be maddening but are not. The continual morphing works because theres always a ME narrating the story, and we always follow the ME through a sequence of events (the Japanese language doesnt distinguish between subject and object pronouns). The very structure of this approach to identity is tied to Zen. As Alan Watts explains in The Way of Zen, It is fundamental to every school of Buddhism that there is no ego, no enduring entity which is the constant subject of our changing experiences. Instead, we are constantly being reincarnated in the sense that the process of rebirth is from moment to moment, so that one is being reborn so long as one identifies himself with a continuing ego which reincarnates itself afresh at each moment in time. If we take this approach, it makes perfect sense that the novels narrator can start off as Hitoshi, become Daiki while still retaining aspects of Hitoshi even though there are new Hitoshis and old Daikis, and they can all become MEs who can hunt and kill each other, yet have an ego that continues in a new material form after death.

Hoshino seems to take this concept of identity for granted. ME doesnt exist to demonstrate Zen concepts of shifting identity. As Kenzabur e notes in the afterword, ME is no simplistic allegory. The weight of reality it creates, e argues, is able to surpass even Kb Abe, Japans great forerunner in the power of literary thought. es comparison of ME with Abe is not made lightly. Hoshinos concern with memory and the fluidity of memory harks back to Abes Kangaroo Notebook, which is an equally surreal tour through the dark side of urban Japan. The unnamed narrator of Kangaroo Notebook continues to lose his sense of self and his memories as he wanders through the novel. Like Hitoshi/Daiki, Abes narrator cant trust his memories. He feels them undergo a metamorphosis. Both narrators come to understand that, beyond names, our sense of identity comes from the memories we choose to cling to and the memories we choose to release. They also learn that the memories we keep and the ones we let go are likewise fluid. As Watts says, Mans identification with his idea of himself gives him a specious and precarious sense of permanence. For this idea is relatively fixed, being based upon carefully selected memories of his past, memories which have a preserved and fixed character. Watts suggests that its best to release these expectations of a static identity. Similarly, and each in different ways, the narrators in Kangaroo Notebook and ME are stripped of this sense of permanence.

Beyond the Buddhist concepts of identity and the comparisons to Abe, ME is not a particularly Japanese novel. It is set in Tokyo, but a Tokyo of box stores, meals at McDonalds or Yoshinoya Bowl, and apartments where single men in their 20s gather to drink beer and play with their smartphones. In other words, its a Tokyo thats interchangeable with any major industrialized city. It could just as well take place in Seattle or Edinburgh or Karachi. Its not cosmopolitan as much as it is multinational. For this reason, its helpful to examine Marxist concepts of identity in addition to the Buddhist ones. In particular, we can look to Louis Althussers concept of interpellation. For Althusser, power calls us a name (interpellates us), and thereby assigns us a set of behaviors. Think, for example of multinational corporations insistence on calling its customers consumers, as if customers are nothing more than giant mouths, stomachs, and anuses swallowing up goods, processing them, and leaving behind a trail of waste; as if the highest, most meaningful activity in life is to purchase, use up, and dispose of commodities. Think, further, how readily we accept this term and perform the role of a consumer. Think of how this interpellation encourages us to spend our free time shopping recreationally as if that activity is natural or fulfilling.

Althusser doesnt use the consumer example. Thats mine. Althusser keeps it more simple and general. When power interpellates in Althusser, it just hails you. It says, Hey, its you. Or, in Hoshino, Hey, its ME. When Hitoshi/Daiki first starts the Ore, Ore scam, he doesnt merely say, Its me he becomes a ME. He goes on to meet other MEs. They are similarly interpellated not only into con men, but also into selfish, isolated workers whose lives are geared toward the good of multinational corporations. They eat all their meals at McDonalds. They sell commodities. They work menial jobs for which they are undercompensated. They buy their own sales pitches. They allow themselves, their very identities, to become mass produced.

In his most honest moment, Hitoshi/Daiki sits alone in his apartment, trying to tune out the outside world. As soon as he engages with it, he thinks,

my troubles would begin in earnest. I would have to deal with parents enslaved to a program, incapable of knowing me as a flesh-and-blood human being, have chummy conversations with coworkers, and otherwise explain myself to other people. I would constantly have to be me, and that would drive me crazy. I cherished the time I had to myself, since it was only then that I could chill out and stop being me its impossible to truly switch off when other people are around.

Its interesting to note that, unlike most of us who see our real selves as the person we are when no one is around, Hitoshi/Daiki sees his real self as the performance he puts on in public. This is what makes him a ME. He has so fully embraced the mass-produced identity of consumer corporate culture that he knows no other self. This sets him up for, first, a fantasy of a world full of MEs, and, second, a journey into the nightmare of what a world full of MEs would really produce.

The novel follows this journey. Hoshino takes the story into wild, unexpected places. For as bizarre as the situations become, Hitoshi/Daikis first-person narrative keeps its hard-boiled tone. This tone is what makes ME special. Hoshino can keep the reader firmly rooted in Hitoshi/Daikis mind as he engages in horrifying situations. For example, at one point in the novel, he witnesses a group of men descend on and murder an innocent couple. Hitoshi/Daiki says, I felt the pressure to jump on the victims myself. If I participated, I might no longer be viewed as one apart, a marked man, and thus, by joining in the celebration of this event, be left alone. The reader might not agree with Hitoshi/Daikis actions, but she can at least understand his actions as consistent with the world he creates. She wont even bat an eye when Hitoshi/Daiki calls the murder a celebration. And when Hitoshi/Daiki then says, I gave in to the pressure. I took out my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, opened the blade, and gripped the handle, the reader is prepared to be swallowed into that dark, corrupt world.

Sean Carswell is the author, most recently, of The Metaphysical Ukelele. Hes a co-founder of Gorsky Press and Razorcake, and an assistant professor at CSU Channel Islands.

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Mass-Produced Identity - lareviewofbooks

Written by grays

August 1st, 2017 at 9:43 pm

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The Zen Teachings of Alan Watts: A Free Audio Archive of His …

Posted: May 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm

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If you watched Spike Jonzes new movie Her, you probably also spent a few subsequent hours listening to Alan Watts (19151973)interpreting Eastern thought. Late in that futuristic tale of the intersection between handheld computing, artificial intelligence, and pure romance, a philosophical club of self-aware operating systems band together to resurrect none other than the English Zen educator himself. Or rather, they put together a digital simulation of him, but one with a very convincing voice indeed.

While the characters in Her could actually converse with their Watts 2.0, well have to settle for listening to whatever words of wisdom on thought (or the freedom of it), meditation, consciousness, and the self (or the unreality of it) the original Watts, born 99 years ago this past Monday, left behind. Fortunately, having come to prominence at the same time as did both Americas interest in Zen and its alternative broadcast media, he left a great deal of them behind, recorded by such receptive outfits as Berkeleys KPFA-FM and San Francisco public television station KQED.

A noted live lecturer as well, Watts gave a great many talks since preserved and now made accessible in such places as the Youtube channel AlanWattsLectures, which contains a trove of exactly those. Here, weve embedded his series The Tao of Philosophy: Myth of Myself at the top, Man in Nature in the middle, and Coincidence of Opposites below. All three of them showcase his signature clarity, and he gets even more concrete in his 80-minute introduction to meditation and his 90-minute breakdown of the practice. But why put him in an ultramodern story like Her about a lonely man who falls in love with his brand new, seductively advanced operating system? The reason, as Jonze explains it to the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that one of the themes [Watts] writes a lot about is change, and where pain comes from, in terms of resisting change whether its in a relationship, or in life, or in society. Would he have enjoyed the film? While you wait for its future to arrive, at which point you can consult a regenerated Watts directly, feel free to listen closely to his teachings to prepare yourself to the extent, of course, that the self exists for whatever other changes may lie ahead.

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Colin Marshall hosts and producesNotebook on Cities and Cultureand writes essays on cities, Asia, film, literature, and aesthetics. Hes at work on a book about Los Angeles,A Los Angeles Primer. Followhim on Twitter at@colinmarshallor on hisbrand new Facebook page.

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The Zen Teachings of Alan Watts: A Free Audio Archive of His ...

Written by simmons

May 12th, 2016 at 11:45 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Alan Watts on how to live with presence – Brain Pickings

Posted: April 14, 2016 at 12:43 pm

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How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives, Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age. Indeed, my own New Years resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible?

This concept of presence is rooted in Eastern notions of mindfulness the ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience largely popularized in the West by British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915November 16, 1973), who also gave us this fantastic meditation on the life of purpose. In the altogether excellent 1951 volume The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (public library), Watts argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction. He writes:

If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are crying for the moon. We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.

What keeps us from happiness, Watts argues, is our inability to fully inhabit the present:

The primary consciousness, the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., everyone will die) that the future assumes a high degree of reality so high that the present loses its value.

But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements inferences, guesses, deductions it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances.

Watts argues that our primary mode of relinquishing presence is by leaving the body and retreating into the mind that ever-calculating, self-evaluating, seething cauldron of thoughts, predictions, anxieties, judgments, and incessant meta-experiences about experience itself. Writing more than half a century before our age of computers, touch-screens, and the quantified self, Watts admonishes:

The brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces.


The working inhabitants of a modern city are people who live inside a machine to be batted around by its wheels. They spend their days in activities which largely boil down to counting and measuring, living in a world of rationalized abstraction which has little relation to or harmony with the great biological rhythms and processes. As a matter of fact, mental activities of this kind can now be done far more efficiently by machines than by men so much so that in a not too distant future the human brain may be an obsolete mechanism for logical calculation. Already the human computer is widely displaced by mechanical and electrical computers of far greater speed and efficiency. If, then, mans principal asset and value is his brain and his ability to calculate, he will become an unsaleable commodity in an era when the mechanical operation of reasoning can be done more effectively by machines.


If we are to continue to live for the future, and to make the chief work of the mind prediction and calculation, man must eventually become a parasitic appendage to a mass of clockwork.

To be sure, Watts doesnt dismiss the mind as a worthless or fundamentally perilous human faculty. Rather, he insists that it if we let its unconscious wisdom unfold unhampered like, for instance, what takes place during the incubation stage of unconscious processing in the creative process it is our ally rather than our despot. It is only when we try to control it and turn it against itself that problems arise:

Working rightly, the brain is the highest form of instinctual wisdom. Thus it should work like the homing instinct of pigeons and the formation of the fetus in the womb without verbalizing the process or knowing how it does it. The self-conscious brain, like the self-conscious heart, is a disorder, and manifests itself in the acute feeling of separation between I and my experience. The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.

And yet the brain does writhe and whirl, producing our great human insecurity and existential anxiety amidst a universe of constant flux. (For, as Henry Miller memorably put it, It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.) Paradoxically, recognizing that the experience of presence is the only experience is also a reminder that our I doesnt exist beyond this present moment, that there is no permanent, static, and immutable self which can grant us any degree of security and certainty for the future and yet we continue to grasp for precisely that assurance of the future, which remains an abstraction. Our only chance for awakening from this vicious cycle, Watts argues, is bringing full awareness to our present experience something very different from judging it, evaluating it, or measuring it up against some arbitrary or abstract ideal. He writes:

There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the I, but it is just the feeling of being an isolated I which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.

To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.

He takes especial issue with the very notion of self-improvement something particularly prominent in the season of New Years resolutions and admonishes against the implication at its root:

I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good I who is going to improve the bad me. I, who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward me, and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently I will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make me behave so badly.

Happiness, he argues, isnt a matter of improving our experience, or even merely confronting it, but remaining present with it in the fullest possible sense:

To stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it. It is like the Persian story of the sage who came to the door of Heaven and knocked. From within the voice of God asked, Who is there and the sage answered, It is I. In this House, replied the voice, there is no room for thee and me. So the sage went away, and spent many years pondering over this answer in deep meditation. Returning a second time, the voice asked the same question, and again the sage answered, It is I. The door remained closed. After some years he returned for the third time, and, at his knocking, the voice once more demanded, Who is there? And the sage cried, It is thyself! The door was opened.

We dont actually realize that there is no security, Watts asserts, until we confront the myth of fixed selfhood and recognize that the solid I doesnt exist something modern psychology has termed the self illusion. And yet that is incredibly hard to do, for in the very act of this realization there is a realizing self. Watts illustrates this paradox beautifully:

While you are watching this present experience, are you aware of someone watching it? Can you find, in addition to the experience itself, an experiencer? Can you, at the same time, read this sentence and think about yourself reading it? You will find that, to think about yourself reading it, you must for a brief second stop reading. The first experience is reading. The second experience is the thought, I am reading. Can you find any thinker, who is thinking the thought, I am reading? In other words, when present experience is the thought, I am reading, can you think about yourself thinking this thought?

Once again, you must stop thinking just, I am reading. You pass to a third experience, which is the thought, I am thinking that I am reading. Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into the feeling that you think them all at once.


In each present experience you were only aware of that experience. You were never aware of being aware. You were never able to separate the thinker from the thought, the knower from the known. All you ever found was a new thought, a new experience.

What makes us unable to live with pure awareness, Watts points out, is the ball and chain of our memory and our warped relationship with time:

The notion of a separate thinker, of an I distinct from the experience, comes from memory and from the rapidity with which thought changes. It is like whirling a burning stick to give the illusion of a continuous circle of fire. If you imagine that memory is a direct knowledge of the past rather than a present experience, you get the illusion of knowing the past and the present at the same time. This suggests that there is something in you distinct from both the past and the present experiences. You reason, I know this present experience, and it is different from that past experience. If I can compare the two, and notice that experience has changed, I must be something constant and apart.

But, as a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience. When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is as impossible as trying to make your teeth bite themselves.


To understand this is to realize that life is entirely momentary, that there is neither permanence nor security, and that there is no I which can be protected.

And therein lies the crux of our human struggle:

The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the I out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate I or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, I am listening to this music, you are not listening.

The Wisdom of Insecurity is immeasurably wonderful existentially necessary, even in its entirety, and one of those books bound to stay with you for a lifetime.

Thanks, Ken

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Alan Watts on how to live with presence - Brain Pickings

Written by simmons

April 14th, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Alan Watts Podcast by Alan Watts – Free Podcast Download

Posted: November 4, 2015 at 3:44 am

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Alan Watts is one of the most widely read philosophers of the 20th century. In addition to his 28 books, Alan Watts delivered hundreds of public lectures and seminars the recordings of which have been preserved in the archives of the Electronic University, a non-profit organization dedicated to higher education. For the past two years Alans eldest son, Mark Watts has reviewed and cataloged these talks to prepare them for public broadcast. The Electronic University is now pleased to present the highlights of the spoken works of Alan Watts.

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Introduction to Buddhism 1 of 4 (Alan Watts)Author: Alan Watts Fri, Oct 30, 2015

Introduction to Buddhism 1 of 4

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Alan Watts Podcast by Alan Watts - Free Podcast Download

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November 4th, 2015 at 3:44 am

Posted in Alan Watts

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