Page 11«..10111213..2030..»

Archive for the ‘Alan Watts’ Category

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

Posted: August 7, 2017 at 11:41 am

without comments

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.

Read more:
I'm Baiju Bhatt, Robinhood CEO, and This Is How I Work - Lifehacker

Written by grays

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

without comments

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

Written by admin

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)

Posted: at 9:43 pm

without comments

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.

Read the rest here:
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

Posted: at 9:43 pm

without comments

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.

See the original post here:
Mass-Produced Identity - lareviewofbooks

Written by grays

August 1st, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

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

Posted: May 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm

without comments

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.

Related Content:

What If Money Was No Object?: Thoughts on the Art of Living from Eastern Philosopher Alan Watts

Zen Master Alan Watts Discovers the Secrets of Aldous Huxley and His Art of Dying

Alan Watts On Why Our Minds And Technology Cant Grasp Reality

Alan Watts and His Zen Wisdom Animated by the Creators of South Park

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.

Read more:
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

without comments

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

See the original post:
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

without comments

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.

If this Podcast isn't working, please let us know by emailing us and we will try to fix it ASAP:

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

Introduction to Buddhism 1 of 4

Download File - 3.6 MB (Click to Play on Mobile Device) Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)

Go here to read the rest:
Alan Watts Podcast by Alan Watts - Free Podcast Download

Written by admin

November 4th, 2015 at 3:44 am

Posted in Alan Watts

Alan Watts Wikipedia

Posted: October 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm

without comments

Alan Wilson Watts, (6 januari 1915 16 november 1973) var en brittisk filosof, frfattare och talare, mest knd som en introduktr av sterlndsk filosofi fr en vsterlndsk publik. Under sin livstid uppndde han gurustatus - trots att han kraftfullt avsade sig alla sdana ansprk - och hann skriva flera bcker om sterlndskt tnkande.

Watts skrev mer n 25 bcker och artiklar om mnen som r viktiga fr den st -och vsterlndska religionen, dr The Way of Zen (1957) anses som en av de frsta storsljande bckerna om zen och buddhism. I Psychotherapy East and West (1961) freslog Watts att buddhismen skulle ses som en form av psykoterapi och inte bara en religion. Liksom Aldous Huxley fre honom, utforskade han det mnskliga medvetandet i uppsatsen "The New Alchemy" (1958), och i boken, The Joyous Cosmology (1962).

Mot slutet av sitt liv, pendlade han mellan att bo p en husbt i Sausalito och en stuga p berget Tamalpais. Hans arv har hllits vid liv av hans son, Mark Watts, och genom mnga av hans inspelade samtal och frelsningar som har hittat nytt liv p Internet.

Watts vxte upp med sina frldrar i byn Chislehurst, Kent, dr moderns familj var religis.[1] Alan lste ofta sagobcker, och fick tidigt ett intresse i fabler och romantiska berttelser om den mystiska Fjrran stern.[2] Hans mor fick ofta besk av missionrer, som efter deras resor till Kina hade med sig landskapsmlningar och broderier. Dessa konstverk betonade det deltagande frhllandet mellan mnniskan i naturen, ett tema som hade stor inverkan p Watts och stod fast genom hela hans liv.

Watts sg sig sjlv som fantasifull, egensinnig, och pratsam. Han skickades i unga r till internatskolor, dr bde de religisa och akademiska utbildningarna hade ett kristet fokus. Av denna religisa utbildning anmrkte han "Under hela min skolgng blev min religisa indoktrinering bister och grtmild ..."[3] Under en semester i tonren trffade han fransmannen Francis Croshaw, en frmgen epikur med ett starkt intresse i buddhismen, som tog med Watts p en resa genom Frankrike. Det drjde inte lnge innan Watts knde sig tvingad att vlja mellan den anglikanska kristendomen han utsatts fr, och buddhismen han hade lst om i olika bibliotek. Han valde buddhismen och skte medlemskap i Londons buddhistiska sllskap. Han blev som 16-ring organisationens sekreterare (1931), och underskte flera stilar av meditation under dessa r.

Efter gymnasiet sysselsatte sig Watts med diverse olika arbeten, men fortsatte ocks lsa mycket filosofi, historia, psykologi, psykiatri och sterlndsk visdom. Han tillbringade mycket av fritiden p den buddhistiska lodgen, vilket gav Watts ett stort antal mjligheter till personlig utveckling. r 1936, 21 r gammal, deltog han i "World Congress of Faiths" vid University of London och fick trffa D.T. Suzuki, som var en uppskattad forskare i Zen Buddhism. Dessa diskussioner och personliga mten, tillsammans med egna studier av den tillgngliga vetenskapliga litteraturen, gav Watts de grundlggande koncepten hos de viktigaste filosofierna i Indien och stasien.

r 1936 publicerades Watts frsta bok , The Spirit of Zen, som Suzuki varit en mycket stor influens till.

r 1938 lmnade han England fr att leva i Amerika. Han hade gift sig med Eleanor Everett, vars mor var involverad i en traditionell Zen buddhistisk cirkel i New York. Ngra r senare gifte sig Eleanors mor med en japansk zen-mstare, som under en tid tjnade som ett slags mentor till Watts.

Watts lmnade den formella Zen utbildning i New York d lrarnas metoder inte passade honom. Han knde ett behov av att hitta ett professionell utlopp fr sina filosofiska bjelser och skrev in sig p en anglikansk skola i Illinois, dr han studerade de kristna skrifterna, teologi och kyrkans historia. Han frskte arbeta fram en blandning av samtida kristen tillbedjan, mystisk kristendom och asiatisk filosofi. Watts fick en magisterexamen i teologi som svar p sin avhandling, som han publicerade som en populr utgva under titeln Behold the Spirit. Mnstret var tydligt, eftersom Watts inte lt dlja sin motvilja fr religisa skdningar vilka han fann var strnga, skuldtyngda eller militant missionerande - oavsett om de grundar sig i judendomen, kristendomen, hinduismen eller buddhismen.

1950 lmnar Watts ministeriet och flyttar ret drp till San Francisco, dr han anslt sig till fakulteten American Academy of Asian Studies. Hr undervisade han tillsammans med experter och professorer, men studerade ven sjlv vidare i omrdena japanska sedvnjor, konst, primitivism samt olika naturuppfattningar. Frutom undervisning, tjnade Watts under flera r som akademins administratr.

I mitten av 1950-talet lmnade han fakulteten fr en frilansande karrir. I den lokala radion brjade han nu snda radioprogram, som med tiden kom att f ett stort flje och fortsatte att sndas ven lngt efter hans dd. 1957 vid 42 rs lder, publicerade Watts en av hans mest knda bcker, The Way of Zen. Frutom livsstilen och den filosofiska bakgrunden till Zen, i Indien och Kina, infrde Watts ven ider hmtade frn den allmnna semantiken. Boken slde bra, och kom med tiden att bli en modern klassiker. Runt denna tid reste Watts runt i Europa med sin far, dr han bl.a. mtte den bermda psykiatern Carl Jung.

Nr han tervnde till USA inledde han sitt utforskande av psykedeliska droger och dess effekter, bl.a. LSD och meskalin tillsammans med olika forskargrupper. Han prvade ocks marijuana och konstaterade att det var en nyttig och intressant psykofarmaka, som gav intryck av att tiden saktar ner. Watts bcker under 60-talet visar tydligt det inflytande dessa kemiska ventyr hade p honom. Han skulle senare kommentera psykedeliskt droganvndande, "Nr du fr meddelandet, lgg p luren."[4]

Watts upptcktsfrder och egna undervisning frde honom i kontakt med mnga noterade intellektuella, konstnrer och amerikanska lrare inom miljrrelsen, men han har ven kritiserats av olika buddhister som menar att han medvetet feltolkat flera viktiga begrepp inom Zen Buddhism.

Trots att han aldrig stannade en lngre tid i ngon akademisk institution, hade han under flera r ett stipendium p Harvard University. Han frelste ocks fr mnga hgskole- och universitetsstudenter. Hans frelsningar och bcker gav honom lngtgende inflytande p den amerikanska intelligentsian under 1950-talet 1970-talet, men han ansgs ofta som en outsider i den akademiska vrlden. Watts menade att han inte var en akademisk filosof, utan snarare "en filosofisk underhllare."

Watts r knd fr sina lror inom Zen, men var ven minst lika pverkad av de gamla hinduiska skrifterna. Han talade mycket om den gudomliga verkligheten, om hur vr grundlggande okunnighet har sina rtter i den exklusiva karaktren hos sinnet och egot - hur man kommer i kontakt med omrdet fr medvetandet och andra kosmiska principer.

P det personliga planet frskte Watts upplsa sina knslor av alienation frn olika institutioner, bl.a. ktenskapet och de olika vrdena i det amerikanska samhllet. Nr vi ser p sociala frgor var han angelgen om ndvndigheten av internationell fred, och fr tolerans och frstelse mellan olika kulturer.

D han misstrodde bde den etablerade politiska vnstern och hgern, hittade Watts inspiration i den vise kinesiska Chuang-tzu , en gammal taoistisk tnkare. Han ogillade mycket i den konventionella idn om "framsteg." Han hoppades p frndring, men personligen fredrog han den isolerade landsbygdens sociala enklaver. Watts frdmde urbaniseringen av landsbygden och livsstilen som fljde.

Under en frelsningsturn framlade Watts positiva bilder fr bde naturen och mnskligheten, talade till frmn fr olika stadier av human utveckling (inklusive tonren), och prisade intelligent kreativitet, god arkitektur och mat.

Watts knde att "absolut" moral inte hade ngot att gra med det grundlggande frverkligandet av ens djupa andliga identitet. Han fresprkade en social etik snarare n den personliga. I sina skrifter blev Watts alltmer oroad ver den etik som gller fr relationerna mellan mnniskan och den naturliga miljn, samt mellan regeringar och medborgare.

Watts sade ofta att han nskade att fungera som en bro mellan det antika och det moderna, mellan st och vst, och mellan kultur och natur.

I flera av hans senare publikationer lgger Watts fram en vrldsbild, utifrn hinduismen, kinesisk filosofi, panteism, och modern vetenskap, dr han hvdar att hela universum bestr av en kosmiskt sjlvspelande kurragmma. I denna vrldsbild, hvdar Watts att vr uppfattning om oss sjlva som ett "ego i en pse av hud" r en myt.

Alan Watts var gift tre gnger och hade sju barn, fem dttrar och tv sner. Hans ldste son, Mark Watts, arbetar fr nrvarande som intendent fr faderns arbete.

Han levde sina sista r vid olika tidpunkter p en husbt i Sausalito, Kalifornien, och ibland i en avskilt stuga p berget Tamalpais. I oktober 1973 tervnde Watts frn en anstrngande EU-frelsningsturn till denna stuga. Den 16 november 1973 dog Watts i smnen av hjrtsvikt.

Continued here:
Alan Watts Wikipedia

Written by admin

October 24th, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Top 5 Videos Of Alan Watts | High Existence

Posted: October 19, 2015 at 3:50 am

without comments

Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful.If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts (1915-1973) was one of the foremost interpreters and popularizer of Zen, eastern and western philosophy and psychedelics. A poet, an ex-priest, a modern mystic and a close friend of Aldous Huxley.He was a critic of modern society, especially with regards to its infinite feeble attempts to bring everything under its control. He always saw the big joke of it all, continually making fun of institutions and gurus, and thereby also himself. He labelled himself a philosophical entertainer and with his clarity of thought and masterful use of prose he inspired many to re-think their way of life. His famous if you get the message, hang up the phone was certainly meant to be applicable to every external crutch.

Blinkist: Never Stop Learning!

1,000+ best-selling nonfiction books, transformed into powerful packs you can read in just 15 minutes.

View post:
Top 5 Videos Of Alan Watts | High Existence

Written by admin

October 19th, 2015 at 3:50 am

Posted in Alan Watts

Alan Watts – disinformation

Posted: at 3:50 am

without comments

Those who cant resist the urge to take popular heroes down a notch will tell you that Alan Watts was an alcoholic and was addicted to nicotine. They will tell you that he was a victim of his own excesses. They will tell you that he sometimes mischaracterized Buddhism and Taoism, and turned them into hippie fantasies. In saying this, they wouldnt be entirely wrong, but at the same time they would be completely missing the point. Nobody says Alan Watts was a saint. Watts himself never claimed it, nor would he have been interested in it. What he craved was an intense life, not a perfect one. And those who cant appreciate his philosophical genius, just because the good man had some issues, miss out on the contributions of one of the most brilliant and influential minds of the 20th century.

Odds are that if you have any remote interest in Taoism or Zen Buddhism, you owe a debt of gratitude to Alan Watts. No Westerner, in fact, has done more to popularize these philosophies in the English language. People with no previous exposure usually hit a stumbling block the second they try to read one of the many translations of Taoist and Zen classics. Allusions, paradoxes, the foreignness of some concepts, an unorthodox sense of humor, the many things left unsaid lots of factors contribute to discourage prospective readers and make them give up. And this is where Alan Watts talent came to the rescue. In his own unique fashion, he managed to explain Taoist and Buddhist ideas without losing their poetry and subtlety along the way. He communicated Taoist and Buddhist insights in ways more easily understandable for Westerners without killing the wonder of it all in the process. He guided adventurous readers through unknown lands, lighting the path along the way. His radio lectures for the Pacifica Station, and his many excellent books cracked the door open introducing Taoist and Buddhist ideas to mainstream Western consciousness. His influence reached hundreds of thousands, among them the great Bruce Lee, whose own philosophy sprouted in large part thanks to Watts ideas.

But Alan Watts was much more than a brilliant Western interpreter of Eastern philosophy. In his hands, Taoism and Zen Buddhism were but tools serving him in the quest to create ones own way of life. The wide range of his interests had a Renaissance Man ring to it. Art and philosophy to him were not important for their own sake, but for how they could enrich everyday living. As much as he loved Taoism and Zen Buddhism, he was interested in any field of human experience that could offer him anything capable of elevating the quality of existence. It was in this spirit that he experimented quite a bit with psychedelics (he even wrote a book about the intersection of spirituality and psychedelics long before Terence McKenna, or even Timothy Leary did)

Read more:
Alan Watts - disinformation

Written by admin

October 19th, 2015 at 3:50 am

Posted in Alan Watts

Page 11«..10111213..2030..»