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Posted: April 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

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Transpersonal Psychology:Integral Esoteric Meditation

From The Essential Alan Watts

Alan Wilson Watts (January 6, 1915 November 16, 1973) was a philosopher, writer, speaker, and expert in comparative religion. He wrote over twenty-five books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, consciousness and the pursuit of happiness, relating his experience to scientific knowledge and to the teachings of Eastern and Western religions or philosophies (Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism). Beyond this, he was sensitive to certain new leanings in the West, and was in a position to be a proponent for certain shifts in attitudes regarding society, the natural world, lifestyles, and aesthetics. Alan Watts was a well-known autodidact. He was best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies.

Watts was born to middle class parents in the village of Chislehurst (now in the London London Borough of Bromley), Kent, England in the year 1915. His father was a representative for the London office of the Michelin Tyre Company, his mother a housewife whose father had been a missionary. With modest financial means, they chose to live in bucolic surroundings and Alan, an only child, grew up learning the names of wild flowers and butterflies, playing beside streams, and performing funeral ceremonies for birds. Probably because of the influence of his mothers religious family, the Buchans, an interest in "ultimate things" seeped in. But it mixed with Alans own interests in storybook fables and romantic tales of the mysterious Far East. Watts also later wrote of a mystical sort of vision he experienced while ill with a fever as a child. During this time he was influenced by Far Eastern landscape paintings and embroideries that had been given to his mother by missionaries returning from China. With regard to the examples of Chinese paintings he was able to see in England, Watts wrote "I was aesthetically fascinated with a certain clarity, transparency, and spaciousness in Chinese and Japanese art. It seemed to float..." as presented in his autobiography. These works of art emphasized the participative relationship of man in nature, a theme that would be important to him throughout his life.

By his own assessment, Watts was imaginative, headstrong, and talkative. He was sent to boarding schools (which included both academic and religious training) from early years. During holidays in his teen years, Francis Croshaw, a wealthy epicurean with strong interests in both Buddhism and the exotic, little-known aspects of European culture, took Watts on a trip through France. It was not long afterward that Watts felt forced to decide between the Anglican Christianity he had been exposed to and the Buddhism he had read about in various libraries, including Croshaws. He chose Buddhism, and sought membership in the London Buddhist Lodge which had been established by Theosophists, and was now run by the barrister Christmas Humphreys. Watts became the organizations secretary at 16. The young Watts experimented with several styles of meditation during these years.

Watts attended King's School next door to Canterbury Cathedral. Though he was frequently at the top of his classes scholastically, and was given responsibilities at school, he botched an opportunity for a scholarship to Oxford by styling a crucial examination essay in a way that was read as presumptuous and capricious.

Hence, when he graduated from secondary school, Watts was thrust into the world of employment, working in a printing house and later a bank. He spent his spare time involved with the Buddhist Lodge and also under the tutelage of a "rascal guru" named Dimitrije Mitrinovi. (Mitrinovi was himself influenced by Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, G. I. Gurdjieff, and the varied psychoanalytical schools of Freud, Jung and Adler.) Watts also read widely in philosophy, history, psychology, psychiatry, and Eastern wisdom.

Through Humphreys he was able to come into contact with eminent spiritual authors (e.g., Nicholas Roerich, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan) and prominent theosophists like Alice Bailey. London afforded him considerable other opportunities, as well. He attended the World Congress of Faiths at the University of London in 1936, heard D.T. Suzuki read a paper, and afterwards was able to meet this esteemed scholar of Zen Buddhism. Besides these discussions and personal encounters, by studying the available scholarly literature, he absorbed the fundamental concepts and terminology of the main philosophies of India and East Asia. In 1936, at 21 years old, Watts got his first book published, The Spirit of Zen, which he acknowledged later to be mainly digested from the translated writings of Suzuki.

In 1938 he and his bride left England to live in America. He had married Eleanor Everett, whose mother Ruth Fuller Everett was involved with a traditional Zen Buddhist circle in New York. A few years later, Ruth Fuller married the Zen master (or "roshi"), Sokei-an Sasaki, and this Japanese gentleman served as a sort of model and mentor to Alan, though Watts chose not to remain within a formal Zen training relationship with Sasaki. During these years, according to his later writings, Watts had another mystical experience while on a walk with his wife.

Because of his need to find a professional role and his desire to sidestep Americas military draft in the early 1940s, Watts entered an Anglican (Episcopalian) school (Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, in Evanston), where he studied Christian scriptures, theology, and Church history. He attempted to work out a blend of contemporary Christian worship, mystical Christianity, and Asian philosophy. Watts was awarded a master's degree in theology in response to the thesis which he published as a popular edition under the title Behold the Spirit. The pattern was set, in that Watts did not hide his dislike for religious outlooks that he decided were dour, guilt-ridden, or militantly proselytizing, whether found within Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism.

All seemed to go reasonably well in his next role, as Episcopalian priest (beginning in 1945), until an extramarital affair resulted in his young wife having their marriage annulled. It also resulted in Watts leaving the ministry by 1950. He spent the New Year getting to know Joseph Campbell, his wife, Jean Eardman, and John Cage. In the spring of 1951 he moved westward to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies, in San Francisco. Here he taught alongside Saburo Hasegawa, Frederick Spiegelberg, Haridas Chaudhuri, lama Tokwan Tada, and various visiting experts and professors. Hasegawa, in particular, served as a teacher to Watts in the areas of Japanese customs, arts, primitivism, and perceptions of nature.

Watts also studied written Chinese and practiced Chinese brush calligraphy with Hasegawa as well as with some of the Chinese students who enrolled at the Academy. While Watts was noted for an interest in Zen Buddhism, with its origins in China, his reading and discussions delved into Vedanta, "the new physics," cybernetics, semantics, process philosophy, natural history, and the anthropology of sexuality.

After heading up the Academy for a few years, Watts left the faculty for a freelance career in the mid 1950s. He began a regular radio program at Pacifica radio station KPFA in Berkeley, which was later carried by additional Pacifica stations. In 1957 he published one of his best known books, The Way of Zen, which focused on philosophical explication and history. Besides drawing on the lifestyle and philosophical background of Zen, in India and China, Watts introduced ideas drawn from general semantics (directly from the writings of Alfred Korzybski) and cybernetics (Norbert Wiener's early work on cybernetics had been recently published). Watts offered analogies from cybernetic principles possibly applicable to the Zen life. The book sold well, eventually becoming a modern classic, and helped widen his lecture circuit.

Around this time, Watts toured parts of Europe with his father, meeting the renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung. In relation to modern psychology, Watts' instincts were closer to Jung's or Abraham Maslow's than to those of Freud.

When he returned to the U.S., he began to dabble in psychedelic drug experiences, initially with mescaline given to him by Dr. Oscar Janiger. He soon tried LSD several times with various research teams led by Drs. Keith Ditman, Sterling Bunnell, and Michael Agron. He also tried DMT, later stating that it was 'like loading the Universe into a gun and firing it into your brain'. Watts books of the sixties reveal the influence of these chemical adventures on his outlook. He would later comment about drug use, "When you've got the message, hang up the phone." ([1])

For a time, Watts came to prefer writing in the language of modern science and psychology (Psychotherapy East and West is a good example), finding a parallel between mystical experiences and the theories of the material universe proposed by twentieth-century physicists. He later equated mystical experience with ecological awareness, and emphasized whichever approach seemed best suited to the audience he was addressing. Watts' explorations and teaching brought him into contact with many noted intellectuals, artists, and American teachers in the human potential movement. His friendship with poet Gary Snyder nurtured his sympathies with the budding environmental movement, to which Watts gave philosophical support. He also encountered Robert Anton Wilson, who credited Watts with being one of his 'Light[s] along the Way' in the opening appreciation of Cosmic Trigger.

In certain ways, Watts' philosophy was similar to that of Hegel, except that Watts emphasized feelings instead of abstract understanding alone, and as time went on Watts more and more sought practical and everyday applications for his outlook.

Though never affiliated for long with any one academic institution, he did have a fellowship for a couple of years at Harvard University. He also lectured to many college and university students. His lectures and books gave Watts far-reaching influence on the American intelligentsia of the 1950s-1970s. But Watts was often seen as an outsider in academia. While some college and university professors found his writing and lectures interesting, others said things like: "He's not really a scholar of Eastern philosophy. He's not that disciplined. Alan Watts doesn't teach Eastern philosophy, he teaches 'Alan Watts.'" To which he replied in numerous lectures that "the scholar who is interested in medals and prizes and not interested in the fun of it, has amazing put downs." He pointed this out with an example: "The original scholars in history were men that owned land, and being rich they had enough free time to study in their library, not for the progress of science, but for fun." Another Japanese Zen master, Maezumi Roshi, however, once remarked, "Alan Watts? He is not Zen!"--a perfectly Zen-like response that may well have delighted Watts.

Watts often alluded to or wrote about a group of neighbors in Druid Heights ([2])(near Mill Valley, California), who had used physical effort along with architecture, gardening, and carpentry skills to make a beautiful and comfortable life for themselves.

Regarding his intentions, it can be argued that Watts attempted to lessen a simple embarrassment at being human that he felt plagued the modern Westerner, and (like his fellow British expat and friend, Aldous Huxley) to lessen ill will. He felt such teaching could improve the world, at least to a degree. He also articulated the possibilities for greater incorporation of aesthetics (for example: better architecture, more art, more fine cuisine) in American life. In his autobiography he wrote, " cultural renewal comes about when highly differentiated cultures mix" (Watts, In My Own Way).

In his writings of the 1950s, he conveyed his admiration for the practicality in the historical achievements of Chan or Zen in the Far East, for it had fostered farmers, architects, builders, folk physicians, artists, and administrators among the monks who had lived in the monasteries of its lineages.

In his mature work, he presents himself as Taoist in spirit. [How to reference and link to summary or text] Child rearing, the arts, cuisine, education, law and freedom, architecture, sexuality, and the uses and abuses of technology were all of great interest to him.

On the personal level, Watts sought to resolve his feelings of discomfort and not being at home among other people or the institutions of society. But looking at society itself, he was quite concerned with the necessity for international peace, for tolerance or even understanding among disparate cultures. He also came to feel acutely conscious of a growing ecological predicament; as one instance, in the early 1960s he wrote: Can any melting or burning imaginable get rid of these ever-rising mountains of ruin especially when the things we make and build are beginning to look more and more like rubbish even before they are thrown away?" [The Joyous Cosmology]

In his writings, Watts alluded to his own political shift from Republican conservatism to a more liberal legal and political outlook. However, his opinions did not lean to the political left. He was more libertarian, distrusting both the left and right, and finding an early libertarian outlook in the Chinese sage Chuang-Tzu. He disliked much in the conventional idea of "progress". He hoped for change, but personally he preferred amiable, semi-isolated rural social enclaves, and also believed in tolerance for urban tenderloins, social misfits, and eccentric artists. Watts decried the suburbanization of the countryside and the way of life that went with it.

In one campus lecture tour, which Watts titled "The End to the Put-Down of Man", Watts presented positive images for both nature and humanity, spoke in favor of the various stages of human growth (including the teenage years), reproached excessive cynicism and rivalry, and extolled intelligent creativity, good architecture and food.

Watts felt that ethics (at least of the judgmental Judeo-Christian kind) had nothing to do with the fundamental realization of ones deep spiritual identity. He advocated social rather than personal ethics. In his writings, Watts was increasingly concerned with ethics applied to relations between humanity and the natural environment and between governments and citizens. He wrote out of an appreciation of a racially and culturally diverse social landscape. At the same time, he favored representative government rather than direct democracy (which he felt could readily degenerate into mob rule).

He often said that he wished to act as a bridge between the ancient and the modern, between East and West, and between culture and nature.

Watts led some tours for Westerners to the Buddhist temples of Japan. He also studied some movements from the traditional Chinese martial art T'ai Chi Ch'uan, with an Asian colleague, Al Chung-liang Huang. Watts lived his later years at times on a houseboat in Sausalito on San Francisco Bay and at times in a secluded cabin at Mount Tamalpais (in Fairfax). Laden with social and financial responsibilities, he struggled increasingly with alcohol addiction, which probably shortened his life. Watts died at home while asleep next to his third wife, Mary Jane Yates Watts, in 1973 at the age of 58.

A number of works have been published since his death including recordings or transcripts of recorded lectures and/or articles not listed above:

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Alan Watts | Psychology Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Written by simmons

April 25th, 2018 at 7:43 am

Posted in Alan Watts

Allan Watts meditation – Ideapod

Posted: April 12, 2018 at 10:43 pm

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Have you ever tried to meditate?

If so, youve probably tried to focus on your breath, or repeat a mantra.

This is how I was taught to meditate, and it lead me down the completely wrong path.

Instead, I learned a simple trick from Alan Watts. He helped to demystify the experience and now its so much easier.

From meditating in this new way, I discovered that focusing on my breath and repeating a mantra affected my ability to achieve true peace and enlightenment.

Ill first explain why this was the wrong way for me to meditate and then will share the trick I learned from Alan Watts.

I should clarify that while this approach to meditation didnt help me, you may have a different experience.

Once I learned this trick by Alan Watts, I was then able to experience my breath in ways that put me in a meditative state. Mantras also became more effective.

The problem was this:

By focusing on the breath and repeating a mantra, meditation became a doing activity for me. It was a task that required focus.

Meditation is meant to happen spontaneously. It comes from remaining unoccupied with thoughts and from just experiencing the present moment.

The key point is to experience this moment without thinking about it. However, when I began meditating with the task in mind to focus on my breath or repeat a mantra, I had a focus. I was thinking about the experience.

I wondered whether this was it, whether I was doing it right.

By approaching meditation from the perspective shared by Alan Watts below, I wasnt so focused on doing anything. It transformed from a doing task to a being experience.

Check out the video below where Alan Watts explains his approach. If you dont have time to watch it, Ive summarized it below.

Watts understands the challenge of placing too much meaning on meditation and recommends beginning by simply listening.

Close your eyes and allow yourself to hear all the sounds that are going on around you. Listen to the general hum and buzz of the world the same way that you listen to music. Dont try to identify the sounds that youre hearing. Dont put names on them. Simply allow the sounds to play with your eardrums.

Let your ears hear whatever they want to hear, without letting your mind judge the sounds and guide the experience.

As you pursue this experiment you will find that naturally find that youre labeling the sounds, giving meaning to them. Thats fine and completely normal. It happens automatically.

However, over time youll end up experiencing the sounds in a different way. As the sounds come into your head, youll be listening to them without judgment. Theyll be part of the general noise. You cant control the sounds. You cant stop someone from coughing or sneezing around you.

Now, its time to do the same with your breath. Notice that while youve been allowing the sounds to enter your brain, your body has been breathing naturally. Its not your task to breathe.

While being aware of your breath, see if you can start breathing more deeply without putting effort into it. Over time, it just happens.

The key insight is this:

Noises happen naturally. So does your breathing. Now its time to apply these insights to your thoughts.

During this time thoughts have entered your mind like the chattering noises outside your window. Dont try to control your thoughts. Rather, let them continue to chatter away like noises without passing judgment and giving them meaning.

Thoughts are just happening. Theyll always happen. Observe them and let them go.

Over time, the outside world and the inside world come together. Everything is simply happening and youre just observing it.

Heres what I learned about this approach to meditation.

Meditation is not something to do or focus on. Rather, the key point is to simply experience the present moment without judgment.

Ive found that beginning with a focus on breathing or mantras set me down the wrong path. I was always judging myself and that took me away from a deeper experience of a meditative state.

It put me in a thinking state.

Now, when I meditate I let the sounds enter my head. I just enjoy the sounds passing through. I do the same with my thoughts. I dont get too attached to them.

The results have been profound. I hope youll have a similar experience.

If you found this approach to meditation useful, then I think youll love Hack Spirits new e-book on mindfulness. They cut through all the jargon and break down exactly what mindfulness is in the modern age and how you can embrace it. Hack Spirit is a partner of Ideapod and we only recommend products we love. Check it out here and let us know what you think.

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Allan Watts meditation - Ideapod

Written by grays

April 12th, 2018 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

48 Alan Watts Quotes That’ll Blow Your Mind | Wealthy Gorilla

Posted: April 10, 2018 at 12:44 pm

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Alan Watts was a British philosopher, speaker and author;

Watts passed away in 1973, but his legacy lives on through his many inspirational speeches, some of which have millions of views on YouTube.

Here are 48 of the best Alan Watts quotes thatll blow your mind:

1.We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain. Alan Watts

2.Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. Alan Watts

3.There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering. Alan Watts

4.Every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree. Alan Watts

5.The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts

6.But Ill tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, youll come to understand that youre connected with everything. Alan Watts

7.When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was. Alan Watts

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you dont grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. Alan Watts

9.There is always something taboo, something repressed, un-admitted, or just glimpsed quickly out of the corner of ones eye because a direct look is too unsettling. Taboos lie within taboos, like the skin of an onion. Alan Watts

10.No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. 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. Alan Watts

11.This is the real secret of life to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play. Alan Watts

12.If you really understand Zen you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because the sound of the rain needs no translation. Alan Watts

13.Try to imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up now try to imagine what it was like to wake up having never gone to sleep. Alan Watts

14.Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything. Alan Watts

15.Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. Alan Watts

16.The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs. Alan Watts

The only Zen youll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you. Alan Watts

18.You didnt come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. Alan Watts

19.To be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it. Alan Watts

20.The more we struggle for life (as pleasure), the more we are actually killing what we love. Alan Watts

21.Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. Alan Watts

22.Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time. Alan Watts

23.Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time. Alan Watts

24.Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. Alan Watts

25.What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. Alan Watts

26.Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Obviously, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it objective, that is, separate from I. Alan Watts

There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. Alan Watts

28.The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing whatever. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldnt do without it. But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies. Alan Watts

29.Total situations are, therefore, patterns in time as much as patterns in space. Alan Watts

30.There was never a time when the world began, because it goes round and round like a circle, and there is no place on a circle where it begins. Look at my watch, which tells the time; it goes round, and so the world repeats itself again and again. Alan Watts

31.We do not come into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean waves, the universe peoples. Alan Watts

32.The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. Alan Watts

33.Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. Alan Watts

34.To put is 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. Alan Watts

35.If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, youll spend your life completely wasting your time. Youll be doing things you dont like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you dont like doing, which is stupid. Alan Watts

36.But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be. Alan Watts

37.You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing. Alan Watts

What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when its a drag? But you see, thats what people do. Alan Watts

39.The menu is not the meal. Alan Watts

40.We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. Alan Watts

41.What I am really saying is that you dont need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all. Alan Watts

42.You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. 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. Alan Watts

43.The greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing. Alan Watts

44.You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean. Alan Watts

45.Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. Alan Watts

46.Philosophy is mans expression of curiosity about everything and his attempt to make sense of the world primarily through his intellect. Alan Watts

47.Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time. Alan Watts

48.How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god. Alan Watts

Thanks for viewing this collection of the best Alan Watts quotes! Dont forget to share them on social media.

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48 Alan Watts Quotes That'll Blow Your Mind | Wealthy Gorilla

Written by admin

April 10th, 2018 at 12:44 pm

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The Resurrection Connection | United Church of God

Posted: April 3, 2018 at 9:44 am

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Although the details are lost in time, a closer look at the ancient mythology surrounding their worship will help us understand how pagan practices have survived in popular Eastercustoms.

Two of the earliest recorded deities were the Babylonian fertility god Tammuz and the goddess Ishtar. Every year Tammuz was believed to die, passing away from the cheerful earth to the gloomy subterranean world (Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, 1993, p.326).

The seasonal cycle came to be connected with Tammuzs supposed annual death and resurrection. Under the names of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis, the peoples of Egypt and Western Asia represented the yearly decay and revival of life which they personified as a god who annually died and rose again from the dead. In name and detail the rites varied from place to place: in substance they were the same (p.325).

Many of these rites revolved around inducing the return of Tammuz from the dead. One of these ceremonies is recorded in Ezekiel 8:14 Ezekiel 8:14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORDs house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.American King James Version, where Ezekiel saw in vision an abominable sight: women weeping for Tammuz at the very temple ofGod.

The Expositors Bible Commentary says regarding this verse: Tammuz, later linked to Adonis and Aphrodite by name, was a god of fertility and rain In the seasonal mythological cycle, he died early in the fall when vegetation withered. His revival, by the wailing of Ishtar, was marked by the buds of spring and the fertility of the land. Such renewal was encouraged and celebrated by licentious fertility festivals The women would have been lamenting Tammuzs death. They perhaps were also following the ritual of Ishtar, wailing for the revival of Tammuz (Ralph Alexander, Vol. 6, 1986, pp.783-784).

As worship of Tammuz and Ishtar spread to the Mediterranean region, including the territory of biblical Israel, the pair came to be worshiped under other names: Baal and Astarte (Ashtoreth), Attis and Cybele, and Adonis and Aphrodite. God heatedly condemned the sensual, perverted worship of Baal and Astarte, the Queen of Heaven (Judges 2:11-15 Judges 2:11-15 11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed.American King James Version; Judges 3:7-8 Judges 3:7-8 7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.American King James Version; Judges 10:6-7 Judges 10:6-7 6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. 7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.American King James Version; 1 Kings 11:4-33 1 Kings 11:4-33 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared to him twice, 10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Why the LORD said to Solomon, For as much as this is done of you, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely rend the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 Notwithstanding in your days I will not do it for David your fathers sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of your son. 13 However, I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to your son for David my servants sake, and for Jerusalems sake which I have chosen. 14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the kings seed in Edom. 15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; 16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) 17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his fathers servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. 18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaohs house: and Genubath was in Pharaohs household among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to my own country. 22 Then Pharaoh said to him, But what have you lacked with me, that, behold, you seek to go to your own country? And he answered, Nothing: however, let me go in any wise. 23 And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: 24 And he gathered men to him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelled therein, and reigned in Damascus. 25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. 26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomons servant, whose mothers name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. 27 And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. 28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. 29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take you ten pieces: for thus said the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to you: 32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant Davids sake, and for Jerusalems sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in my eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.American King James Version; 1 Kings 16:30-33 1 Kings 16:30-33 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.American King James Version; 1 Kings 22:51-53 1 Kings 22:51-53 51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. 52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: 53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.American King James Version; 2 Kings 23:13 2 Kings 23:13And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.American King James Version; Jeremiah 7:18 Jeremiah 7:18The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.American King James Version).

In ancient worship we find the mythology that would ultimately link these ancient customs to Christs death and resurrection. Says Alan Watts: It would be tedious to describe in detail all that has been handed down to us about the various rites of Tammuz, Adonis, and many others But their universal themethe drama of death and resurrectionmakes them the forerunners of the Christian Easter, and thus the first Easter services. As we go on to describe the Christian observance of Easter we shall see how many of its customs and ceremonies resemble these former rites ( Easter: Its Story and Meaning, 1950, p.58).

Watts describes some of the similarities and parallels: Shortly before the vernal [spring] equinox the members of this cult [of Tammuz-Ishtar, Attis-Cybele and Adonis-Aphrodite] began a fastas Christians also have the fast of Lent, beginning forty days beforeEaster.

He tells how some worshippers would cut down a tree, then carry it with reverence and ceremony to Cybeles temple and set it up in the central sanctuary There, upon its central stem [trunk], was hung the figure of the young god (p.59).

Here, for the remaining days of the fast, the worshipers gathered to sing hymns of mourning for the dead Attis And to this day, on Good Friday at the Veneration of the Cross, Christians sing their hymn of mourning for another and greater one who died on a Tree (p.59).

As the fast drew to an end, a remarkable rite took place: The figure of the dead Attis was taken down from the tree and buried under the twilight sky. Far into the night his devotees stood around the grave and sang hymns of mourning. But as dawn approached, a great light was kindled, as today Christians light the Paschal Candle on Easter Eve as a symbol of the risen Christ (pp.61-62).

Frazer describes the idolatrous worship this way: The sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy The tomb was opened: the god had risen from the dead; and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tidings of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the corruption of the grave. On the morrow the divine resurrection was celebrated with a wild outburst of glee. At Rome, and probably elsewhere, the celebration took the form of a carnival (p.350).

In its various forms, worship of Tammuz-Adonis-Attis spread around the Roman Empire including to Rome itself. As Christianity spread through the empire, religious leaders apparently merged customs and practices associated with this earlier resurrected god and applied them to the resurrected Son ofGod.

Says Frazer: When we reflect how often the Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis (p.345).

In this respect Easter followed the pattern of Christmas in being officially sanctioned and welcomed into the church. As Frazer goes on to say: Motives of the same sort may have led the ecclesiastical authorities to assimilate the Easter festival of the death and resurrection of their Lord to the festival of the death and resurrection of another Asiatic god which fell at the same season. Now the Easter rites still observed in Greece, Sicily and southern Italy bear in some respects a striking resemblance to the rites of Adonis, and I have suggested that the Church may have consciously adapted the new festival to its heathen predecessor for the sake of winning souls to Christ (p.359).

To discover what God thinks of merging customs associated with worship of other gods with worship of Him, be sure to read Does It Matter to God? .

See original here:
The Resurrection Connection | United Church of God

Written by grays

April 3rd, 2018 at 9:44 am

Posted in Alan Watts The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age …

Posted: March 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm

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Reading Alan Watts challenges us to explore new avenues of thinking, inspires us to lead more fulfilling lives. His legacy lives on in The Wisdom of Insecurity, a work that energetically displays Wattss piercing intellect, razor-sharp wit, and winning grace. For the clarity and wisdom with which it engages timeless concerns crucial to us all, it is unmatched. An important book.Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea

Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Watts had the rare gift of writing beautifully the unwritable.Los Angeles Times

The wisdom of insecurity is not a way of evasion, but of carrying on wherever we happen to be stationedcarrying on, however, without imagining that the burden of the world, or even of the next moment, is ours. It is a philosophy not of nihilism but of the reality of the presentalways remembering that to be of the present is to be, and candidly know ourselves to be, on the crest of a breaking wave.Philip Wheelwright, Arts and LettersThis book proposes a complete reversal of all ordinary thinking about the present state of man. The critical condition of the world compels us to face this problem: how is man to live in a world in which he can never be secure, deprived, as many are, of the consolations of religious belief? The author shows that this problem contains its own solutionthat the highest happiness, the supreme spiritual insight and certitude are found only in our awareness that impermanence and insecurity are inescapable and inseparable from life. Written in a simple and lucid style, it is a timely message.Book Exchange (London)

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Written by simmons

March 16th, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Alan Watts – The Underground

Posted: January 25, 2018 at 5:42 pm

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ndenis -This.

Whether he cheated on his wives, was an alcoholic, raped baby butterflies, it doesn't matter. As the poster above said, the philosophy he is communicating is not one of Christian values of right vs wrong.

I am not talking about "right vs wrong" or criticizing him for not following Christian values. That wasn't my point

My point is that the words he speaks contradicts the actuality of his life. He speaks about peace love and compassion to his followers, but in his real life, he destroyed his families because he kept chasing after "falling in love". Where was the peace, love and compassion then? If anything there was only peace love and compassion for his own emotional and psychological needs.

Then it's just intellectual musings. If those words are not from the reality of his life, then they are empty words. You can't just talk, it has to be manifested in your being, in your actions. Not that you are living by your words (moral codes, etc), but that your living is being expressed through those words.

I'm not saying that. I don't care if he cheats on his various wives and abandons his various children. I don't care if he drinks to help numb the pain. I'm ONLY saying that his life and his actions contradicts the words he spoke. I'm not even saying "practice what you preach!!! How dare you!"; I'm only pointing out the fact that his words contradicted his life.

That is to a great degree my point

So if he arrived at the very incarnation that he was presently living, he would be talking about selfishness, egotism, greed etc

Why is he talking about awareness, peace, love and compassion when he was actually a selfish, greedy man? Why was he talking about awareness when he was acting like a man blinded by "falling in love" all the time? What awareness? I see nothing but a man still asleep.

Yes, just a game. Nothing else

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Alan Watts - The Underground

Written by grays

January 25th, 2018 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Alan Watts

Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part Two | Counter-Currents Publishing

Posted: January 5, 2018 at 10:46 am

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9,927 words

Part 2 of 2. Part 1 here.

Partings II Watts and The Church Today: Real Presence or Real Estate?

Watts was quite successful in his attempt to express the religio perennis in the language of Christian theology; not just in my opinion today, but among his Episcopal peers at the time (one bishop even called it the most important book on religion in this century[1]), yet within four years he resigned his position, left the Church and embarked on his more characteristic career as an alt-academic and, eventually, something of a counter-cultural guru. What happened?

According to his letter of resignation, it was what he later called the Churchs dogmatic imperialism:

During the past years I have continued my studies of the spiritual teachings of the Orient, alongside with Catholic theology, and, though I have sometimes doubted it, I am now fully persuaded that the Churchs claim to be the best of all ways to God is not only a mistake, but also a symptom of anxiety. Obviously, one who has found a great truth is eager to share it with others. But to insist often in ignorance of other revelations that ones own is supreme argues a certain inferiority complex characteristic of all imperialisms. Me thinks thou doth protest too much. This claim of supremacy is, for me, the chiefest sign of how deeply the Church is committed to this self-strangulation, this anxiety for certainty, and I cannot support the proselytism in which it issues.

In an interview in LIFE magazine in 1961 Watts said that he left the church not because it doesnt practice what it preaches, but because it preaches.

In 1964 in Beyond Theology he concluded:

My previous discussions did not take proper account of that whole aspect of Christianity which is uncompromising, ornery, militant, rigorous, imperious, and invincibly self-righteous.

Of course, forcing his hand would have been concern over his somewhat irregular lifestyle, which would ultimately include divorcing his first wife, Eleanor (who was, at the time, having an affair with the choirmaster), and marrying a former student. A bit tame compared to a Weinstein, but not really the done thing for an Episcopalian chaplain in the 1940s.

One cant help but wonder if Watts would have found a more comfortable pew in todays Church, especially the Episcopal branch. Surely the relentless liberalization of the last 75 years has enabled the Church to catch up with Watts?

Surprisingly, the answer is: no, not at all. Or perhaps not surprisingly; for the liberalizing in question has mostly in the political sense.

True, a church that positively welcomes gay and transgendered clergy would find Watts serial monogamy charmingly old fashioned; or perhaps dangerously cisgendered and triggering?

But more importantly, Watts as clergyman or congregant would find the contemporary Church even more boring and pointless than before, for liturgies, both Catholic and Protestant, have been rationalized and popularized more than ever, making contemplative prayer all but impossible, and the Social Gospel, the Good News in the Protestant, adolescent form of changing the world in the light of rigid principles of justice (all men are equal here and now, not in the Spirit), has not faded away in the growing light of the Spirit, but instead metastasized and taken over.

However much Watts might agree with those politics in his autobiography he mentions the tedium of having to kowtow to the conservative businessmen who make up (then) the most important congregants Watts was interested in the Spiritual, not such surface fripperies. As he insisted in his new Preface, itself now almost 50 years old, all this is a

[M]ere matter of changing the externals of having rock bands instead of organs and Kyrie eleison set to jazz, [or] even of turning churches into social service centers with the idea that this would be practicing Christianity seven days a week instead of just talking it on Sundays. Indeed, one may well hope that monarchical Christianity will not be practiced, even on Sundays, since the dutiful spirit in which it dispenses charity breeds resentment in the giver and the receiver alike, for when the one gives with reluctance the other receives with guilt.

Speaking of social service centers (today, most likely to be Mary and Joseph were illegals- style immigrant service centers), Watts goes on to frame the issue in blunt, Trumpian terms of real estate:

The practical problem is, what are we going to do on Sunday mornings? How are ministers to continue their work? What is to be the use of church buildings, funds, and administrative machinery? Naturally, institutional Christianity will, in its present form, continue to supply the demand which remains for a monarchical [civil] religion. But a considerable number of ministers and even congregations not to mention millions of reasonably intelligent young people realize that churches must put up or shut up, and that the chief business of religious facilities and assemblies is to provide a social milieu for religious experience. Ministers and their congregations must instead consider what need there may be for churches as temples for contemplation and meditation, stripped of the courthouse furniture of stalls, pews, pulpits, lecterns and other equipment for throwing the Book at captive audiences. They must consider also the need for retreat houses and religious communities, and for guidance and instruction in the many forms of spiritual discipline which are conducive to mystical vision [non-dual knowing]. (pp. xx xi).

Ironic, since the Episcopal Church has indeed taken the path of forcing change down the throats of those conservative vestrymen, and taken over the very buildings themselves a quirk of the Episcopal Church is that the national body owns the buildings, the churches control their own endowments and other investments but hardly to promote contemplation:

Convention attendees were told that they had spent $18 million this year suing their own local congregations those which have protested the denominations policies by trying to secede. The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere. So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property. Its the classic dog in a manger. The denomination has managed to keep the buildings for which it has little use. However, they made their point refusing to allow the congregations which built the facilities to have any benefit after generations of sacrifice, donations and volunteerism.

One former Episcopal priest wrote me, The irony is that after all their property suits to get control of empty buildings, they now are losing their main property.

One might hope that at least some of these buildings could be turned over to or acquired by some new Peter Gatien, who could turn them into pagan dance clubs, which at least would be more in line with Watts program.[2]

Ironies abound, of course. Watts makes the interesting point that while he has no doubts at all that Jesus really existed,[3] the refusal to crack the shell of scripture to obtain the nut of spirit has led, especially among Protestants, to obsessions with Biblical literalness and inerrancy. Today, of course, the very existence of Jesus is a hot topic,[4] but ironically the last man standing among the candidates for the stripped-down, 100% real Jesus tends to be the wandering Jewish teacher or political zealot; the Spirit seems to have been found in the supposed political shell, not even the scriptural shell.

Indeed, the Episcopal Churchs new leader a black man, since after Obama all leaders will have to be black has proudly made his motto We are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, a pretty explicit statement of a proud retreat to the most adolescent stage of the Western Spirit, rather than an advance to the fully mature life of the Holy Spirit.[5]

Of course, the Episcopal Church has always been mostly the WASP elite at prayer (answering Watts question, what are we going to do on Sunday mornings?) so its hardly surprising that it serves mainly as a vehicle for SJW virtue signaling in the Present Year; thus:

In America last week a church in Virginia took down two plaques of men who had worshipped there, one of George Washington, the other of Robert E. Lee. The plaques distracted our worshippers, said the cowardly rector.

Rather than openness to other religions, its the phony openness of multiculturalism and unlimited immigration, in the service of global conformity.[6]

Watts seems to have underestimated the ability of the adolescent Protestant conscience to sustain itself in its infinite regress of idealistic guilt. Like a collapsing neutron star, it needs more and more fuel, and it now gets it from endless spasms of masochistic White guilt. As we now know, SJWs always double down.

Anti-Whiteness has replaced Christianity as the religion of post-1960s White America. Original sin has been replaced with racism and white privilege. Jesus Christ has been replaced with Martin Luther King. Satan has been replaced with Adolph Hitler. Anti-whiteness is not rational, it is an irrational and superstitious religion.

The entire facade of anti-Whiteness is based on the idea that its moral, the religious notion that people of European ancestry are uniquely evil and born with original sin. In order to atone for this original sin, White people must marry someone of another race, promote mass immigration into White countries and only White countries, make public apologies and displays of subservience for other races, and demean and disparage white people, white history, and white culture while at the same time loudly proclaiming such things dont exist.[7]

No matter how bohemian his lifestyle, no matter how welcoming to other religions, spiritually Watts was profoundly conservative or rather, archeofuturistic. A bohemian Tory?

In any event, Watts was aware of the difference between biblical symbols intended to promote the awareness of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and secular notions of purported social improvement.

Individual morality cannot just be mapped onto social morality or politics. Discussing the Old Testament image of a vengeful God, Watts observes that

God has no need to punish in the vengeful sense because he has no need to protect himself. He is not weak and vulnerable like human society. [211]

Delivered from the vicious circle of bad self-consciousness, the infinite regression of chasing oneself around and around, it is possible for man to move forward. But in moving forward his principle of action will no more be a moral code; it will be the indwelling Holy Spirit. [211]

Mature Christian morality will lose the adolescents itch to change the world overnight, which has long characterized Western Christianity in its schemes[8] for spiritual and material reforms. [214]

This will help free our idea of the Christian life from the false heroics of adolescence, that running around in search of great moral deeds to do, which is so often no more than hypocritical interference with the lives of others. [224}

It is not charitable to the poor to try all at once to abolish poverty, with the exception, indeed of really abject poverty. Most of the wholesale and impersonal charity we practice today is mere patronization of the poor, motivated by pity and fear of their estate and not by respect and honor. [220]

In short,

The work of the Church is to share a sense of union with God by all the means at its disposal, symbolic or otherwise. The Christian morality of love, as distinct from the secular morality of justice, has meaning and value only in relation to this background. Apart from it, it disrupts the natural order of society, which based as it is on fear and collective self-interest, is to be preferred to Christian and supernatural virtues running amok in separation form their source. [221-22; italics in original]

Some people still understand this:

Christian belief contests all politics, its visions of human flourishing and the ethical claims it makes of people being so demanding that no political leader or political programme can fully satisfy them.[9]

Again, as the dog returns to his vomit, the Christian returns to his infinite regress.

Excursus: Neville and Watts The Same Man?

Alan Watts is the Norman Vincent Peale of Zen.[10]

Right about the time Watts was writing Behold the Spirit and serving as a paradox priest, as he titles the relevant chapter in his autobiography, Neville Goddard was in the initial stages of a very successful career as a metaphysical lecturer, author, and broadcaster.[11]

These are essentially the roles Watts took on after leaving the priesthood, and Ive called attention before to the remarkable resemblances between Watts and Neville (he always went by name alone). [12] Revisiting Watts gives us a chance to review and expand on those similarities.

Both men occupied adjacent slices of the space/time continuum, and although Neville Lancelot Goddard was born in 1905 and Alan Wilson Watts in 1915, both died within months of each other (October 1, 1972, aged 67; 16 November 1973, aged 58, respectively). Both men had long before emigrated to the USA from parts of the British Empire (Neville from Barbados) to seek their fortune, mostly in California. Although Watts fitfully attended good schools he described himself in his autobiography with Shaws line about being half-miseducated;[13] Neville seems to have skipped schools altogether.[14]

On a somewhat more relevant note, both men were tall, handsome, spoke with those authoritative British accents (Nevilles with an island lilt to it); charismatic, in short. I call this more relevant because this was an essential element to their careers: both men became great successes on the modern lecture circuits, utilizing the cutting-edge technologies of radio, TV, LP recordings, even airplanes (to appear at venues from coast to coast). And, although Neville was fading a bit as Watts was getting into stride,[15] both men have had a remarkable resurrection on the internet,[16] where Nevilles books and lectures are freely available,[17] and both men are all over YouTube.

But what did they lecture on, surely that is the relevant point here? Again, the similarities are remarkable.

Both men had been attached to oddball gurus Watts first with the rascal guru Dimitrije Mitrinovic,[18] then with the iconoclastic Krishnamurti;[19] Neville with a black, Ethiopian rabbi named Abdullah[20] but the ironic lesson they took from both was: ignore gurus and do it yourself![21]

As for the content of their teaching, Watts concerns here and later in Beyond Theology can perhaps be expressed in the title of Nevilles 1944 book: Feeling is the Secret.

Writing in 1949, Neville summed up what he modestly calls his simple formula for changing the future:

People have a habit of slighting the importance of simple things; but this simple formula for changing the future was discovered after years of searching and experimenting. The first step in changing the future is desire that is: define your objectiveknow definitely what you want.

Secondly: construct an event which you believe you would encounter following the fulfillment of your desirean event which implies fulfillment of your desiresomething that will have the action of self predominant.

Thirdly: immobilize the physical body and induce a condition akin to sleeplie on a bed or relax in a chair and imagine that you are sleepy; then, with eyelids closed and your attention focused on the action you intend to experiencein imaginationmentally feel yourself right into the proposed actionimagining all the while that you are actually performing the action here and now. You must always participate in the imaginary action, not merely stand back and look on, but you must feel that you are actually performing the action so that the imaginary sensation is real to you.

It is important always to remember that the proposed action must be one which follows the fulfillment of your desire; and, also, you must feel yourself into the action until it has all the vividness and distinctness of reality.[22]

We can see two things here: first, the demand for experimental verification, not dogma; the same post-Protestant, post-adolescent demand Watts identifies as still necessary for the new mysticism to be acceptable to modern man.

The second, the importance of desire, or more generally, feeling, or aesthetic perception. As I noted above, in Partings I, Watts insists that our feeling is as valuable as our thinking, and that if we think otherwise it is only because we have, in fact, neglected to develop our feelings as we have our intellect. As it is, our outdated and in any event inadequate symbols of God, Christ, etc. make it impossible for modern man or someone from a traditional culture as aesthetically developed as the Chinese or Hindu to take the Christian message seriously.[23]

As weve seen this is the nub of Perrys disagreement over Watts iconoclastic approach to symbols,[24] but pace Perry, it is soundly based in Tradition. Nevilles method seems definitely related to the discussion of the dry and wet paths discussed in the journals that Evola edited in the 30s, UR and KRUR, in which one must first create a mental image, and then bathe it in love and devotion, until it is realized on the material plane.[25]

Another technical detail is in order. In order for any image to act in the way I am talking about, it must be loved. It must be assumed in a great, inner calm and then warmed up, almost nourished, with sweetness, without bringing the will or any effort into play, and much less without expectations. The Hermeticists called this agent sweet fire, fire that does not burn, and even fire of the lamp since it really has an enlightening effect on the images.[26]

As Neville explains the general conception behind the method:

Sensation precedes manifestation and is the foundation upon which all manifestation rests. There is an unbroken connection between your feelings and your visible world.

All creation occurs in the domain of the subconscious.

The subconscious transcends reason and is independent of induction. It contemplates a feeling as a fact existing within itself and on this assumption proceeds to give expression to it.

Ideas are impressed on the subconscious through the medium of feeling. No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt be it good, bad or indifferent it must be expressed. Feeling is the one and only medium through which ideas are conveyed to the subconscious. [27]

As Neville unpacks his simple method, more parallels to Watts appear. As weve seen, the central insight Watts propounds in his mystical Christianity is that the Incarnation, God becoming Man, is a timeless event, always and already, so that rather than being pursued which implies it hasnt happened yet, and thus creates a Zeno-like infinite regress it must simply be assumed as the ground note of our existence.

And so Neville emphasizes:

To impress the subconscious with the desirable state, you must assume the feeling that would be yours had you already realized your wish. In defining your objective, you must be concerned only with the objective itself. The manner of expression or the difficulties involved are not to be considered by you. To think feelingly on any state impresses it on the subconscious. Therefore, if you dwell on difficulties, barriers or delay, the subconscious, by its very non-selective nature, accepts the feeling of difficulties and obstacles as your request and proceeds to produce them in your outer world.

You are already that which you want to be, and your refusal to believe this is the only reason you do not see it.[28]

Watts says that trying to achieve union presupposes its lack right now, thus stultifying the effort; Neville says that asking/praying for some change of circumstance assumes and therefore concretizes the present situation of lack.[29]

We might also note a subtle implication: ordinary political action, especially of the SJW type, falls under that same ban

The world cannot change until you change your conception of it. As within, so without.

Nations, as well as people, are only what you believe them to be. No matter what the problem is, no matter where it is, no matter whom it concerns, you have no one to change but yourself, and you have neither opponent nor helper in bringing about the change within yourself. You have nothing to do but convince yourself of the truth of that which you desire to see manifested.[30]

which certainly comports with what weve seen of Watts disinterest in the Social Gospel aspects of Christianity.

Whats interesting here is that while Neville never, like Watts, attempted to take on a formal role in mainstream religion, he also never abandoned Christianity or rather, the Bible.

Neville once said that if he was stranded on an island and was allowed one book, he would choose, The Bible, without hesitation. If he could squeeze in more, he would add Charles Fillmores Metaphysical Dictionary of Bible names [sic][31], William Blake, ( Why stand we here trembling around, Calling on God for help, and not ourselves, in whom God dwells?) and Nicolls Commentaries.[32] These were the books he recommended at his lectures.[33]

How was Neville able to express his teachings entirely within the world of the Bible, while Watts found himself forced to increasingly make use of Eastern teachings? Perhaps because, although Watts, as weve seen, rejected the uniqueness of Christ, he still assumed the Bible, especially the New Testament, to be basically historical, while for Neville, the Bible, like all scriptures, is a psychological document, not a historical one: it is mans own psychological drama, taking place within his own skull (Golgotha).

Today those to whom this great treasure has been entrusted, namely, the priesthoods of the world, have forgotten that the Bibles are psychological dramas representing the consciousness of man. In their blind forgetfulness they now teach their followers to worship its characters as men and women who actually lived in time and space.[34]

This point is closely connected with the previous emphasis on experience, experiment, and testing, rather than dogmatic wrangling:

[The resurrected Christ] offers his knowledge of Scripture based on his own experience, for that of others based on speculation. Accept his offer. And it will keep you from losing your way among the tangled speculations that pass for religious truth. [35]

And, of course, it puts the kibosh on drawing any political instructions from what is intended to be an entirely psychological document.

Although Watts firmly believed in some kind of historical core to the New Testament,[36] and in Behold the Spirit even provides some kind of Chestertonian-Thomist metaphysical argument for historicity (a timeless event must be communicated in time to creatures like us[37]), while Neville just as firmly denied that the whole Bible was anything but an entirely psychological document, Watts surely would have had sympathy with Nevilles idea that the more you understand it historically the less you think to apply it to yourself instead of the story of You, it becomes a story about those people out there and back there. As Watts says about Protestants, they cracked the shell but devoted all their time to studying the fragments and trying to put them back together in improved ways (including, pre-eminently, by the search for the historical Jesus.), rather than consuming the kernel.[38]

Writing in 1947 the same year as Behold the Spirit! Israel Regardie (formerly Aleister Crowleys private secretary), noted that Neville would seem to have some difficulty dealing with the more legalistic portions of the Old Testament.[39] Yet Protestants routinely interpret such passages, or the risqu parts, such as the Song of Songs, in more or less forced analogies to Christ or the Church. And why not? As Neville says,

[The writers of the Gospels do not] hesitat[e] to interpret the Old Testament according to their own supernatural experiences. [40]

Indeed, many suggest today that the writers of the Gospels composed those pseudo-historical narratives entirely from their re-interpretations of the Old Testament.[41] Either from being self-educated, or from the secret teachings of Abdullah, Nevilles psychological interpretation of the Bible is actually consistent with what was the early 20th century scholarly consensus, which is now, like Neville himself, being resurrected via the Internet; while Watts academic seminary training has rooted him in the mid-century historicist consensus.[42]

But it must be emphasized that this is not clever hermeneutical sleight of hand or interpretive strait-jacket. In fact, while the laws, battles and genealogies Regardie refers to may indeed require a good deal of re-working, on an everyday basis Neville relies on a handful of familiar passages where he simply takes at face value texts that the usual clergyman strains[43] to explain:

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

He calleth things that were not seen as though they were and things that were not seen become seen. Romans, 4:17

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? John 10:34

I and my Father are one, but my Father is greater than I John, 10:30

Before Abraham was, I am. John, 8:58

The Kingdom of Heaven is within Luke 17:21

While giving overall a positive, even enthusiastic account of Neville, Regardie has makes a few negative points, at least one of which is also relevant here. While never questioning Nevilles own success, or his sincerity, Regardie doubts that Neville has fully realized the difficulty his audiences would have with his simple method.

The method, as weve seen, requires entering a state akin to sleep, a state of profound relaxation, on the very edge of sleep, but with the imagination still under conscious control; today, we might call this lucid dreaming. Regardie suggests that Neville underestimates the ability of his audience to achieve this kind of deep relaxation, due to his own previous training as a professional dancer on Broadway.

[T]he fundamental psychological factor in Nevilles teaching, [and] the fundamental fact about Neville himself is a very simple fact: Neville is a dancer. [44]

This has been a frequent criticism of Watts throughout his career: that he counsels an easy, fake, non-practicing kind of practice. As weve seen, Watts takes the Incarnation, the union of God and Man (or Atman and Brahman, in Hindu terms) as a given fact, which cannot be gotten by any method (prayer, sacraments, penance, meditation, austerities, whatever); in fact, the use of such methods presupposes and reinforces the presumption of a lack of union, leading to an infinite regress of futility. Such methods are as useless as painting legs on a snake, and to the extent that they trap us in a hall of mirrors, they are futile, unless, indeed, one suddenly wakes up and drops the pretense of needing to re-unite with that which we have never been severed from; the only subsequent use of such methods as prayer or meditation is simply to express or celebrate that union. At times Watts even adopts Nevilles talk of sleep and relaxation:

Egoism is like trying to swim without relying on the water; your whole body becomes tense, and you sink like a stone. Swimming requires a certain relaxation, a certain giving of yourself to the water, and similarly spiritual life demands a relaxation of the soul to god If it is hard to relax the superficial tensions of jumpy nerves and insomnia, it is impossible to relax by any contrivance of our own a tension which grips the very core of our being. (p.70)

Obviously, this can seem like an excuse for inaction, a kind of more or less hypocritical perfectionism, along the lines of Well, if something is worth doing, it must be done well although here, and throughout his career, Watts does a pretty good job of relating it to the darker extremes of Protestant self-doubt.[45]

The rest is here:
Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part Two | Counter-Currents Publishing

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January 5th, 2018 at 10:46 am

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Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part One | Counter-Currents Publishing

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Part 1 of 2

Alan W. WattsBehold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical ReligionNew York: Pantheon, 1947; reissued with a new Preface, 1971Kindle, 2016

For God is not niggardly in his self-revelation; he exposes himself right before our eyes. Alan Watts

What was needed was not some new religious cult but some simple way of accessing religious or mystical experience, of the sort that must have been known to the monks and cathedral-builders of the Middle Ages. Colin Wilson[1]

Praise be to Amazon! Thanks to their Kindle technology, Ive been able to relocate here to Central Europe (a certain city beginning with Buda and ending with Pest) and bring most of my library with me!

Contrary to the fears of the Luddites, new technologies do not at least, not always destroy or occlude the products of a previous technological stage; in fact, as McLuhan pointed out, the content of a new medium is the old medium.

Thus printing did not replace manuscripts but made them accessible (thereby eliminating the need for universities, as McLuhan also pointed out). Greedy record companies, desperate for content, issued collections of 78s on LPs (and later, LPs on CD); thus did Harry Smiths Anthology of American Folk Music, 3 double LP sets, rescue dozens of pre-War artists from obscurity, and sparked the folk music revival.

Speaking only for myself, I can say that the development of the epub technology, specifically Amazons Kindle, has not only made whole libraries available for free or minimal cost (including mountains of un-PC Old Right, New Right, etc. materials hitherto moldering in barns, warehouses and filing cabinets), but has also made even books much easier to read, and thus more read.[2]

Case in point: Alan Watts, and the book under review.

After discovering the works of Alan Watts in the early 70s, in the form of Sunday morning radio broadcasts,[3] I proceeded to compulsively acquire and read his books, from the earliest The Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East (1936, at the age of 21) to his most recent, the posthumous collection Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal (1973) and Tao: The Watercourse Way (1975), a collaboration with calligrapher Chungliang Al Huang who also finished the text after Watts death in 1973. Eventually, I even acquired some obscure incunabula, such as his hand-written The Art of Contemplation: A Facsimile Manuscript with Doodle (1972), and even a reprint of his translation of the 1944 Theologia Mystica: Being the Treatise of Saint Dionysius, Pseudo-Areopagite, on Mystical Theology, Together with the First and Fifth Epistles.[4]

Among those works was, of course, Behold the Spirit (1947), which had also been recently reprinted with a new, rather diffident, Preface from Watts. Like the similar preface to his later, Traditionalist work, The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysic and the Christian Religion (1950), it gave Watts current views, while almost seeming to discourage anyone from reading the main text.[5]

That was fine with me; I was happy enough to read his latest thoughts, and keep the book proudly displayed with the others.[6] And so it remained, until the kindle went on sale for $1.99, and I decided to free up some space and maybe finally take a look-see.

That rascal guru! That wily old shaman! He hid the best stuff in plain view!

Incredibly, I wager that most all of what would become his most characteristic themes, memes and crochets can be found here:

Union with Reality/God/Brahman etc. is and must be a present reality because it is timeless;

Therefore, any attempt to get or become it must fail, as such an attempt is based on the false assumption of its present lack; all such traditional methods (meditation, prayer, sacraments, etc.) must be understood rather as expressions of joy and gratitude for what is;

In fact, the frenzied pursuit of anything especially life itself is the surest way to lose it.

Nature/Reality/the Universe cannot be analyzed from some position of supposed separation and superiority; the attempt to do so results in a model of reality as a meaningless machine or collection of disconnected bits, a distortion and even outright illusion, no matter how much scientists and others perversely insist on it being the way things really are.

To avoid spiritual and perhaps historical catastrophe, Western Man must abandon the false alternatives of rugged materialism and prissy spiritualism and develop a thoroughgoing spiritual materialism.[7]

And so on; but expressed in the language of Christian theology specifically, the central principle of the Christian mythos, the mystery of the Incarnation, of the Word made flesh[8] and in the manner of 1940s-era Christian lay observers and popular theologians, a bit like C. S. Lewis or Fulton Sheen, but with a considerable amount of the formidable intellect and range of reference of an Etienne Gilson or Jacques Maritain.

Watts writes as a Thomist,[9] but one whos read at least Coomaraswamy, if not Guenon (but certainly not Evola[10]), although the book makes no references to Traditionalism and Traditionalists as such (unlike his next book, The Supreme Identity), and the text is the stronger, more compelling, and less dated, for that reason.

According to Wikipedia, where the book has its own mini-article,

This book is the most extensive example of his early effort to find a non-dualistic interpretation of Anglican theology in terms of The Perennial Philosophy as expounded in Aldous Huxleys contemporary work of that name and later made popular in the talks of Joseph Campbell. Its importance lies partly in its exposition of Watts earliest attempt to reconcile traditional Anglican theology with a mystical, Buddhist based approach, but also as a personal expression of the mystical experience.

Incredibly, this was apparently written as a masters thesis (M. Div., Seabury Theological); which becomes even more amazing when you remember that this is the only earned degree Watts every acquired, even beforehand.[11] Thats right, Watts never acquired a B.A., and pretty much never attended a college or university;[12] his ability to simply enter a theological seminary and master its contents within a few months might, with some modesty, be a tribute to the value of a British public school education as well as native ability.[13]

Impressive enough as a demonstration of academic pseudomorphism, and providing a bit of nostalgia for those of us who lived through similar environments, it does show the corresponding vices. In particular, one notes the tendency academic, but itself a function of the Scholasticism that formed the modern academy to spell everything out, hunt down every last detail and implication, and delight in restating positions in one new way after another. One is certainly glad that the post-academic Watts pruned back this sort of thing considerably.[14]

The New Right reader who lacks such a background may nevertheless be able to get a grip or find a foothold here, and may even be at an advantage, as Watts starts off rather boldly by dabbling in the idea of world ages a la Spengler or Joachim of Flores (the origin of the Third Whatever meme) or the (unknown and unmentioned) Yockey; a fairly brave choice, at a time when all things German were identified with Prussian martinets if not outright Nazis, and indicative of Watts surprising (to some) Rightist sympathies[15] (of which more anon).

In his 1971 Preface Watts downplays his talk of world ages in the opening chapter, saying he no longer believes in historical timetables and New Ages, but the New Right reader may well find his discussion of Spengler of some interest today. Just as Yockey tried to re-tool Spenglers Caesarism into a revival of Imperium rather than a dead end, so Watts modifies Spenglers idea of the Second Religiosity.[16]

Due to what Watts calls an exceedingly superficial philosophy and a certain emotional immaturity, Spengler

Sees that the Second Religiousness employs the Springtime or infancy forms of religion, but does not seem to realize that they are understood in a new, interior and spiritually creative sense.

Where Spengler can only see regression to decadent or infantilized forms of a cultures original spirituality, a period of mush-minded mysticism, Watts observes that it is in such decadent periods that the profoundest spirituality of the human race appears (such Plotinus or Augustine).[17] Thus, for Watts, the Third Age is one of maturity and wisdom, not sclerosis and senility; and he points out that Christianity itself is a product of the Second Religiousness of Judaism, giving a mystical and interior interpretation to the primitive religion of the law and the sacrificial worship of the Temple.[18]

In the stage of infancy, the churchs moral teaching is of necessity authoritarian and legalistic.[19] In adolescence, intensely earnest and self-consciously heroic, following after extremely lofty ideals. In maturity, we return somewhat to earth, and find the source of morality neither in external authority, nor in remote ideals, but in the consciousness of God himself in the heart.[20]

Before unpacking the Third Age, and that new, interior and spiritually creative sense, lets try to understand what Watts is doing here. First, it is necessary to grasp what he is not doing. He isnt trying to prune away from Catholic Christianity[21] some supposedly man-made or pagan accretions, in order to arrive at a primitive gospel message, presumably all about Jesus, and thus both intensely personal and unique among world religions (No man comes to the Father). Nor is he trying to interest secular adults, or the kids, in a revamped Christianity more in tune with science or hip musical genres.

Watts has no problems with pagan elements (see next book, Easter Its Story and Meaning[22]) Christianity has always welcomed wisdom wherever it may be found, and these are its strongest, most vital periods nor any interest in proving the uniqueness of Christianity (what is the interest in a reanimated corpse? he asks).

The best approach might be to look at his subtitle and ask why, or how, is mysticism necessary? I would suggest it is necessary in two senses: it is a logically or psychologically necessary next step; and it is what is needed for religion to survive today.

Everyone knows (in 1947) the Church is dead or dying. There are plenty of remedies promoted, but they are all inadequate, because they are ad hoc, purely human solutions that take for granted that the Church is just another man-made institution that needs ongoing maintenance, like a bridge or subway. But if the Church is understood as part of a God-controlled design of history it must be understood to be undergoing a necessary, organic development along with and promoting the development of human consciousness.

In other words, as consciousness develops, so does religion.

Watts developmental model Father, Son, Holy Spirit is basically mapped onto Western[23] Church history: Roman Catholic, Protestant and what? To see the needed, necessary next step lets first unpack the first two stages.

Roman Catholicism is the religion of mans childhood,[24] where the soul is satisfied with mere symbols, the assurance given by authorities that something happened somewhere that will make everything alright, if one just believes hard enough.

Protestantism[25] is the religion of adolescence: rebellious, rejecting authority, requiring that things be written down (sola scriptura) and exhaustively explained (daily four hour sermons), like other honest business transactions (a religion of shopkeepers); and above all demanding the inner meaning of doctrine and dogma, not mere passive acceptance.

Protestantism goes along with modern science, and while both have provided us with much of values (hospitals, clean water, etc.),[26] the downside has been considerable.[27]The method of scientific analysis (as the word would indeed seem to imply) leaves us with a world made up of random bits, producing nihilism once you dissect the frog, its not a frog anymore while the obsessive examination of conscience produces an infinite regress or vicious circle of guilt and pride, leading to existential despair. [28]

Here we see what will be two of Watts favorite memes, the gyrating stupidity (as he calls it in Beyond Theology) of modern materialism, and the double bind dilemma of trying to be good, trying to achieve enlightenment, trying to answer the Zen koan, etc., which can only be solved if dissolved by being pursued to exhaustion like Sambos tigers and the subsequent giving up the futile struggle and just letting things be.[29]

But before exhausting ourselves as well, lets take a break, with a little something I call Excursus on Cradle Catholics.

Excursus: Cradle Catholics

And stay away from Anglo-Catholics; they are all Sodomites with atrocious accents.

- Brideshead Revisited

Despite Watts repeated warnings that designating states of consciousness as pertaining to childhood or adolescence carries no intent to denigrate them[30] children are not failed adults some, particularly Catholics themselves, may find it insulting or perhaps just inaccurate to locate Roman Catholicism in the childhood category.

It is interesting to note that some confirmation of this picture from a source contemporaneous with Watts and his book, and from the same Catholic (again, in Watts sense of Roman Catholic Anglican) milieu: Evelyn Waughs Brideshead Revisited.[31] In particular, the main characters seem to embody Watts notion of the Catholic state of mind.[32]

Take young Sebastian, here being interrogated by his new friend, Charles, exemplifying the mutual incomprehension of the Catholic child and Protestant adolescent:

But my dear Sebastian, you cant seriously believe it all.

Cant I?

I mean about Christmas and the star and the three kings and the ox and the ass.

Oh yes, I believe that. Its a lovely idea.

But you cant believe things because theyre a lovely idea.

But I do. Thats how I believe.

Well, I said, if you can believe all that and you dont want to be good, wheres the difficulty about your religion?

If you cant see, you cant

Well, where?

Oh, dont be a bore, Charles. I want to read about a woman in Hull whos been using an instrument. [85]

Sebastian clearly has imbibed his religious ideas (if one can call them that) from his mother, Lady Marchmain:

I [Charles again] said something about a camel and the eye of a needle and she rose happily to the point.

But of course, she said, its very unexpected for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but the gospel is simply a catalogue of unexpected things. Its not to be expected that an ox and an ass should worship at the crib. Animals are always doing the oddest things in the lives of the saints. Its all part of the poetry, the Alice-in-Wonderland side, of religion. [123]

No surprise she entertains the family with evening readings of Chesterton.[33]

By contrast, the eldest son, Bridey (the Earl of Brideshead; no Christian name ever provided), manifests childhood in the nerd register unworldly, self-absorbed, impolite and impolitic, yet so obsessed with dogma and ritual that the family feared he might become a priest. As Anthony Blanche tells us:

Theres Brideshead whos something archaic, out of a cave thats been sealed for centuries. He has the face as though an Aztec sculptor had attempted a portrait of Sebastian; hes a learned bigot, a ceremonious barbarian, a snow-bound lama. . . . Well, anything you like.

This combination of the primitive and the learned perfectly instantiates what Watts describes as the Catholic attempt to emulate Protestant moral seriousness, resulting in the dreary Puritanism of the Irish or French Catholics. Indeed, it is Bridey who carelessly (in both senses) triggers off the moral climax of the novel when he smugly points out his new wife cant possibly share a roof with his adulterous sister Julia:

You must understand that Beryl is a woman of strict Catholic principle fortified by the prejudices of the middle class. I couldnt possibly bring her here. It is a matter of indifference whether you choose to live in sin with Rex or Charles or both I have always avoided inquiry into the details of your menage but in no case would Beryl consent to be your guest. [272]

Brideys having always avoided inquiry into the details is a remnant of the moral laxity (from the Protestant viewpoint) of the traditional Catholic; his fathers mistress, Cara, is an Italian who voices the more relaxed attitudes of the South:

I know of these romantic friendships of the English and the Germans. They are not Latin. I think they are very good if they do not go on too long.

It is a kind of love that comes to children before they know its meaning. In England it comes when you are almost men; I think I like that. It is better to have that kind of love for another boy than for a girl. Alex [Lord Brideshead] you see had it for a girl, for his wife. [100]

And this brings us back to a celebrated passage at the start of the novel, as Charles describes his first summer with Sebastian, sounding both notes of childhood and moral laxity:

Descent or ascent? It seems to me that I grew younger daily with each adult habit that I acquired. I had lived a lonely childhood and a boyhood straitened by war and overshadowed by bereavement; to the hard bachelordom of English adolescence, the premature dignity and authority of the school system, I had added a sad and grim strain of my own. Now, that summer term with Sebastian, it seemed as though I was being given a brief spell of what I had never known, a happy childhood, and though its toys were silk shirts and liqueurs and cigars and its naughtiness high in the catalogue of grave sins, there was something of nursery freshness about us that fell little short of the joy of innocence. [46]

Implicit here and in Caras comments is the idea of an indulgence toward childhood romances that are expected to transition into a respectable adulthood, as illustrated by Charles passage from Sebastian to his sister Julia.[34] Even this might be seen as analogous to Watts model of consciousness maturing through several levels, each worthy in itself; what must be avoided is becoming stuck or even attempting to regress:

Sebastian is in love with his own childhood. That will make him very unhappy. His teddy-bear, his nanny and he is nineteen years old. [100]

The Catholic with his rosary, the Protestant with his rigid moral code; these are expired and unacceptable models for a truly modern mind. Rather than regressing to former modes, religion must rediscover the Spirit again, now at a higher level, thanks to the long pilgrimage through adolescence. Perhaps Waugh is making that point too, as Charles revisits Brideshead (the house, not the Earl) years later, having put aside both Sebastian and Julia:

There was one part of the house I had not yet visited, and I went there now. The chapel showed no ill-effects of its long neglect; the art-nouveau paint was as fresh and bright as ever; the art-nouveau lamp burned once more before the altar. I said a prayer, an ancient, newly-learned form of words, and left, turning towards the camp; and as I walked back, and the cook-house bugle sounded ahead of me, I thought:

The builders did not know the uses to which their work would descend; they made a new house with the stones of the old castle; year by year, generation after generation, they enriched and extended it; year by year the great harvest of timber in the park grew to ripeness; until, in sudden frost, came the age of Hooper [i.e., secular materialism]; the place was desolate and the work all brought to nothing; Quomodo sedet sola civitas. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

And yet, I thought, that is not the last word; it is not even an apt word; it is a dead word from ten years back.

Something quite remote from anything the builders intended, has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time; a small red flame a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem. It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.


As a result of his more developed consciousness, modern man demands the meaning of the doctrine, not more or more sophisticated doctrine; and certainly not a return to tradition. Modern man needs not dogma but what dogma means; the thing itself. This is the maturing of mans spiritual consciousness, a development to be encouraged as being the whole point of the enterprise, not a deviation to be fought against and turned aside.[36]

The task of Protestantism was to break the shell, though because the Protestants did not fully realize this and did not know about the fruit inside, the job has been inexpertly and irreverently done.

They have hammered away with gusto; they have cracked the entire surface; they have taken whole chunks of the shell right off, and, having thrown some of them away, have taken the rest into a corner and there tried to piece them together in a different form. But the fruit has not interested them. Protestantism has simply broken up the system of symbolism, reduced it and re-formed it, and, in these later times, has practically discarded the whole thing. The time has come for us to attend to the long-neglected fruit. (p. 41)

For Protestantism, misdirected though it has been, was nevertheless a necessary movement, needed in order that the shell of dogma, passively accepted by the Roman Catholic, be cracked, and the kernel obtained and brought to fruition within ourselves. [37]

Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

Hence, the periodic, now (as then) on the upswing interest in various mystical teachings, foreign and domestic; a legitimate but misconceived quest; Watts agrees with Spengler in discounting what today we would call New Age spirituality as immature, unhistorical, and often implicitly if not explicitly Gnostic and hence retrograde.

Would that these seekers knew that the Catholic Christianity has its own, vastly more sophisticated spiritual techniques; but how can they find out, when even the Church itself, in the person of its ministers, doesnt know anymore?

To remedy this, Watts turns to the late stages of other cultures including our own late Classical period, whose mature wisdom gave birth to early Christianity to try to suggest the inner meaning of the Christian mythos, the actual experience of the Holy Spirit.

In the great ages of Christian thought theology has always been able to embrace and absorb alien systems much to its own enrichment. In fact, every great advance in Christian theology has involved the absorption of an alien philosophy. It is not too much to predict that the next great step in Christian theology will be due, in part, to the absorption of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and, perhaps, Mohammedan Sufiism, all of which are profoundly mystical religions. (p.53)

For purposes of this review essay, Ive tried to distill the logical outline of the book, but I have to say that apart from a superficial structure of chapters and topics, and local arguments on particular points, it doesnt really have an overall vector that marches the reader from Point A to Point B until the reader is forced to accept some predetermined conclusions; but rather drift from moment to moment, in which various themes, points of view and images are introduced and revisited as seems necessary; which, as well see, is appropriate to a number of those themes, such as the importance of living in the moment, and the freedom of man to accept Gods offer of union or not.[38]

In any event, as Ive said, the real fascination here is how early, and how well, Watts was able to formulate most of what would become his signature tropes or memes in the language of traditional Catholic Christianity.

But I certainly dont mean to suggest there is anything boring or repetitive here. Even at this early point in his career, Watts seems to be incapable of writing a dull page, or even paragraph.[39] As already suggested, the interest here is in how easily Watts expresses, in purely Christian language, most of the memes he would propagate during his career as a New Age or even hippie lecturer.

His use of the nondualist school of the Hindu Vedanta to explain how the Christian God is a superior conception to any pantheistic deity, by being able to create real, other beings while still remaining indivisible, makes most of those smug claims about what we can learn from the Hindus look rather jejune; this is the best kind of Traditionalism, using the deepest insights of one culture (to return to Spenglers language) to illuminate the equal depths of another.

Throughout, Watts moves with ease from the Christian dogma of the Incarnation union with God which is freely and already given to the futility of methods union with God something which we not only cannot fail to achieve but cannot even try to achieve, and, indeed, we cannot even refuse it if we wanted to (Hell being the sufferings of those who obstinately chose to refuse) to his more general and more familiar point that life can only be lived as what Coomaraswamy called the perpetual uncalculated life in the present rather than something we plan to get, someday, if we follow the right recipe.[40]

At times Watts manages to both clarify the traditional language of Christian mysticism and express his own views more clearly than he would again:

The consciousness of union with God thus realized is mystical, that is, veiled, rather than beatific; it is not an absolutely direct and full consciousness, but resembles to some extent the consciousness which we have of our own selves. For while we cannot perceive out own egos directly, we know that we exist and this knowledge is present as an undertone in all other knowledge. Similarly, the mystical knowledge of God is a knowledge of God in the act of this presence and union with us, but is not immediate vision and apprehension of the divine essence. Presumably this is only possible when actual death has removed the ego from standing in its own light. (p.100 and footnote 12)[41]

Indeed, even death cant escape Watts expanding vision of the ever-present union:

Abandoning all concepts and conventional feelings about Reality, letting go of all devices and methods for realizing union with god, we approach the Now just as it is.

Looked at from an intellectual and emotional point of view, the Eternal Now certainly seems dry and empty. From this standpoint, entering into it seems a kind of death, and the surrender of cherished intellectual and emotional consolations is indeed a sharing in the death of the cross, from which the whole power of the Resurrection flows.

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Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part One | Counter-Currents Publishing

Written by simmons

January 5th, 2018 at 10:46 am

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Posted: December 31, 2017 at 10:49 pm

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Is life like a dream?

According to the Buddhists, "individuals consist of a 'bundle' of habits, memories, sensations, desires, and so forth, which together delude one into thinking that he or she consists of a stable, lasting self.

"This false self hangs together as a unit, and even reincarnates in body after body.

"In Buddhism, as well as in Hinduism, life in a corporeal body is viewed negatively, as the source of all suffering.

"Hence, the goal is to obtain release.

"In Buddhism, this means abandoning the false sense of self so that the bundle of memories and impulses disintegrates, leaving nothing to reincarnate and hence nothing to experience pain."

Buddhist Afterlife Beliefs


According to certainBuddhist thinkers:

"When we see houses and fields in dreams, we think of them as being external objects that are not created by the mind, even though they are nothing other than projections of our mind.

"All that we see when we are awake is also nothing other than a creation of the mind."

Footnote on a guru - The New York Times

Englishman Alan Watts (1915 1973), a fan of Eastern religions, wrote books about religion and philosophy.

Watts had a "far-reaching influence on the American intelligentsia." (Alan Watts - Wikipedia)

As a child, while ill with a fever, Watts claimed to have had a mystical vision.

While living in London, Watts got to know theosophists like Alice Bailey, some of whom believed that the 'divine' can be found in everyone.

The theosophists are a mixed bunch and their ideas are controversial.

Alice Bailey wrote of the Jews as a race, with group karma, characteristics, and behaviors.

She believed Jews embody the characteristics of "materialism, cruelty and a spiritual conservatism" and the "separative, selfish, lower concrete mind." [124][125]

Bailey said that "The Jews, by their illegal and terrorist activities, have laid a foundation of great difficulty for those who are seeking to promote world peace."[147])

Bailey stated that all religions originate from the same spiritual source, and that humanity will eventually come to realize this, and as they do so, the result will be the emergence of a universal world religion and a "new world order." [151][152]

In the 1930s, Alan Watts took an interest in Zen Buddhism.

In 1938, he got married to Eleanor Everett.

Watts entered an Anglican/Episcopalian Theological Seminary, in Illinois, USA.

There he attempted to work out a blend mystical Christianity and Asian philosophy.

In 1945, Watts became an Anglican/Episcopalian priest.

He then had an extramarital affair.

Watts's marriage was ended and Watts ceased to be a priest.

Watts developed a strong interest in Hinduism and Quantum Physics.

Watts began to dabble in mescaline given to him by Dr. Oscar Janiger, a University of California Irvine Psychiatrist who was best known for his LSD research.

Watts tried LSD several times.

"Many of the seminal figures of the counterculture were first introduced to LSD ... by scientists and physicians who were conducting CIA-funded research and attending conferences funded by CIA-front foundations.

"I met the Menlo Park researcher who gave Ken Kesey his first dose of acid and the Los Angeles psychiatrists who gave the drug to Henry and Claire Booth Luce, Anais Nin, Alan Watts, Cary Grant, and a host of other luminaries.

"All were part of the CIA-enabled network."


Watts became more influenced by Hinduism.

He wrote about how 'opposites' such as 'good' and 'bad' are essentials of human life and human evolution.

Watts claimed that the universe consists of a 'self' which becomes all the things, living and non living, in the cosmos.

In other words, Watts, inspired by Hindu ideas, wrote that God plays all the parts in the drama of life.

God plays the part of Hitler and the part of Mother Teresa.

We personally find it difficult to believe that 'God' plays the part of Hitler, at the point at which Hitler is planning genocide.

Now, of course, the CIA, and certain Hindu fascists, might like us to believe that God played the parts of the shooters in the Mumbai Attacks of 2008.

Alan Watts was married three times. (Alan Watts - Wikipedia)

"Laden with social and financial responsibilities, he struggled increasingly with alcohol addiction."

He died at the age of 58.


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Written by grays

December 31st, 2017 at 10:49 pm

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Alan Watts – Official Site

Posted: December 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm

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The Alan Watts Organization is a descendant of the Electronic University, which Alan and his son Mark Watts co-created shortly before Alans deathin 1973. Our goal is to perpetuate Alan Watts legacy by providing a definitive online resource for information about Alans written and recorded works.

We also maintain and curate the vast collection Alan Watts audio and video works. Theses recordings were created by Alan, and recorded by Alan, Mark Watts, and American sound artist and humorist, Henry Sandy Jacobs. In addition to the original lectures, Mark and his father crafted audio courses guiding listeners throughAlans recordings, and were presently working to complete our digital archive by converting reels, cassettes, VHS, and early digital formats produced by the original Electronic University.

Moving forward, our efforts will go into making Alans work more accessible bycontinuing to develop public synopses, robust search functionality, and linked samples of his recordings. Overall we hope to make Alans work more widely available, and to further enhance the archive that has been maintained since the mid-1970s through remastering and creative derivations.

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Alan Watts - Official Site

Written by grays

December 9th, 2017 at 1:42 pm

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