Alan Watts RARE Last Interview ( 1973 | Radio )

Alan Watts RARE Last Interview ( 1973 | Radio )

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 830

Number of words: 4806

Number of symbols: 20720

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:06
alan watts has written a book that nancy wilson ross in the new york times book review has called a work about a phenomenon filled with enthusiasm and i might add the juiciness of life and the phenomenon of course is the author himself alan watts who perhaps more than anyone in this country perhaps the western world has helped popularize but in the good sense uh the nature of zen and mr watts written about oh 20 or so books way of zen his most uh popular among others his the newest is about himself his autobiography
00:36
it's called in in my way in my own way in my own way and own you know al and i was thinking before i let you loose and you go off talking as you will in a very marvelous way well here you do onion chat this is a recording some years ago that i have you and your friends in a spontaneous happening and the question i must ask as we hear this is how did a good english boy come to do this we're about to hear be natural in the onion chat the voice of you it
01:12
almost sounds arabic it could be hebraic uh buddhist perhaps i don't know but here are you at the very beginning this recording made some time ago alan watts from uh middle class english town chiselhurst some miles out of london and you talk about trying to find out who you are basically what's about a search discover who you are yes i'm thinking about this particular chant that was you yourself chanting that's right you were saying how
01:42
difficult it is yes i'd love to chant it's uh everybody should sing it's as good for you as exercise running sexual intercourse vitamins proper diet everybody should sing but the trouble is we hear so much recorded music of real talented singers that people say to you when you sing why are you making that horrible noise what do you makes you think you have a voice but i'm thinking this this chant doesn't
02:13
seem to be british that's uncomfortable we've come back this is your autobiography in my own way see all uh talented englishmen have gone away from england and that was the real origins of the british empire that they were terrified of the climate the cooking and the 300 boring religions the english practice so old talented englishman left england of course your book and the 2021 or so other ones concern religion of course well you must remember you see it was walter who said
02:44
that the english had 300 religions and only one source yeah i'm thinking about the 300 you you've gone through quite a few yourself but you became uh an anglican priest here at northwestern university and it's the road you travel we have to go back to beginning how you became the zen apostle that you are that seems removed from your own culture as this young english kid and we perhaps we could be at the beginning your father writes a preface to it he admires you very much his way of life and
03:16
you in your own way live different lives yes well my father was partly responsible for it and so was my mother my mother taught at a school where missionaries abandoned their daughters while they went to convert the heathen in china and india and africa and when they returned as uh thank offerings for taking care of their children they gave her glorious works of chinese embroidery and pottery and so as a small boy i had i was surrounded with these
03:48
and then my father used to read me stories from ruddy kipling the jungle books the just so stories kim and kipling was a very strange fellow because although most people think of him as a jingoist he was one of the major sources through which the high culture of himalaya came back to the west and people began to inquire into buddhism and uh hinduism and the things about which he wrote
04:19
it was this background this is the beginning there was an open door for you as foreign as far as reading is concerned did you speak of sort of an even though the climate was that of what you would describe as fundamentalist protestantism you were aware of colors yes because we we our family was church of england that is anglican and it was not baptist or methodist and uh our churches were very ancient and beautiful and they weren't uh sort of scrubbed tabernacles but there's a marvelous uh
04:51
observation you make in your book in my own way about the anglican church so sure it's right so sure it's absolutely right that now and then it allows eccentricity yes it's the most it's the most liberal of all forms of christianity because so long as you abide by certain basic rules you can be anything from a quaker to a theosophist to a uh papist but that liberalism that openness also had the base in a certain arrogance and that's absolutely positive right
05:22
yes when i was i after all carried the archbishop of canterbury's train at his enthronement he did as a small boy of 13. uh it was cosmo gordon lang the one who dethroned edward viii and uh yeah i was in the very heart of the church of england and brought up there and i declared myself to be a buddhist at the age of 15 but all they reacted was anna's jolly what the manta bladdest question is now the question can come to alan watts and his curiosity
05:55
how come you declared yourself to be a buddhist at the age of 15. this is this is well because i found the religion i was being taught uh was extremely oppressive and uh i really didn't like the image of god the father that was being presented to me it was authoritarian and bombastic and the way the clergy and the kind of voices they used to read the scriptures and to say the prayers i felt to be completely ridiculous
06:25
so uh i happened to discover the writings of life carrio hearn about japan and uh i had always been interested because of the oriental art around home and so i knew a lot about china and japan but when i discovered his writings and his descriptions of buddhism i was enthralled i thought my goodness uh here is some tremendously intelligent way of looking at things instead of listening to people go on do the beloved brethren the scripture be
06:57
with us in sunday places to acknowledge and confess their many of those sins and wickednesses you know and all that stuff so i'm thinking you know this is all of one piece really because at the beginning we heard just a fragment of the onion chant and your preface in which you were saying how difficult it is to find the real person in your autobiography in this book in my own way that i'm delighted to see pantheon a very perceptive house is publishing that uh chiselhurst is the town you remember
07:28
and the people in it you remember the great deal of fondness and they wanted to be connected with nature this is interesting you found i noticed i made a note here people in nature you found them want to be connected what was happening and growing around but the religion they were practicing sort of disconnected them yes i was felt that the religion they were practicing was disconnected with the natural universe in which we lived as if no one would attribute a composition
07:58
by bach to uh the beatles or shostakovich different styles and i felt that the style of whoever it was that was being worshipped in church was completely different from uh the style of whoever it was that had caused the birds the bees and the flowers yeah also you see you speak of rituals i suppose someone said ritual is the opposite of true religion the rituals of ablutions the rituals of going to the toilet the rituals of prayers and hymns and sweaters and all the rituals of furniture too
08:30
and the non-total use i suppose you dwell on that because this concerns your boyhood in in this town yes i uh i like ritual but i it's style and as uh put on i think it was said la still say lum the style is the man and uh i don't do rituals or have anything to do with them because of the belief that they will
09:00
work magic for me but just for their elegance like one would sing or dance ritual is a form of dancing and americans i discovered when i first came to this country seemed to have abandoned ritual when i first came here i used to dress very correctly i wore a black hamburg hat carried a neatly rolled umbrella or a cane and gloves and the immigration officer at montreal where i came through to the united states he said
09:32
why do you carry a cane for you're sick i said no i carry it for swank and he said he was really a very nice fellow but i found as i came i thought that americans were very natural whereas the british were very affected but then i discovered that american naturalism was an affectation that's an affectation too and it's a ritual so we can't avoid written you can't avoid it but the question is uh i'm thinking about the early days you're talking about how you were told
10:04
you must do this you must do that something our delaying whom we both admire opposes so much the must do something and therefore the the chance of the person to be natural becomes unnatural to you yes because that is what we all put over on our children whether we be europeans or americans is you are required to do that which will be acceptable only if you do it voluntarily yeah and that's a double bind yeah it's like saying you must love me and so if i say to my wife darling do you really love me and she says well i'm
10:36
trying my best to do so it's obviously not the answer that i want this thing of course uh nuts is about arty lange and yeah yes we come to you but then we come to the double the name allen itself alan watts and you go into in into the source of things that's a double meaning alan doesn't it yes it means in celtic harmony and in anglo-saxon it means a hound so we have in man then and in you using us if we can use this phenomenon alan watts is our metaphor
11:06
and you are both yes because it's always been my feeling for life that a human being is a coincidence of opposites i am on the one hand extremely interested in religion and the mystical because ever since i can remember i found the universe absolutely amazing the fact that i existed at all seemed astonishing but at the same time i feel that a person who
11:40
is has these interests should also be sensuous and that religion has no business excluding the sensuous aspect of our lives uh in being so uptight about sex for example and uh down on it uh so i i regard my own life as a kind of um i have a foot in both worlds i have a foot in the sky as it were and the foot very much on the earth you speak of this very point uh the foot
12:12
both places the two aspects of man if you repress one by the very nature you must pervert man yes i think you you mentioned the wondrousness the astonishment that you look for on page 184 in my own way you speak of god perhaps you should read it you know this last paragraph it's about the uh the approach to god how people approach god one way others and everywhere i say the word god is more of an excellent exclamation than a proper name it expresses astonishment reverence and even love
12:43
for our reality if you want to put a human face on it that will do if you don't take it literally since we know nothing higher or more mysterious than people and an energy field which peoples can hardly be less intelligent than people certainly events happen in the field that is in the universe which seem absolutely horrible but faith is the gamble that there is some way of understanding or at least accepting them and i do not see what out of other
13:14
attitude a sane person can take well there i mean the idea that by god the phrase we use my god it's an exclamation yes it also could be a furious one or it could be god it could be one yes one of absolute awe and astonishment and so we come to the question of approach toward god he she it you i might be well in this why taught buddhism one spot you speak
13:45
of the origin with which you were raised in the anglican there's a god who's uh he's there powerful at times vindictive the old testament god to some extent there's times vindictive times punitive you know and you're looking for something else yes and so on with christian soldiers is militant you were mentioning that whereas buddhism was something non-militant yes yes well that was the point of dissension uh that i didn't go along with the militant religion
14:15
i thought it uh unnecessary if god is god to show all this armed might was a sign of weakness because the trouble was that the biblical god has understood was patterned on the ancient kings of egypt and persia and chaldea and a king who rules by violence is necessarily afraid and therefore puts on a lot of bombast and requires that people who come to court kneel down because that's a difficult position from
14:47
which to start a fight kneeling down and so i felt that that was a show of weakness and furthermore that god made in that image was even more idolatrous than a god fashioned in wood or stone or brass because the most dangerous idols are not made of material but are made of imagination or conceptual thinking so buddhism although i'm not a missionary for buddhism this must be
15:18
understood i don't give myself today any religious label oh this is funny you know when you get a form to fill out and it says name address age sex and some people write yes under sex so in the same way if i had a entry to fill in religion i just write yes i'm tremendously interested in religion but at the same time i don't think partisanship in religion is intellectually respectable
15:48
now you see buddhism is sometimes called atheism but that's incorrect it's not that buddhist buddhists believe that there is no god they don't believe in any particular conception of god any particular idea they feel that's like trying to grasp water in your fingers or to uh catch space in a net you can't do it or another analogy would be it's like trying to bite your own teeth
16:20
because you are it we have a philosophy which we've inherited from uh most of the western tradition that we as people are not really related to the universe we say i came into this world now we did nothing of the kind we came out of this world in just the same way as say a baby comes out of a womb or an apple comes out of a tree and the apple therefore shows something about the nature of the tree so the human being likewise shows
16:52
something about the nature of the universe the universe is doing us ah so if i so if we can follow the fact the traditional western approach is we came into this world that is the one we're not part of it whereas if i follow you correctly buddhism would say we came out of the world and are in it the connection of nature and man being one and a connection rather than disconnection right and this is particularly true of another
17:23
eastern philosophy which we call taoism uh chinese uh which is underlies uh all sorts of things like judo the gentle way rolling with the punch going with the stream the realization that to sail a boat is more intelligent than to row it going with it always you know it's interesting your friend joseph campbell who is in your book uh the great uh mythologist man of myth joseph campbell
17:53
uh recently and was mentioning you too who was talking about them in as genesis western world has it and eden uh if it's called that and buddhism in the when the discovery of knowledge was made adam and eve were driven out of it whereas in buddhism that part of it that taken into it yes he's written a great deal about this particular problem and uh he points out that
18:25
the division of the world into the positive and the negative and the male and the female in genesis it is the creature that is split and not god whereas in the tradition of the hindus god splits and becomes all this that's pretty funny god splits your slang word two splits he takes off too oh sure and he says to himself man get lost what would you do if you were god you know if you knew everything all possible futures all possible past and you were absolutely in control
18:55
you would find it very boring it'd be like making love to a plastic woman and uh so you would say get lost go into an adventure forget who you are so coming back to the beginnings of of these of the autobiography in my own way you call it and we'll ask you about the the village you lived in or the town chiselhurst and israeli it's endearing you i mean you you find the people you remember them endearing in my own way has its special meaning doesn't it it is of course to do something
19:28
according to the way you like to do it it's also to get in your own way to uh obfuscate yourself to obstruct yourself and uh we all do that for the same reason that i was just now explaining that if you were god you would get in your own way in other words you would uh find being completely in control of everything being completely competent total poor and no nothing adventurous would start unless somehow or other you could get in your own way they'll stumble and so the hebrews say
20:00
that when god created adam he put into adam the yetzer hara which is the wayward spirit see again the word way wayward and i call it the element of irreducible rascality and i i find it very hard to relate to people who are not aware of this in themselves uh if people i really like have a certain glint in their eye which indicates that they are not entirely uh perfect perfect and
20:31
that perfectly would be do i have a glint yeah you should do i guess being perfect would be being plastic i suppose being perfect whereas having both having the mephistopheles as well as the uh the faust or the other guy whoever he might be up wherever i don't know why he's always up or down perhaps is part of man of course it is and so the challenge is there yes this is what you're this is what your autobiography is this is really what i'm saying yes and i'm
21:07
also saying that i realize that as a personality who's in before the public eye alan watts i'm a bit of a fake maybe a genuine fake but still i know that behind the front that i present to the world is a good deal of scotch tape and wire and string and the stuff that holds it together and i say to the reader and i say this to give you courage to go on with your show because you know very well that you've got a lot of wire and stuff holding it
21:40
holding the scene together and that you're not entirely what you look like on the outside and even this very moment it's very fun because you you speak of the show business even use the very phrase itself your business aspect of what you're doing even you and i right now uh using the these microphones you and i right now are playing roles aren't you yes of course we are yeah we're in showbiz yeah and uh they're this but all life is basically showbiz the whole universe is as you look out at it at night the
22:11
fireworks display well we send up fireworks on the 4th of july and so on because we want to celebrate and so in this way the entire universe is a celebration yeah it's funny already lying i remember since both of us admire him uh in the politics of the family he's he's quoting socrates satra watches this waiter and this is probably talking he watches this waiter and the waiters has a certain way of walking you know and talking suddenly this waiter is playing the role of a waiter yes
22:42
that the fantasy may be as real as the very actual thing as the actual or the physical thing he's doing at that moment he too even he's not really a waiter you see i tell the story of a boy i was friends with in school who was going to be a clergyman and he was so set on being a clergyman that he smoked a brand of tobacco called parson's pleasure and had already cultivated the mannerisms associated with clergy and we we all do this in various ways
23:15
i i know i retain my english way of talking even though i live in the united states it's somewhat a corrupted english accent but i find that it's an enormous advantage for me to do so very funny you say this often you find someone from the south uh maintaining a deep south woman or a man deep south oh that's charming you know they said whatever they they think they think what they and it's an act now by this time even uh the great black work singer led belly a richard dyer bennett's a marvelous
23:45
friend of led by he says why do you retain by this time but i lived in new york long enough but he still kept a deep south seemingly illiterate accent led belly had gone beyond it but he in his own mind not consciously but he maintained it you see because it gave him that exotic quality in this other land you see and so a southern belle in chicago almost refuses to lose that southern accent sure so you talk about your british accent i feel the same way about uh oriental people and europeans
24:16
when they speak english with an accent it has a tremendous charm and i never correct them unless they make a mistake that is uh outrageously misleading but they they should always retain the accent and english spoken with an accent after all everybody speaks english yeah but why should they always here's the question why should someone retain an accent that will become unnatural for him to retain if by a certain time he has lost it not to lose the roots
24:46
to get this kind of literacy came from but isn't the maintaining of something deliberately that that gets us down to what we mean by natural and that's a very complicated philosophical question uh i have given up trying to be natural because i really don't know what it would be i live in america to be natural here what should i speak like a hopi or what or like middle west or like i came from boston or like los angeles say los angeles
25:18
and uh so on i don't know so we come to a big question of who decides who decides what is natural this is lange's question again who is the psychiatrist who decides this is a schizophrenic exactly in a society that moment the very i supposed to shout and holler at this might be very healthy rather than the silence if the society itself might be somewhat mad in nature well of course i i take the premise that everything is natural
25:50
although that really doesn't mean or say very much because if you say anything about everything then people wonder what you were saying this is the deepest problem of philosophy because to say the whole universe is the expression of god is perfectly meaningless from a logical point of view so we're talking about step by step mark we're talking about not not to be a specialist to be i like the word generalists can use novel to have an idea of or try to have an
26:22
idea what it's all about but we have to talk then about specific moments and issues don't we yes right rather than yes because all words are like boxes when you say are you male or female are you a democrat or a republican are you a tinker tailor soldier sailor rich man poor man mega man thief and what class do you go you see all words classify but we know although we can't really say that there's underneath all classes something which we call
26:55
existence and we only understand existence by contrast with non-existence so that we can see intuitively that both existence and non-existence of the positive and negative poles of something we can't think about at all because it is us and we can't bite our own teeth and so we cannot conceive what we basically are but some people have got onto it that there is that and therefore they're not afraid of death because they know that's just the negative pole
27:25
in now you see it now you don't is you is or is you ain't well you have to be ain't to be is you wouldn't know that you were alive unless you'd once been dead well we can come no we can also come to something else you know isn't there a certain kind of death while still breathing we come to that that's another use of the word right yeah let's take a slight pause for a moment alan watches my guest and his newest work is a very joyous a very juicy autobiography because it's about himself and about the world
27:57
as he sees it pantheon of the publishers will return in a moment resuming the conversation with alan watts in the subject his autobiography his latest book is 22nd or so and it's in my own way he spoke of death when uh john brown was hanged thoreau offered a sermon to his parishioners at concord there were that sunday parishioners he says this man is dead we know he's dead because he was alive he lived very few people die
28:33
because in order to die you first must live and very most of us run down like a clock he says and leave eulogies mapping up the spot where we left off we tell a quest so we're talking about being alive as a requisite a prerequisite to dying well like being married as a prerequisite to getting [Music] divorced but also being dead is a prerequisite to being alive could could you explain that well now
29:04
imagine abandon all wishful thinking and ask what would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up supposing when you're dead you are so dead that it's as if you had never existed at all not only you but everything else complete total blank when you think about that for a while and you realize that's the way it was before you were born and what happened once can always happen again yeah but don't you see here's the point
29:36
you there was no consciousness before you were born but isn't the very

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: