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Article posted Aug 30 2007, 12:54 AM Category: Resistance Source: Print

Alan Watts - A Conversation with Myself

Alan Watts discusses how we have confused the system of simple symbols we have invented with the actual complexity of the real world, and that our idea of the "self" is really an illusion.

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Comments 21 - 32 of 32 Add Comment < Page of 2

Posted: Sep 02 2007, 5:33 PM

"Sounds like working on you psychological self for "Wholeness," "Intergration." I mean to speak of the Transcendental Self, not the conventional self that uses self analysis, but Meditation upon the self to attain the transcendental Self."

if, by this, you mean introspection, then I completely agree and understand. If not, could you kindly try to explain what this means?

thanks, this has been fun!!

edit: Oh, yeah, Alan Watts... I like him because he has such a totally different perspective on things than I do, but seems I agree with him more often than not.

Posted: Sep 02 2007, 6:51 PM

2463 "introspection" will do. I am talking about the "self" not the parts of the psyche or self like, feelings, thoughts, motives, etc.that introspection involves.

"Meditation" on the self would be the word i'm after. An Indian technic of Meditation is to repeat a "mantra" such as OM which focuse the mind.

This is not condidered introspection per se but Meditation. In meditation one has feeling andt thoughts but the mind focuses on the mantra OM.

Posted: Sep 02 2007, 9:19 PM

A trouble amongst us seekers of spirit soul or self (rejection of scientific materialism - or veneered aetheism), with a predominance of western 'bhuddist' philosophy, is the quagmire of subjectivism ( with the grand admission that however others do exist, and you won't therefore kill us all....also, no doubt because Guatama says don't harm others).

Is Buddha dead? Is Buddha god? Is Buddha purely our subjective experience (not really known)?

Subjective experience is qualitative experience - of life in play (bliss) or transcendence (back to reality) or darkness (suffering). Never to be duplicated, but the object, e.g. an embodied, being may still is not known through it's form (or where it is) , but through interaction. Perhaps that is also what is referred to as 'lila' or pastimes/enjoyments/sport of Krishna.
How transcendental can a world be!?

Philosophically, Subjective and Objective are dualisms, of very limited meaning (precise designations), something perceived or acted upon (material or embodied life) and a something experienced as a result, or in the doing. Which means things exist, albeit illusory, and things are known....but how are they known?
There's very little to know about material forms philosophically, just that they are temporary manifestations and require seeds from parents for life, and are not self-illumined. Other than that they have various qualities to (our) life's senses.
Of all the shapes in this natural world, only a dormant seed comes close to a form which is bound: where does the ground stop and the sky begin (with vapours rising out of the ground), and my body. The many forms are interconnected in form even. Nontheless, yes I am usually bound by my material body.

Those designations, subjective and objective describe life, but are no snapshot, let alone play - they are no substitute for life.

'Subjectivity' unfortunately has the connotation of 'all in the mind' and therefore illusory, which is no different from matter! But what it really refers to is the illusory nature of the experience of the material world. That doesn't mean it is worthless....both the pain and pleasure are worth something, the experience is the teacher. The subject (self) however is the one constant, always existing.

if you want to take things further you can go on speculating forever, and be wrong.

When we speak or recount experience, however we only relate art of the experience: we stop it short when we stop to look at it. We speak to impress, or trap, teach, justify, spur, or whatever. Until we are fully realised, or quote only authentic teachings from those who know, we cannot help, but only continue to be lost - that is why religion, or science of god, acceptance of verified scripture, is so important, prime importance for us all to live together and evolve. Who verifies the scripture, a ha? Most people who denounce scripture never read it. Verify it yourself. To my mind, if all this can be created, God can surely write a book for our benefit! Try telling that to a scientist.

Life is not created by matter. Life IS, and selves could be more than the sum of all bodies on this planet. You, your self are not God the creator, but a spark with the same qualities, as of fire, and eternal. How can God's intelligence not surpass yours, how can you have qualities god doesn't? God cannot be a sum of the parts which is less than the whole. If God is more than the sum of the parts, then that is very powerful, intelligent, knowing, person.

Living according to Nature (on earth) for humans is a discovery of true self, is religion, and must be humble: seeking our true human purpose here is bound up with living without destroying the biosphere, because it is not trying to lord it over nature, but accepting nature as God's creation in wisdom, not ours to own and identify with in false material conceptions born out of self-identity with the material body and possessions. This has to be taught to our children, and in our work, because without that then we drift into materialism and all its evils.

But I am not a Guru. Humbly, I owe my learning to the great scriptural traditions,as well as the delightful and humble example of people living traditionally in cultures all over, which are themselves threatened by arrogance of those who call them backward, undeveloped, or poor.

Posted: Sep 02 2007, 9:40 PM

As I understand it, Self and ego" are confused. Self is more naturally understandable ( eg. by children) - YOU, ME, but you cannot see it when the heart (you) is covered by material contamination's - 'memories' as karma (the psychologist's subconscious)...that is if it is not your body we are referring to.

Ego is a mental disposition, like defending conceptual self, even if based upon an illusory self - i.e the self-identity with body, or what others think of you etc.. But self is higher than mind - a functioning reflection, which is an attribute of self.

The real self may be a mystery to ourselves, but that does not mean it doesn't exist as eternal you. Even if 'eternal you' boggles the mind in service to the illusory material world and material body.

Can the self be material? matter cannot produce, it is produced and compounded. It is non-permanent and therefore illusory. Don't confuse illusory self-identification with real self, which is life itself.

You cannot see non-material with organic material eyes. The self is self-illumined, like the sun. This world, and worldly eyes are in darkness: you need the help of the light of the sun to see even your arm or a tree: all is dark. Similarly, the self is not illumined by mind, which is merely reflective, not luminary.

Higher than mind is the intelligence to direct it: Remove the material coverings to see the self, by being humble, not trying to lord it over material nature, or creation, which has laws.

Shunyata is a state, but not an ultimate truth. It's merely the ego-less state of quietude. It tells you nothing about true self, only (temporary) suspension of false self. Quite a relief, sure. It takes you nowhere else, but you return to false self (fall), until the real self is known, uncovered realised. The mind in shunyata cannot perceive the real self, because it is a qualitative experience, not a self, not a person - life. Out of shunyata, the mind will continue as deluded.

You're right, you don't need philosophy, or speculation, yet you need a rational (non-deceptive)mind in service to a humble heart that seeks it's relationship to the well-spring of Life (god, creator, all knowing, all-attractive, original person etc..) without pretension (false material coverings). Animals don't think or put faith in hidden forces - creative life. They do live in harmony with nature, all is provided - they don't have economic crises. But they don't have the free will to compete with god and nature.

Self is covered by false bodily identification and sense gratification, the continuation of karma. The body is a suit of clothes that takes the shape of your expression - your desires, your hopes and your deceptions.

Contrary to contemporary western Buddhist philosophy, the real self is what exists eternally, and is therefore highest truth, not emptiness. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness. That is an antidote to false conceptions of materialism, a wisdom that sees the way produced things exist, but the highest truth is eternal life, beyond dualism of emptiness and form.

Posted: Sep 02 2007, 11:33 PM

>>>>>Now, the Buddha goes as far as to say even this Self or Aman does not exist.<<<<<

I'm not convinced the Buddha said that. Isn't that a misconception amongst western buddhists? (no self being the highest state). I thought he gave no answer, and instead taught emptiness of self identity with this world and body to materialists.

Posted: Sep 03 2007, 6:00 AM


words don't work to describe it at all. When we use objective language to describe something purely subjective, we always fall short. I like Leibniz, he didn't try to describe things exactly as they are, but used metaphor instead. Same with the oldest religious tales and legends. Works better for me that way.

Problem is, those old religions have been changed. They have made selflessness a virtue. They have long lists of rules that people are to obey, or else. Being in service to God is no less dehumanizing than being in service to the State. What we need to do is to be True to ourselves, whatever it is that we really are, deep down inside. Know who you are, find the truth that lies within.

and you know what? your truth might not be the same as mine, and so what? doesn't make it any less true.

Posted: Sep 03 2007, 8:40 AM

2463 >>>>>Now, the Buddha goes as far as to say even this Self or Aman does not exist.<<<<<

bolly wrote:
>>>>>>I'm not convinced the Buddha said that. Isn't that a misconception amongst western buddhists? (no self being the highest state). I thought he gave no answer, and instead taught emptiness of self identity with this world and body to materialists. <<<<<<

I was right and wrong about what the Buddha said about the Self/Atman.
Where Hinduism believed in the Atman the Buddha taught:
Rather than directing his listeners to discover Atman, the Buddha taught that all clinging to concepts and ideas of a self are faulty and based on ignorance.

Posted: Sep 03 2007, 12:51 PM

2463 Phillipine inmates sing and dance in prison. Who would think. This is beautifull.

Posted: Sep 03 2007, 1:02 PM

2463 and this:

very spiritual. "there isn't an OCEAN too deep...."

Posted: Jun 07 2010, 2:28 AM

68169 @Friendstacy:
know pain,no pain.
You state well the thing that should be obvious to us all but is not

Posted: Nov 28 2010, 11:01 PM

6947 Alan watts is an idiot.

Posted: Apr 15 2014, 3:17 PM

91182 ..." Think of getting two solipsists in a room together and each one will say "I exist and you don't" Which one is right?

Answer : both don't exist. Everything, including this forum and all his intervenants is only my imagniation
Comments 21 - 32 of 32 < Page of 2

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