Relatively uninhibited philosophizings on self and kosmos whenever the mood strikes...
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Alan Watts Revealed and Reconsidered
There are those who maintain that Alan Watts' self-destructive alcoholism, marital infidelities and failures, and other personal shortcomings or, at least, questionable behaviors completely undermine any glowing claims that might be made for his greatness as a philosopher-sage, spiritual authority, or just plain self-described "philosophical entertainer." These idealistic critics would argue that Watts' numerous books and innumerable audio lectures--charming and eloquent though they may be--should be blithely ignored because they are the empty words of a man who knew not of what he spoke or wrote, or were verbal potions peddled by a charlatan or spiritual pretender.
But I watch this video, and I say that not only was Alan Watts no charlatan (for no charlatan could walk and talk like the man in that video), but that he also expressed certain profound truths with such extraordinary eloquence and brilliance that it overrides his faults or, in Wilberian-integral terms, the unevenness of his lines of development. Alan Watts was a flat-out genius of a philosophical entertainer, and this video segment, along with the other segments comprising the entire video, are more impressive and inspiring to me than all of the words I've ever heard uttered by Ken Wilber, Thich Nhat Hanh, Krishnamurti and all of the other spiritual sages I've ever heard in person or on "record" put together, with all due and genuine respect to these remarkable persons in their own right.
Alan Watts was one of a kind whose likes will probably never come our way again. But THANK GOD we have videos like this to remember him by and benefit from. Moreover, if he was a fake, he was probably the most, in his own words, "genuine fake" one could ever hope to be, and that may have more to do with genuine "spirituality" than Watts' critics will ever realize as they pretend to be what they aren't and labor, like Sisyphus, to accomplish what they can't.