Tao of Philosophy is part of the Essential Lectures Collection. The Tao of Philosophy album began life as the first Essential Lecture series in 1972 after Alan Watts asked his son Mark to compile a collection of core talks. The series looks at issues of identity, our place in nature, and the limits of symbolic thinking.
Originally mastered for cassette, the series was updated and remastered for CD in the mid-90’s, and was also released to public radio as part of the Love is Wisdom program.
I wonder what you mean, when you use the word 'I?’ I've been very interested in this problem for a long long time, and I've come to the conclusion, that what most civilized people mean by that word, is a hallucination. That is to say, a false sense of personal...read more
What is it that you feel when you feel I? I’ll tell you. What do you do when somebody says “Pay attention!” What is the difference between looking at something and taking a hard look at it? And between hearing something and listening intently? What's the difference?...read more
It’s very commonly said that the root of most human unhappiness is the sense that one's life has no meaning. This is, I suppose most frequently said in circles interested in psychotherapy because the feeling of meaninglessness is often equated with the existence of...read more
It is really a very unorthodox and unacademic thing to do to start a discussion with a group of psychologists on the subject of metaphysics, but we have to do that because a lot of people say that their approach to life is scientific, as distinct from metaphysical,...read more
Now, what I want to do is have a mutual brain-picking session and I’m going to start the ball rolling by saying why I, as a philosopher, am interested in many things that you are all probably interested in professionally. Basically, what we are going to talk about I...read more
The Western model of the universe is political, and engineering or architectural. And therefore as one understands the operations of a machine by analysis of its parts, by separating them into their original bits, we have “bitted” the cosmos, and see everything going...read more
I believe that if we are honest with ourselves, that the most fascinating problem in the world is “Who am I?” What do you mean, what do you feel when you say the word “I”, “I, Myself”? I do not think there can be any more fascinating preoccupation than that because it...read more
As we study man or any other living organism and try to describe him accurately and scientifically, we find that our normal sensation of ourselves as isolated egos inside a bag of skin is a hallucination. It really is it’s absolutely nutty, because when you describe...read more
In my talk last night I was discussing the disparity between the way in which most human beings experience their own existence, and the way man's being and nature is described in the sciences. I was pointing out that in such sciences as ecology and biology, ecology...read more
So then, here is a conception of nature as something you must trust; outside nature - the birds, the bees, the flowers, the mountains, the clouds, and inside nature, human nature. Now nature isn’t trustworthy, completely. It will sometimes let you down with a wallop,...read more
Tonight at any rate we’ve got to go through some theoretical material so we’re on a head-trip. I don’t know where the trip will end up, it depends on you. But in order to lay the foundation for this, we have to examine ideas that are basic to our common sense. Ideas...read more
We notice that all these suchnesses appear and disappear; they keep changing, they come and they go. But if you get hung up on your particular form, I’ll have to alter the language a little bit, because you see, your form makes a duality, whereas you are your form,...read more