Alan Watts looks at different ways of seeing yourself and the world around you, revolving around the idea that every perspective is relative and every conscious being sees itself as center of the world/universe. Related: Animals And Humans Share DNA, A Nervous System, Intelligence, Creativity And Emotions
Alan Watts illuminates the connections between Taoism and relativity, technology and human evolution, culture and separation, Saints and rascals, you and not-you, as well as difference and unity.
Taoism & Relativity, Technology & Human Evolution
Exploring the innate tension which constitutes our feeling of ‘I-ness,’ ‘there-ness,’ of being here as a self-conscious human, Alan uncovers the fundamental connection between Taoism and relativity. Offering perspective on human evolution and technology, Alan illustrates how unique, outwardly distinct parts can fit together into a working, whole system.
“We realize we wouldn’t be healthy as a total organism unless there were all these wars, plots, and politics going on between the various cells in our blood. But from their point of view, they feel a little bit put out. We’re in the same situation, because very slowly the human beings on the surface of the planet are realizing themselves into a total planetary organism with an electronic nervous system.” – Alan Watts
Separation & Culture, Saints & Rascals (15:25)
Taking a look at the human body and it’s dynamics, Alan describes how most of us are fighting the external world all the time, constantly trying to hold ourselves together. From this perspective of the learned illusion of seperation, Alan depicts how our culture and class insulates us from the realities of life, and therefore our innate oneness. Alan then elucidates the overlapping connection between Saints and rascals.
“We have been brought up to feel separate. We have been brought up to feel actually disjoined from the external world; although, that is pure mythology and doesn’t exist at all. You’re as much part of the external world as a whirlpool is part of a stream.” – Alan WattsYou & Not-You,
Difference & Unity (28:10)
Are you breathing or is it breathing you? Speaking to the notion that every living being is a manifestation of everything that there is, Alan peels back the veil of separation, lifting the pertinent illusion that what you define as ‘you’ and ‘not-you’ are separate things. Illuminating the innate relativity between ego and oneness—between yin & yang—Alan relays how difference and differentiation is actually the way in which unity is discovered.
“The feeling of ‘not-you’ and the feeling of ‘you’ are relative. They go together, and you can’t have the one without the other. And if you can’t have one without the other, that means there’s a secret conspiracy between the two – they are really the same, but pretending to be different. Because the whole idea is, if there wasn’t a difference, you wouldn’t know anything was happening.” – Alan Watts