Alan Watts was a philosopher born in Britain in 1915. He’s best known as the popularizer of Eastern philosophy in the West, the United States and Europe. He moved to the US in 1938 and began training in Zen in New York.
Watts had a huge following in the bay area of San Francisco. He wrote more than 25 books and articles on Eastern and Western religion. His most famous is The Way of Zen, published in 1957.
He left this world in 1973, but he didn’t leave a void behind him. His writings still permeate our consciousness today. These are our eight favorite quotes by Alan Watts.
“The problem comes up because we ask the question in the wrong way. We supposed that solids were one thing and space quite another, or just nothing. Then it appeared that space was no mere nothing, because solids couldn’t do without it.”
“But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable, like the front end and the rear end of a cat. Cut them apart, and the cat dies.”
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
“If you really understand Zen… you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because… the sound of the rain needs no translation.”
“You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are.”
“How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”