Quotations by Watts, Alan


You see, a philosopher is a sort of intellectual yokel who gawks at things that sensible people take for granted.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
“The Relevance of Oriental Philosophy” (c. 1964)
    (Source)

Collected in Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life, ch. 6 (2006). Variant: "A philosopher is a sort of intellectual yokel who gawks at things, like existence, that ordinary people take for granted."
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The problem is that the philosopher of today has lost his wonder, because wonder, in modern philosophy, is something you must not have; it is like enthusiasm in eighteenth-century England — it is very bad form.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
“The Relevance of Oriental Philosophy” (c. 1964)
    (Source)

Collected in Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life, ch. 6 (2006).
Added on 5-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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This is more or less what I would do if I had the power to dream every night of anything I wanted. Some months I would probably fulfill all the more obvious wishes. There might be palaces and banquets, players and dancing girls, fabulous bouts of love, and sunlit gardens beside lakes, with mountains beyond. There would next be long conversations with sages, contemplation of supreme works of art, hearing and playing music, voyages to foreign lands, flying out into space to see the galaxies, and delving into the atom to watch the wiggling wavicles. But the night would come when I might want to add a little spice of adventure — perhaps a dream of dangerous mountain climbing, of rescuing a princess from a dragon, or, better, an unpredictable dream in which I do not know what will happen. Once this has started, I might get still more daring. I would wish to dream whole lifetimes, packing seventy years into a single night. I would dream that I am not dreaming at all, that I will never wake up, that I have completely lost myself somewhere down the tangled corridors of the mind, and, finally, that I am in such excruciating agony that when I wake up, it will be better than all possible dreams.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
Beyond Theology, ch. 2 “Is It Serious?” (1964)
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You know that if you get in the water and have nothing to hold on to, but try to behave as you would on dry land, you will drown. But if, on the other hand, you trust yourself to the water and let go, you will float. And this is exactly the situation of faith.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) Anglo-American philosopher, writer
The Way of Liberation
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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