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Remembering Alan Watts:
January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973

159 words

Alan Watts was born on this day in 1915. A prolific scholar and dazzling stylist, Watts is best known as the chief popularizer of Asian philosophy for the Beat and Hippy movements, but he was also an original thinker in his own right and a quiet man of the Right. In commemoration of his birth, I wish to draw your attention to these works at Counter-Currents:

Note: James O’Meara’s essays on Watts have been collected in his book Magick for Housewives: Essays on Alt-Gurus (Manticore, 2018)

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  1. Richard
    Posted January 6, 2019 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    Watts was before my time, but i discovered him in the early noughties, when we could still download from file-sharing programs like Piratebay, and i downloaded and listened to probably evey recorded talk Watts ever gave. There were many dozens of them.
    I guess that was my eastern-wisdom-phase like Watts’ contemporaneous hippy fans went through 40 years earlier. Eastern mysticism was a little more exotic back in the 60s, but it had been an enduring fringe topic in the west since Blavatsky, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti in the early 20th century.
    Watts was extremely knowledgable of eastern religion but also of Christianity, as he was an ordained prist I think. He also had a quirky, eccentric British sense of humour, which i related to. I sense there was some controversy in his past but never discovered what it was.
    But i did conclude eventually that his penchant for eastern culture/spirituality and criticism of western, Christian culture and of Christianity itself was just like the cultural-Marxist self-hatred of all things western that has proliferated of late.
    And i also found Watts’ implicit theme that eastern religious tradition has more wisdom than Christianity is wrong, as there is deep and profound wisdom in the Christianity. Watts was just an early proponent of western cultural cringe and as the present left do, fails to appreciate the depth and richness of our own culture because it’s like explaining water to fish.

  2. Posted January 6, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Alan watts has such a great sense for words, for defining important perspective perspectives together. What an awesome treat to be part of such a masterfully discribing creation with him.

  3. Wesbter
    Posted January 7, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Frank Herbert, the “Dune” author was friends with Alan Watts and was deeply influenced by him, especially with regard to Buddhist philosophies. Herbert was hard to categorize politically, he varied career before his success as a sci-fi writer. Nevertheless, he was an anti-Communist and a speechwriter for Republican Senator Guy Gordon of Oregon, so was more of the Right than Left.

  4. Djuka
    Posted January 8, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Valuable if less than unambiguously positive figure.

    I very much doubt that he would support the current day traditionalist/pagan Right.

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