Philosophy of Alan Watts

Studying philosophy has been a great passion of mine for some time now. I’ve always loved the way philosophy has a way of changing me and helping me grow as a person, through challenging me to re-think my view of the world and on life itself. It helps me see the bigger picture.

I notice and truly appreciate how philosophy has helped me over the years to be more grateful for everyone and everything I have in my life, for all experiences I’ve gone through, both good and bad, and for all that I’ve achieved so far.

So for today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite monologues from one of my all time favorite philosophers Alan Watts. It’s one that has had a profound impact on me and I hope it inspires you just the same!

Life is NOT a Journey – Remember to Dance and Sing by Alan Watts

The existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at. But that it is best understood by the analogy with music. Because music, as an art form is essentially playful. We say, “You play the piano” You don’t work the piano.

Why? Music differs from say, travel. When you travel you are trying to get somewhere. In music, though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition. The point of the composition. If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest. And there would be composers who only wrote finales. People would go to a concert just to hear one crackling chord… Because that’s the end!

“You are that vast thing that you see far off with great telescopes.”

Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room because that’s where you will arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our conduct. We have a system of schooling which gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded and what we do is put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of, “Come on kitty, kitty.” And you go onto kindergarten and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade. Then, “Come on” first grade leads to second grade and so on. And then you get out of grade school and you got high school. It’s revving up, the thing is coming, then you’re going to go to college… Then you’ve got graduate school, and when you’re through with graduate school you go out to join the world.

Then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming – It’s coming, it’s coming, that great thing. The success you’re working for.


Top 5 Must Reads by Alan Watts

1. Become What You Are

2. The Meaning Of Happiness

3. Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation

4. The Collected Letters of Alan Watts

5. Out of Your Mind: Tricksters, Interdependence, and the Cosmic Game of Hide and Seek


Then you wake up one day about 40 years old and you say, “My God, I’ve arrived. I’m there.” And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.

Look at the people who live to retire; to put those savings away. And then when they’re 65 they don’t have any energy left. They’re more or less impotent. And they go and rot in some, old peoples, senior citizens community. Because we simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line.

If we thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along.

It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

HAVE YOU READ ANY BOOKS OR LISTENED TO ANY MONOLOGUES BY ALAN WATTS?

xo Mirjana Valentin