Talk:Alan Watts

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Cscr-former.svg Alan Watts is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
May 10, 2005 Featured article candidate Not promoted

Koan[edit]

"Although in one Koan Zhaozhou is said to have answered that a Dog does not have Buddha nature, in a different Koan from the same period Zhaozhou answered the same question in the positive, demonstrating the disagreements between the sects of 'walking monks' and 'sitting monks' that go back thousands of years."

What?! How could anyone read the koan and come to that conclusion? Almost anything you about the koan anywhere will refute this, since the correct 'doctrinal' answer is that yes, a dog 'has' buddha nature, but of course Zhaozhou is not answering the question as a simple affirmation or denial. Maybe if you didn't know what a koan was and found it decontextualized somewhere (with the commentary removed) you would argue this but anyone with any knowledge of zen knows this is just dead wrong (just look at the wikipedia article for the koan, or basically any commentary written since it appeared). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.65.227.21 (talk) 21:54, 6 March 2013 (UTC)


Images[edit]

We need an image for the infobox, and more for the rest of the article. Viriditas (talk) 02:09, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I found that this image of Alan is much nicer and less austere than the one previously hosted, as he is almost smiling.--Rainnelliott (talk) 09:22, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't see any image currently, just a photo of a stone sculpture. Is this deliberate? David Spector (user/talk) 15:05, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Early years[edit]

This section needs expansion and citations. Viriditas (talk) 02:07, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Death[edit]

How is it that the article does not explain how he died? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.232.177.79 (talk) 17:35, 15 June 2011 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done

Alan Watts Renaissance through Internet-Video[edit]

Someone should really start a section on this. The web-video culture around his stuff is amazing, there are many lectures with over half a million views and many many others that have been privately reproduced tens of times... The wave of revolution that he started at his time is coming big 100 times more powerful today, through the Internet and his brilliant ability to articulate what so many are trying. --Procrastinating@talk2me 16:07, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Thers should be mention of the matt stone and trey parker animated piece and his use in 'spiritual atheism'. Gabbyyellow 10:42, 22 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gabbyyellow (talkcontribs) Yes check.svg Done

University offers the only course on Alan Watts -- Not that unusual[edit]

There is a section that says Saybrook University Saybrook Graduate School offers the only course in the world on Alan Watts. That's not all that unusual and I think it should be considered removed. Why? Because how a university comes to have a course is 99% of the time dependent on what interests the teacher (i.e., the professor, lecturer, or graduate student-teacher) has. I am a graduate student and I have offered my own courses before, courses that were not taught elsewhere before. It's not all that unusual, really, and nothing worth mentioning.

What would be unusual, however, would be if a university offered a degree on Alan Watts Philosophy. Now that would mean there is a whole programme to look at Alan Watts. Obviously, this isn't the case at Saybrook University Saybrook Graduate School.

Consider removing that point in the article that Saybrook University Saybrook Graduate School offers the only course in the world on Alan Watts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.126.220.162 (talk) 04:21, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the editor above that the entry for one University having a course about Alan Watts doesn't belong here. For one thing the entry is not sourced and could be removed on that matter alone. Second (especially without a source that says this) how do we know that there is no other course about Alan Watts at some university somewhere? --MLKLewis (talk) 17:33, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Disagree. While I agree that the fact of only one course is not unusual, it is still significant that some university does offer an ongoing course. I agree that a reference is needed. David Spector (user/talk) 15:10, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

The fact of a course being offered may be significant, but as pointed out, it is impossible to reference its uniqueness, despite the claim of Saybrook College, and thereby raising an eyebrow about that claim itself. Jackaroodave (talk) 04:59, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Mother[edit]

The early life section says his mother was a housewife, but according to Watts himself, his mother "taught physical education at a school in England which was specially designed for the daughters of missionaries to China". Viriditas (talk) 06:53, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

In the absence of a reliable public reference, the word of Alan Watts should be sufficient, if a reference to that can be found. David Spector (user/talk) 15:13, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Lists[edit]

Do you think this should be added to the "list of British philosophers"? I don't know how to add it, myself :( 66.46.112.60 (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, but I don't know either.--Rainnelliott (talk) 09:24, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done --Arno Matthias (talk) 14:10, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Alcoholism[edit]

Why has the reference to his alcoholism been removed? It feel it's essential to understanding Watts as a complex and multi-layered personality. Should we perhaps remove the same references on the Kerouac page aswell? --Torsrthidesen (talk) 07:45, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Very strongly agree with the above comment. If I had not lent out the biography in which this is well referenced I would re-insert a section on this. --Steve M Kane (talk) 10:55, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not in the business of publishing hagiographies - it is an encyclopedia, and should include all relevant information - and this most certainly is. He could "talk the talk" but could he "walk the walk"? The whole dynamic of his drinking "He could not *be Alan Watts* (for public appearances) without drinking a bottle of vodka" And the necessity of doing ever more well paid talks to pay a lot of money in child support, possibly to salve his conscience at abandoning his wives and children - and how this shed light on his views on marriage. All this should be in and referenced. Like I said the biography "Zen Effects" by Monica Furlong (not a sensationalist person in the least) has all this in it, but I don't have my copy.--Steve M Kane (talk) 11:06, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

This biography also appeared under the title "Genuine Fake"--Steve M Kane (talk) 11:22, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

A philosopher, who writes and talks about religions therefore has to be a holy man? What an extraordinarily stupid argument. Nietzsche was no ubermensch? Down with his Zarathustra! --Arno Matthias (talk) 20:14, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree that a philosopher of enlightenment need not be enlightened; also agree that his alcoholism and alleged family abandonments belong in the article if reliable references can be found. David Spector (user/talk) 15:19, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
He was not really a philosopher of enlightenment, but a preacher of enlightened. Being alcoholic indeed is relevant here. OsmanRF34 (talk) 01:02, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Reading about Watt's drinking, especially before his preaching, makes him a much more rounded and sympathetic person to me. Knowing him through some of his fans, I had always thought of him as a glib "No mind? No sweat!" zen entrepreneur. Frankly, I doubt anyone can really "walk the walk," and in a melancholy way, it's to his credit that his contradictions burned him so deeply. It also may shed light on Sunryu Suzuki's characterizing him as a great boddhisattva. He continued to hold the door open for others at great cost to himself. Jackaroodave (talk) 04:28, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I have reinserted mention of Watts' drinking, and here is my reasoning: According to the article revision history, the original mention of his potential alcoholism specifically stated that alcoholism contributed to his death. That statement was removed by an anonymous user on 06:49, 8 November 2011‎ as being speculative, and that removal seems appropriate given that the source (Furlong biography) does not state any medical opinion of his death being related to alcohol. However, Furlong does describe in detail in several places in the book that his friends and family were concerned over his drinking, so that is how I've described it in my edit. If reference to his drinking is to be removed, then an argument must be made that it is not relevant to the wiki article. The argument cannot be based on lack of citation, given that this same source is used throughout this wiki article. It's not fair to refute only one part of a source, unless the refutation comes from a different source. And in that latter case, the article should state that sources disagree on this point. Jmattthew (talk) 00:07, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Dates of KPFA broadcasts?[edit]

I have to question the statement that Watts's weekly broadcasts on radio station KPFA continued until his death. I lived in Berkeley from late 1967 to 1975 and was an avid listener of KPFA, but I do not recall ever hearing him on that station. During that time KPFA sent a monthly newsletter to subscribers which included a program grid, but I do not recall seeing his name there either. I just now searched for "Alan Watts" in the Pacifica Radio Archive. The search came up with over 100 items. I randomly examined a dozen or so -- I found a couple that said they were broadcast in 1966, and a fair number broadcast in 1960, but none between 1967 and his death. Tomtab (talk) 21:25, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Publications[edit]

Pictogram voting question.svg Question: I find it very strange that none of Watt's books has an individual article. Some of his books were very popular and remain so today, while others are important scholarly works. Has this issue been discussed?

I will add a stub for TAO: The Watercourse Way, which is a broken wikilink here & on several other pages. D A Patriarche, BSc (talk) (talk) 00:52, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

  • This appears to be a misuse of the RfC process and an attempt at circumvent WP:NOTAFORUM. If you think an article should be written, then research and write it. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (Talk) 16:12, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree, this is just the usual case of missing content, which is why we are all still editing here. find sources, add an article. What we need is a free image. I think we can agree mr watts would be all for cc licenses, at least for some information.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 18:37, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Point taken; I was just concerned that for some (perhaps good) reason an earlier consensus had been reached not to write articles for the individual books. My Watts collection is mostly in storage, but I will add a few articles as & when I can. I have commented out the inappropriate rfc. D A Patriarche, BSc (talk) (talk) 00:20, 22 July 2014 (UTC)