In a conversation about the world's major religions, and contextually then about Zen - we were discussing Alan Watts and a friend said, "You know, Watts was just making this stuff up." I couldn't help but sense a fragment of disenchantment with this author who was one of few that could inject radical humor into the subject matter in a way that captured many minds including that of the critic.
I was thinking that many authors and scholars feel Watts doesn't deserve the following and adoration because of his narrowly specified writings on Zen - or that he's a whiskey slinging relative contemporary, or perhaps because he so enjoys paradoxically twisting complexity into deliciously sweet and tangible insight - as if only things both serious and looooong dead and gone should be romanticized. But, I thought, hasn't the deep truth and message of spirituality remained the same and so isn't it gorgeous to bring humor, eccentricity and a delicious expression to it all.
And then I thought about how hierarchically obsessed intellectuals jilt Kahlil Gibran for being pop and fundamental i.e., for young students. But would you jilt the rudimentary and widely observed feelings of loud laughter, sweaty sex, the adoration of a wide-eyed child, or quenched thirst?
Indeed the message IS the same, and it's beautiful, and it's coming out of every one of us - or rather, we're coming out of it. And I think I'll continue to pay attention to those voracious lovers and darers of life, the risk takers, and the committed, like Watts. The voice, the rhythm that rocks my soul to the core and impregnates me with the will to be a messenger of this music in my own ridiculous way - and even if only for a few juvenile ears. If they'll watch the neck of the bull, then let them "see the eye of the angel". Born out of this world and into this magic, and so with wild fun - let it play, let it play, let it play.
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