Alan Watts – Escape Societies Brainwashing



the function of a Zen teacher is to put his students in all kinds of situations we're in the normal course of social relations they would get stuck by asking nonsensical questions by making absurd remarks by or always of unhinging things and above all keeping them stirred up with impossible demands to hear the sound of one hand to without moving stop a ship sailing out on the water or to stop the sound of a train whistle in the distance magic to touch the ceiling without getting up to amongst chair to take the four divisions of Tokyo out of your sleeve to take Mount Fuji out of the Kobach's all these impossible questions are asked and in the ordinary way of interpreting these questions we think well now be how could we do that see that's very difficult question that's been asked and you have to think what would I do to do that because we are caught up in a certain way of discourse which the language game that we play and the social game the production gains and the survival games that we play are good games but we take them so seriously that we think that that is the only important thing and this is to unstick us from that notion and realize that it would be just as good a game to drop dead now as to go on living is a lightning flash bad because it lives for a second as compared with the Sun that goes on for billions of years you can't make that sort of comparison because the world is like mingoes also with the world rebels of son and vice versa so long-lived creatures and shortness creatures go together that's the meaning of that saying flowering branches grow naturally some short some long so this n is a scene in in a zen community where the spontaneous behavior is encouraged within certain limits and as the student becomes more and more used to it those limits are expanded until eventually he can be trusted to go out on the street and behave like a true Zen character and get by perfectly well you know what occasionally happens on the street when two people are walking down the sidewalk straight at each other and they both decide to move to the right together and then to the left together and they somehow get stuck and they can't pass each other then teachers will pull just exactly that sort of stunt when going down a path and meet one of their students to see if they can get him in a tangle and can you escape from it and you will find in everyday life that there is a very clear distinction between people who always seem to be self possessed and people who are desiring and nervous and don't quite know how to react in any given situation always getting embarrassed because they have their life to strongly programmed you said I mean this is a common marriage argument you said you would do such and such a thing at such and such a time and now you've changed your plans not that they really the change of plans really caused any inconvenience just the feeling that when you say you will do something at a certain time you ought to do it at that time come hell or high water well that's being very unadaptable that's being a stone kind of sticky thing if it after all doesn't matter when we do it and as if somebody is offended because the time instant chase that's simply because they are attached to punctuality as a fetish and this is one of the great problems this is causes many automobile accidents men rushing home to be on time for dinner when they stayed late either working or they had to stop for a drink of some bar or when the girl feels that she has to if she has a fussy husband and she feels she has to have the dinner ready at exactly a certain moment she ruins the cooking he'd rather have a faithful wife and a bad cook how about not riding on your toes so you see we spend an awful lot of energy trying to make our lives fit images of what life is or should be which they could never possibly sit so then practice is in getting rid of these images but it's it's so explosive socially to do that and it's so various people they get vertigo they get dizzy they don't know which end is up and this happens you know if you've ever been in one of those blab blab sessions where they call them tea groups I think it's all something like that where the people gather together without any clear idea of what this gathering is about they know it's somehow self-exploration but just how do you begin on that and so somebody starts to push his idea and then somebody else says well why you tried to push your idea on us and then they all get into an argument about the argument and the most amazing confusion come about that sometimes they all see what idiots they're being and then they learn to live together in a they open and spontaneous way there was a very interesting dinner party once where the Zen master was present and there was a geisha girl who served so beautifully and had such style that he suspected she must have some Zen training and after a while he when she paused the silly sake cup he bowed to her and said I'd like to give you a present and she said I would be most honored and he took the iron chopsticks that are used for the hibachi with charcoal brazier moving the charcoal around he picked up a piece of red hot charcoal and gave it slip well she instantly she had very long sleeves on her kimono she weld the sleeves round her hands and took the hot charcoal withdrew to the kitchen dump it and changed her kimono because it was thought through then she came back into the room and after a suitable interval she stopped before the Zen master and bowed to him and said I would like to give you sir present I would be very much honored of course he was wearing a kimono or something like this and so she picked up a piece of coal I've offered it to him he immediately produced a cigarette and said thank you that's just what I need it now you know in the same way that we have this in our culture certain people who are communal who know how to make jokes and gags in a completely unprepared situation face them with anything and they somehow come through so that is exactly the same thing in a special domain as then only it will be master of them does this in every life situation but the important thing is to be able to do this this is the secret you must remember you can't make a mistake now that's a very difficult thing to do because from childhood up we have had to conform to a certain social game and if you'll go to conform to this game you can make mistakes or not make mistakes so this thing is gone into it all the time you must do the right thing there's certain conduct appropriate here a certain context appropriate there and that sticks in us and gives us a double self all our lives long because we never grow up you realize that the whole of life plays a game which is a childhood game if there are three kinds of people top people middle people of bottom people and there can't be any middle people and let's to the bottom people and top people accompany any top people unless to the middle and bottom people and so it goes and everybody's trying to be in a top set well if they're going to be there has got to be someone on the bottom set and the people who do the right thing and people do the wrong thing you hear in Sausalito we have this very very plainly there are the right people nice people who live up on the hill then there are the nasty people who live down here on the waterfront and they grow beards and they wear blue jeans and they smoke marijuana and whether the other people on the top of Hill Drive Cadillacs and have wall-to-wall carpeting and nicely mowed lawn and their particular kind of poison is alcohol now the people who live on the top of the hill know that they're nice people but they wouldn't know they were nice people unless they had some nasty people to compare themselves with every in-group requires an output whereas the nasty people think they are the real far-out people whereas those people those Hillbillies the squares and they wouldn't be able to feel far out unless there were squares see these things simply go together but when that is not seen we play the game of getting on top of things all the time and so we're in a constant state of competition as to if it's not I'm stronger than you it's I'm wiser than you I'm more loving than you I'm more tolerant than you I'm more sophisticated than you it doesn't matter what it is that this constant competition is going on in terms of that competition we can of course lose place and in that sense make mistakes but what a Zen student is is a person who is not involved in the status game that's the real meaning of a monk he is not keeping up with the Joneses and to be a master he must get to the point where he's not trying to be a master the whole idea of your your being better than anybody else simply doesn't make any sense at all it is totally meaningless because you see everybody manifesting the Marvel of the universe in the same way as the Stars do and the water and the wind and the animals and you see them all as being in their right places and not being able really to make mistakes although they may think they're making mistakes or not making mistakes and playing all these competitive games but that's their game now I only say if that game begins to boil and it begins to trouble you and give you alphas and all kinds of things then you raise the problem of getting out of it and therefore you start to become interested in things like then that is simply a symptom of your growing in a certain direction where you are tired of playing a certain kind of game you are as naturally flowing in another direction as if a tree were putting out a new branch so because you say oh well we people are interested in higher things you see that depends still on the differentiation of rank between the superior and the inferior people but when you begin to see through that and grow out of that you don't think anymore of this superior and inferior classification you don't think we are spiritual people who attend to higher things as distinct from these morons are only interested in beer and television this is simply our particular form of life like there are crabs and there are spiders and there are sharks and there are sparrows and so on the trouble with the human being is like the trouble with certain animals like the dinosaur who evolved to the point where he was so big did he have to have two brains a higher self in the head and a lower self in the rump and the difficulty was to get these two brains coordinated but we have exactly the same trouble and we are suffering from a kind of jitters that comes from being two brained now you see I'm not saying that that jitters is bad it's a potential step in evolution and an opportunity of growth but remember in the process of growth the oak is not better than the Acorn because what does it do it produces acorns or you could say just I like I sometimes enough to say that a chicken is one eggs way of becoming others so an oak is an acorn way of becoming other acorns where is the point of superiority the first verse of that time I just quoted the flowering branches grow naturally some short some long the first verse is in the landscape of spring there is nothing superior and nothing inferior the flowering branches are naturally some short some long so that's the point of view of being an outcast in the sense of being outside the taking seriously of being involved in the social game and therefore being threatened by making mistakes of doing the wrong thing that is to say of carrying into adult life one's childhood conditioning where somebody is constantly yammering at you to play the game so therefore the preachers and the teachers take the same attitude towards their adult congregation the parents take two children and lecture them and tell them what they should do and judges in courts feel also entitled to give people lectures because they say those criminal types haven't grown up but neither have the judges it takes two to make a quarrel so one can begin to think in a new way in the polarity thinking instead of being stuck with the competitive thinking of the good guys and the bad guys the cops of the robbers the capitalists and the Communists the all these things which are simply childishness now of course you recognize that if I at the moment I say that it's like talking in English in order to show that the English language has limitations and I am talking in a language that seems competitive to show that the competitive game has limitations if I was saying to all you cats here look I have something to tell you that if you get this you will be at a better position than you were before you heard it but I cannot speak to this group or the society or this language speaking culture without using the language the gestures the customs etc that you have the Zen masters try to get around this by doing things suddenly that people just don't get well what is this therefore that is the reason why this is a real reason why then cannot be explained you have to make as it were they jump from the valuation game of better people and worse people in-groups and out-groups and you can only make it by seeing that they all are mutually interdependent so if we take this situation let's say I would be talking to you and saying look I have some very special thing that you've got to take notice of therefore I am the in-group and I'm the teacher and you are the out-group I know perfectly well that I cannot be the teacher unless you come in and so that my estate is in my position is totally dependent on you it isn't something you see therefore I have first and then you get these things arise mutually so if you wouldn't come I wouldn't talk I wouldn't know what the same hahaha because I borrowed your language so that that is the insight that things go together then when you see that and aren't in competition then you don't make a mistake because you don't do this when I first learned the piano and played these wretched scales the teacher beside me had a pencil in my hand and she hit my fingers every time I made a lot wrong note consequent was I never learned to read music because I hesitated too long to play the note on time because I was always business if his pencil gonna land see that gets built into your psyche and so people are always although they're adults and nobody is clubbing them around and screaming at them any longer they hear the echoes of that screaming mama all that bum been aiding Papa in the back of their heads all their life long and so they adopt the same attitudes to their own children and the fast continues because there is no I mean I don't say that you shouldn't lay down the law to children if you want them to play the social game but you if you lay down the law to your children you must make provision later in life for them to be liberated to go through a process of curing them from the bad effects of Education but you can't do that unless you two grow up you see as we grow up as I including myself so that is the fig now therefore in the Zen scene you would think that the master as we know even as we read about him is an extremely authoritarian figure that's the way he deliberately comes on at the beginning he puts up a terrific show of being an awful dragon and this screams out all sorts of people who don't have somehow the nerve to get into the work but once you are in a very strange change takes place the master becomes the brother he becomes the affectionate helper of all those students and they love him as they would a brother rather than respect him as they would have father and therefore the students and masters they make jokes about each other they have a very curious kind of social relationship which has all the outward trappings of the authoritarian but everybody knows on the insides of that to joke liberated people have to be very cool otherwise in a society which doesn't believe in equality and cannot possibly practice it they would be considered extremely subversive therefore great their masters were purple and gold and carries scepters and fitted Thrones and all this carried on to cool it the outside world knows are there all right this has been their order they're perfectly fine out of your mind now continue with the next lecture from the world as just-so lecture series you you

27 thoughts on “Alan Watts – Escape Societies Brainwashing

  • Most of this is bullshit .Zen can't be explained, pttfft. Just let me have a crack at it, I'll break it down to the last byte of code you need for a machine to copy it perfectly. Amateurs.

  • Thank you Alan Watts for the purest form of affirmation…….. anyone who relates will understand that feeling.!

  • I'm Zen as fuckkkkkkk….yeahhh I'm not trying to be better than anyone..im riding this cosmic dance in such sweet pure harmony ..im so happy with myself and my ascension..those who feel this knows!!!👣☮💚🕉✡🕉✡🎶🥁🎶🥁🎋🌏♾💚🌏

  • very interesting man Alan Watts love must of his talks accept the anti Christian slurs. Christianity gives a lot people peace, also Christianity might of sobering him up 😉

  • People comment that this video, speech, whatever, has a way of not just attempting to erase the current societal brainwashing, but also replacing it with a new form of brainwashing. To an extent, yes this is true, but try to use his words of wisdom not as a new form of brainwashing, but look at it as an opportunity. Through his words, try look away from the way of life you have been taught since you were born, and the way you’ve been told the way your life should be, use it as a way to leave that hypothetical room, close that door, and choose a new door, whether it is Alan Watts door, or one of the millions of other doors.

  • "Escape societies brainwashing"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tovPYCTZPvY
    0:11
    I'm contributing something! 😋

  • Just thinking how it's usuall6 someone who has suffered enough to be able to focus on and be so negative that the real truth of the world comes out. Finding balance after thus can be tricky but there are many people that have done it.

  • Alan watts made me understand myself so much more after hearing his lectures whether I was smoking weed or taking a psychedelic shit even sober it just blows my mind shit even helped me conquer my own mind

  • Oh sweet Krishna, Watts is SO fucking beautiful. I love my life with this dear man in it. People need Watts. God, peace be upon that glorious soul of his. I hope he's chillin' somewhere decent in the Eternal Everything.

  • The society brainwash people for the benefit of the corporate. The government also benefit the corporate and provide minimum for the public.

  • Excellent gnostic analysis at this up and coming channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3PrHxsiuP8mFuIGUgZ1TNw

  • teachers are not to be copied in their dance we see..but as a guide to be able to figure out our own steps for our own dance through the cosmos..transforming..and never ending

  • No need to escape it just doesn’t get to me because I see what fails in it when I hear it😂😂😂😂😂

  • What he's saying at 13:30 about not wanting to play the game happened to me when I was 16 years old. It's kinda depressing because I don't fit in with anybody really.

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