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Call for Papers
The Legacy of Alan Watts

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Alan Watts-cartoon animationJanuary 6, 2015 will be the 100th birthday of Alan Watts, the English-born writer on Eastern and Western religion whose work had an immense influence on the Beatniks of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. Watts also had a tremendous influence on my thinking, and, when I published a pair of essays on him at Counter-Currents (here and here), I was delighted to learn that he had influenced a number of other writers in the New Right milieu.

In honor of Watts’s centenary, Counter-Currents will publish an online symposium, with a special focus on what is useful or problematic in his work for the New Right.

Suggested topics include the relationship of Watts to Traditionalism, Social Credit, European neo-paganism, Dimitrije Mitrinovic, the recovery of European folkways, the critique of modernity, environmentalism and ecology, dandyism, the Beats and the Hippies, drugs and mysticism, the Left-hand path, etc.

If you would like to participate in the symposium please contact me at [email protected]. If you wish to offer a suggestion, email or post a comment below.

Greg Johnson
Editor-in-Chief

 

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5 Comments

  1. Sanjay
    Posted June 20, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I am a hindu and has been practicing vipassana meditation for some time…After listening to Watts video on youtube…Now, I am understanding the meaning of various hindu and buddhist concept… I admire Mr. Watts clarity on some of the esoteric concepts… Man he had very deep understanding and as a Hindu I bow to him.

  2. Kyle Bryant
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    In Watts’s lecture “The Nature of Consciousness” he offers his concept of prickles and goo, or rigidity and fuidity. I think it would be interesting to see this concept applied to a commentary on the right as a whole.

  3. Marc
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    What makes Alan Watts’ work amenable to conservative and right-wing thought is the same element in much Eastern and New Age thought that does the same, even when its proponents seem otherwise liberal or progressive in sentiment: Returning to appreciation of Nature as the ultimate source of truth and authority. Getting over illusions of human control.

    Heidegger attempted to accomplish a similar turn in Western philosophy, but with deeper conceptual archaeology on the historical question of how the original Greek sense (logos, meaning) of “physis” got lost on the way to the present. Heidegger argues that for the earlier, pre-Socratic Greeks, ‘physis’ or Nature meant ‘naturing-forth’, beings emerging in their own-most Way of being, not ultimately controllable by the human Dasein (or ‘subject’) for whom these things come forth into a temporal, momentary ‘present’ (i.e., the given). Heidegger argues that this original sense got covered over by the impoverished modern concept of “physics”, the merely mathematical tracking of ‘objects’ (or targets) through space for the ultimate sake of human manipulation. Heidegger explains — with appreciation for the positive successes of modern science and technology — that what we today call “physical science” is a Humanism, human frame-work, which, despite technological success, covers over the more original, primordial sense of Nature that was expressed in the early Greek beginnings of Western science. Watts understood this too. It helps explain the anti-naturalist bent of modern progressive ideology. Incidentally, Leo Strauss makes this same critique of all modern philosophy since Hobbes, who replaced talking about man’s Nature with talking about the seemingly infinite malleability of man’s Customs (thus Hobbes was an early prototype for social-constructionism). But Strauss does not accept Heidegger’s argument that this problem in modern Humanism began as early as Plato. Alan Watts’ philosophy is significant and leads one into these same questions and problems, but Heidegger is necessary for addressing the deeply-rooted historical nature of the problem for modern Western intellectuals. Heidegger helps one to see deeply embedded historical reasons why it is so hard for the modern Western intellect to see what is right before it. There is a high-church vs. low-church sense to the two thinkers: where Heidegger provides the former, Watts provides a simpler, aphoristic, Zen-like way to breaking through to how This is beyond ideology.

  4. NND
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Watts was a CIA operative, and an instrument for a -successful- project of social control.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted December 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      This is pure idiocy of the lowest sort.

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