an essay from This is It and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience,
by Alan Watts, Vintage Books, 1973, ©Alan Watts 1958, 1960.
This essay was written in 1960.
My reaction to this essay is one of QED, the LSD part is unfortunate as I have found those insights can come from Relaxation, effectively meditation in my own case, brought about from a lengthy retreat and living for my family and myself: with no regard to the external influences of; extended family, friends, government and economic distractions. Through reading playing music and an accepting approach to my interactions, an appreciation of the Synchronous nature of the cosmos, which has lead me to the concept of cosmonogy, rather than cosmology. Spritiualisim, rather than atheism.
I have also considered that some of this spiritualised realisation stuff is almost oligopalistically hoarded by vested interests, to promote counter-culture cults of exclusion of those who can’t know and have not taken of the forbidden fruit.
These realisations in controlled environments may allow people to access the spiritual constructs mentioned in the essay. What I want to contrast with this though, is the eulogy of, “when I was a child I walked as a child the time to turn away from childish things”. The jockeying for control in the symbolism and its institutionalisation and Legalisation or criminalisation are all concepts outside of the natural self. Means to become self-sufficient in thought and deed and providing our daily bread are resisted by apparatus of control, in so-called civilised society, This control grid constructs its own apparatus, the mythologising etc binds groups together and sets them apart and against each other.
Writing This and making amendments 8 years later I realise only the other day, pulling together Double Hermeneutics and the Metanomski article form Jud evans’s Evans Experientialism put together with Osho’s’ Ego the false centre, something of the unfolding and emergent is revealing itself, Du CHamps grey space is also ever-present as I write this for my self and no one else.
When I was a child I walked as a child
Young’s Literal Translation
1 If with the tongues of men and of messengers I speak, and have not love, I have become brass sounding, or a cymbal tinkling; 2 and if I have prophecy, and know all the secrets, and all the knowledge, and if I have all the faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing; 3 and if I give away to feed others all my goods, and if I give up my body that I may be burned, and have not love, I am profited nothing.
4 The love is long-suffering, it is kind, the love doth not envy, the love doth not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not act unseemly, doth not seek its own things, is not provoked, doth not impute evil, 6 rejoiceth not over the unrighteousness, and rejoiceth with the truth; 7 all things it beareth, all it believeth, all it hopeth, all it endureth.
8 The love doth never fail; and whether there be prophecies, they shall become useless; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall become useless; 9 for in part we know, and in part we prophecy; 10 and when that which is perfect may come, then that which is in part shall become useless. 11 When I was a babe, as a babe I was speaking, as a babe I was thinking, as a babe I was reasoning, and when I have become a man, I have made useless the things of the babe; 12 for we see now through a mirror obscurely, and then face to face; now I know in part, and then I shall fully know, as also I was known; 13 and now there doth remain faith, hope, love — these three; and the greatest of these is love.
King James Version
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
“Why scurry about looking for the truth?
It vibrates in every thing
and every not-thing,
right off the tip of your nose.
Can you be still and see it in the mountain?
the pine tree?
Don’t imagine that you’ll discover it
by accumulating more knowledge.
Knowledge creates doubt, and doubt
makes you ravenous for more knowledge.
You can’t get full eating this way.
The wise person dines on something more subtle:
He eats the understanding that the named was born
from the unnamed,
that all being flows from non- being,
that the describable world emanates
from an indescribable source.
He finds this subtle truth inside his own self,
and becomes completely content.
So who can be still
and watch the chess game of the world?
The foolish are always making impulsive moves,
but the wise know that victory and defeat
are decided by something more subtle.
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