Philosophy and Society is part of the Essential Lectures Collection. This album was one of the original six albums compiled by Alan and his son, Mark, in 1973. It includes some of Alan’s most inspiring public lectures, as well as his powerful Veil of Thoughts seminar recorded aboard the SS Vallejo (Alan’s floating studio) two years prior.  In the Veil seminar, he explores the limitations of thought, explaining that thought makes a good tool but a poor master, before taking a turn to touch upon love and the institution of marriage from both historic and pragmatic perspectives; speaking from “a certain amount of bitter experience.”

Not What Should Be, But What Is

Alan reminds his audience that our mental image of the world is just an internal fairy tale loosely related to the truth of reality. Paying attention to our sensory experiences can therefore help us lift this thought-tainted veil, an action which reveals the magic of being far better than any words ever could.

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On Being God (With Q&A)

After discussing the nature of consciousness, the human mind, and the philosophical viewpoint that every person is God, Alan Watts assumes the role of God himself for the latter half of this lecture, answering each question his audience serves with wit and insight.

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On Commerce

00:00 So since we’re under the auspices of the School of Business, I’m going to talk about commerce. And basically, the word “commerce” is very friendly, because it means “communion...

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On Instinct

00:00 Somebody raised the question at the end of this morning’s session about instinct, and the instinct for survival, the instinct for procreation, so on. This is fascinating, because...

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Self and Other

Alan coaxes the listener’s mind to simultaneously zoom in and zoom out in an effort to demonstrate that identity is merely an intellectual hallucination. Instead, personal identity is fluid, ranging from one’s constituent atoms and molecules all the way out to the farthest bounds of cosmic existence. Overcoming this mental myopia leads to greater harmony, contentment, and a desire to playfully dance with this universal energy system.

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Sense of Nonsense

In this public radio broadcast, Alan explores the origin of the desire for meaningfulness. In the search for satisfaction, what is it that is really sought for or yearned after? The talk turns from academic discussion into poetry. What is the meaning of significance?

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Spiritual Alchemy

Alan Watts touches upon a peculiar tendency wherein psychedelic drugs may ignite mystical experiences similar to those known in the Eastern philosophies. However, wheras Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zen accompany these mystical experiences with discipline in order to cultivate positive outcomes, psychedelically induced insights may lead to unhealthy misinterpretations and possibly even delusions of grandeur if not handled properly.

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Still the Mind

Part 1 00:00 Realize that anybody whom you consider—in matters spiritual, psychologial, and so on—as an authority has this authority because of your opinion that he has or she has. How...

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