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.”

Swimming Headless

00:05 This morning I was giving you a talk on the fundamental basic attitudes expressed in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. And the title of the book, “Tao Te Ching,” introduces now the second...

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Taoist Way

Part 1 00:00 The philosophy of the Tao is one of the two great principal components of Chinese thought. There are, of course, quite a number of forms of Chinese philosophy, but there are two...

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The Joker

One of Alan’s most popular seminars, and for good reason—in The Joker, listeners will find out why every society needs fools in order to remind itself not to take life so damn seriously.

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The Joyous Cosmology

What kind of a theory of the universe would it take for us to willingly accept the pain, turmoil, chaos, heartbreak, and suffering that comes with the state of being a consciously aware and individuated Self?

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The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness

The Joyous Cosmology is Alan Watts’ exploration of the insight that the consciousness-changing drugs LSD, mescaline and psilocybin can facilitate when accompanied with sustained philosophical reflection by a person who is in search, not of kicks, but of understanding. More than an artifact, it is both a riveting memoir of Alan’s personal experiments and a profound meditation on our perennial questions about the nature of existence and the existence of the sacred.

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The Myopic View of the World (We as Organism)

Alan Watts argues that we spend most of our life in a sort of myopia; that is, only perceiving a microscopic subsection of the reality which we occupy. By mentally “zooming out,” humans can begin to see (and enjoy) the marvelous universal dance that has been unfolding since the Big Bang—and which now expresses itself in and through us at this very moment.

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The Psychedelic Explosion

Alan talks about the upcoming revolution in which Western society will have to come to grips with the existence of the psychedelic/mystical experience, and how to integrate it into our culture in a productive, fulfilling, and responsible manner. Included are personal recollections of DMT and LSD trips experienced by Watts himself, why the utilization of psychedelic drugs should be seen as a tool, his vision of a psychedelic campus for guided mystical experiences, and why prohibition is doomed to failure.

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The Veil of Thoughts (Parts 1-4)

Alan describes the ways in which we have concealed truth behind a veil of thoughts. He talks about how and why we mistake symbols for reality, argues that civilization may be a misguided experiment, offers observations about the way in which abstractions have become more powerful than the realities they are referencing, and explains how we can become “unbamboozled” from these ways of thinking.

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