Tao of Philosophy is part of the Essential Lectures Collection. The Tao of Philosophy album began life as the first Essential Lecture series in 1972 after Alan Watts asked his son Mark to compile a collection of core talks. The series looks at issues of identity, our place in nature, and the limits of symbolic thinking.

Originally mastered for cassette, the series was updated and remastered for CD in the mid-90’s, and is now available exclusively for download in high quality MP3 format. This series was also released to public radio as part of the Love is Wisdom program.

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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