Zitate aus „Does It Matter?“ von Alan Watts

Kate Lagunova
Kate Lagunovahat Zitat gemachtvor 3 Jahren
Camus said, the only serious philosophical problem is whether or not to commit suicide.
Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself.
The playing of the Self is therefore like a drama in which the Self is both the actor and the audience. On entering the theater the audience knows that what it is about to see is only a play, but the skillful actor creates a maya, an illusion of reality which gives the audience delight or terror, laughter or tears. It is thus that in the joy and the sorrow of all beings the Self as audience is carried away by itself as actor.
This case can be made even from the standpoint of believers in the monarchical universe of Judaism and Christianity, for it is a basic principle of both religions, derived from Genesis, that all natural substances created by God are inherently good, and that evil can arise only in their misuse. Thus laws against mere possession, or even cultivation, of these plants are in basic conflict with Biblical principles. Criminal conviction of those who employ these plants should be based on proven misuse. “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.’ . . . And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:29, 31.)
What they need is not prohibitions and policemen but the most intelligent encouragement and advice that can be found.
Citizens of the United States believe, or are supposed to believe, that a republic is the best form of government. Yet, vast confusion arises from trying to be republican in politics and monarchist in religion. How can a republic be the best form of government if the universe, heaven, and hell are a monarchy?6 Thus, despite the theory of government by consent, based upon mutual trust, the peoples of the United States retain, from the authoritarian backgrounds of their religions or national origins, an utterly naive faith in law as some sort of supernatural and paternalistic power. “There ought to be a law against it!” Our law–enforcement officers are therefore confused, hindered, and bewildered—not to mention corrupted—by being asked to enforce sumptuary laws, often of ecclesiastical origin, which vast numbers of people have no intention of obeying and which, in any case, are immensely difficult or simply impossible to enforce—for example, the barring of anything so undetectable as LSD25 from international and interstate commerce.
Unafraid of death and deficient in worldly ambition, those who have undergone mystical experiences are impervious to threats and promises. Moreover, their sense of the relativity of good and evil arouses the suspicion that they lack both conscience and respect for law. Use of psychedelics in the United States by a literate bourgeoisie means that an important segment of the population is indifferent to society’s traditional rewards and sanctions.
By cultural and social conditioning, he has been hypnotized into experiencing himself as an ego—as an isolated center of consciousness and will inside a bag of skin, confronting an external and alien world. We say, “I came into this world.” But we did nothing of the kind. We came out of it in just the same way that fruit comes out of trees. Our galaxy, our cosmos “peoples” in the same way that an apple tree “apples.”
The Western man who claims consciousness of oneness with God or the universe thus clashes with his society’s concept of religion. In most Asian cultures, however, such a man will be congratulated as having penetrated the true secret of life. He has arrived, by chance or by some such discipline as Yoga or Zen meditation, at a state of consciousness in which he experiences directly and vividly what our own scientists know to be true in theory. For the ecologist, the biologist, and the physicist know (but seldom feel) that every organism constitutes a single field of behavior, or process, with its environment. There is no way of separating what any given organism is doing from what its environment is doing, for which reason ecologists speak not of organisms in environments but of organism–environments. Thus the words “I” or “self ” should properly mean what the whole universe is doing at this particular “here–and–now” called John Doe.
It has perhaps never occurred to Christians that when they design a church on the model of a royal court (basilica) and prescribe church ritual, they are implying that God, like a human monarch, is afraid.
Such an imperial and kingly concept of the ultimate reality, however, is neither necessary nor universal. The Hindus and the Chinese have no difficulty in conceiving of an identity of the self and the Godhead. For most Asians, other than Moslems, the Godhead moves and manifests the world in much the same way that a centipede manipulates a hundred legs: spontaneously, without deliberation or calculation. In other words, they conceive the universe by analogy with an organism as distinct from a mechanism. They do not see it as an artifact or construct under the conscious direction of some supreme technician, engineer, or architect.
I see, further, that feeling threatened by the inevitability of death is really the same experience as feeling alive, and that as all beings are feeling this everywhere, they are all just as much “I” as myself. Yet the “I” feeling, to be felt at all, must always be a sensation relative to the “other,” to something beyond its control and experience. To be at all, it must begin and end. But the intellectual jump which mystical and psychedelic experience make here is in enabling you to see that all these myriad I–centers are yourself—not, indeed, your personal and superficial conscious ego, but what Hindus call the paramatman, the Self of all selves.2 As the retina enables us to see countless pulses of energy as a single light, so the mystical experience shows us innumerable individuals as a single Self.
As the French proverb goes, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose—”the more it varies, the more it is one.”
For example, the poor man worries about money while the rich man worries about his health: the worry is the same, but the difference is in its substance or dimension.
Each is definable only in terms of the other, and they go together transactionally, like buying and selling, for there is no sale without a purchase, and no purchase without a sale. As this awareness becomes increasingly intense, you feel that you yourself are polarized with the external universe in such a way that you imply each other. Your push is its pull, and its push is your pull—as when you move the steering wheel of a car. Are you pushing it or pulling it?
Foresight is bought at the price of anxiety, and, when overused, it destroys all its own advantages.
Only those who have cultivated the art of living completely in the present have any use for making plans for the future, for when the plans mature they will be able to enjoy the results.
Almost invariably, my experiments with psychedelics have had four dominant characteristics. I shall try to explain them— in the expectation that the reader will say, at least of the second and third, “Why, that’s obvious! No one needs a drug to see that.” Quite so, but every insight has degrees of intensity. There can be obvious1 and obvious2—and the latter comes on with shattering clarity, manifesting its implications in every sphere and dimension of our existence.
Basically, then, “self ” is not only the body but the whole energy system which embodies itself in all bodies. The conceptual ego does not control this system any more than it controls the heart, but whereas the ego is your idea of yourself, the total energy system of the universe is what you are. People who realize this could be trusted with technological power, for they would respect the external world, with all its subtle ecological balances, as they respect their own bodies. They would work with it and not against it, as a sailor works with the wind even when moving in a contrary direction.

The basic point to be understood, then, is that it is simply impossible to improve either oneself or the world by force.

Because you yourself are both the organism and its environment
No wars have been more ruthless and ravaging than “just” wars, fought in “defense” of religion, honor, or principle. If war must be, give me rather a war to capture an enemy’s wealth and territory, based on honest greed, in which I shall be careful not to destroy what I want to possess. But as civilized wars are fought for principle, so the technological “conquest of nature” is in fact being waged for the purely abstract satisfaction of making money, as distinct from the material and sensuous enjoyment of good food, beautiful women, and elegant surroundings.
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