Alan Watts on language

Jeff Risley recommends the podcasts of Alan Watts. So do I.

I’ve just listened to the first of four on the theme “Limits of Language”. I think we easily lose sight of how our language shapes our world and in some ways misleads us about it. Watts explores this with great clarity. (I also love hearing a robust debunking of notions of authority figures, delivered in an accent that for most of us in England is so often associated with exactly that kind of authority.)

This is a crude summary of what I think this podcast says: When we say a mountain is made of rock we unwittingly create the notion of a mountain that is separate from the rock whereas, Watts argues, the mountain is rock. In such fashion, our language deludes us into seeing big-daddy organising forces when there are none. Our language unwittingly creates a notion of God-as-authority-figure instead of seeing life as an emergent process. If that sort of thinking floats your boat, you’ll enjoy listening.

2 thoughts on “Alan Watts on language

  1. alistair

    language creates our language. we edit, distort and hallucinate based on how we talk to ourselves in response to what goes on in our perception of the world. alan watts clearly points this out and easily ridicules religion, bureaucray and culture in general by using thier methods against them and then laughs wonderfully in response to his own observations. i wish he were alive today to eat ken wilber`s humourless lunch………

    Reply

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