Tag Archives: alan+watts

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.