An Organic Unity

It’s official. I’m still in love with Alan Watts (yes, he’s transformed into a different form but he’s not the only man i’m in love with – “in love” not the typically understood “fare.” But this is a digressing transgression of my purpose in posting at this Point).

My boys and I get into some pretty deep discussions when they come home from school. Like when my youngest asked yesterday “What made the law? Why do we have laws, mom?” Then we spoke about equality, racism, nationalism, patriotism. And the underbelly of the rocks we stand so firmly on. We talked and talked. One son is more naturally inclined to try to find the “right” place to stand but realizes it’s not a reliable mindset. The other is open and none-too-sure of “rightness.” They’re both onto something. It’s very difficult to explain the risks of any “ism” to an 8 year old. But, when you recognize that we’re all connected, it starts to make sense.

Then I sit down for 20 minutes with Alan Watts and sigh. He says it all so well…

“If we must be nationalists and have a sovereign state, we cannot also expect to have world peace. If we want to get everything at the lowest possible cost, we cannot expect to get the best possible quality, the balance between the two being mediocrity. If we make it an ideal to be morally superior, we cannot at the same time avoid self-righteousness. If we cling to belief in God, we cannot likewise have faith, since faith is not clinging but letting go.

When we have made up our minds as to what we do want, there remain indeed many practical and technical problems. But there is no point discussing these until we have made up our minds. There is, in turn, no possibility of making up our minds so long as they are split in two, as long as ‘I’ am one thing and ‘experience’ another. If the mind is the directive force behind action, the mind and its vision of life must be healed before action can be anything but conflict.

Something must therefore be said about the healed vision of life which comes with full awareness, for it involves a deep transformation of our view of the world. As well as words can describe it, this transformation consists in knowing and feeling that the world is an organic unity…My conscious mind must have its roots and origins in the most unfathomable depths of being, yet it feels as if it lived all by itself in this tight little skull…You can reason that the universe is a unity without feeling it to be so. You can establish the theory that your body is a movement in an unbroken process which includes all suns and stars, and yet continue to feel separate and lonely. For the feeling will not correspond to the theory until you have also discovered the unity of inner experience. Despite all theories, you will feel that you are isolated from life so long as you are divided within…

Man has to discover that everything which he beholds in nature–the clammy foreign-feeling world of the ocean’s depths, the wastes of ice, the reptiles of the swamp, the spiders and scorpions, the deserts of lifeless planets–has its counterparts within himself. He is not, then, at one with himself until he realizes that this “under side” of nature and the feelings of horror which it gives him are also ‘I.’ …

To discover that the many are the one, and that the one is the many, is to realize that both are words and noises representing what is at once obvious to sense and feeling, and an enigma to logic and description…

The feeling that we stand face-to-face with the world, cut off and set apart, has the greatest influence on thought and action.”

Alan Watts – The Wisdom of Insecurity

That sense of being cut off and set apart fulfills itself just as much as the sense of being connected and part of a transforming world…

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3 thoughts on “An Organic Unity

  1. Now you’re just teasing me. Origin of the law, political theory, and ending with existentialism. All pets of mine, but alack and alas I have sworn off.

    Temptress!

    • i had a blast reading this particular section of Watts yesterday while trapped with nothing else to do (blissful 20 minutes!). but, me? temptress? ha. only of your own mind’s making… 🙂
      run along now…
      and you know who to call if the darkness overwhelms…

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