Alan Watts

Just a holding post to which I will add a few links. We already know Alan Watts, a Brit, was part of the 1960’s boom in Eastern / Zen interest, Hinduism too, particularly in the US, but I’d never really considered his scholarly value in this space.

Having written “The Way of Zen” in 1957, this 50 minute interview in 1960, 8 years before ZMM was conceived, 6 more years before it was published in 1974, has so many touch points with the individual engagement with technology, mastering the tools of craft in the world. Zen as psychotherapy, Zen and the Arts … yes, even Archery. And a lot more summary of the Zen attitude to life, relating to the world and others, neither religion nor philosophy.

Khoo Hock Aun’s testimonial on the Robert Pirsig Association page is a good reminder that Zen is only one practice among many Eastern / Aboriginal worldviews that share fundamental differences with Western views, and it was that distinction which Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance properly addressed. ZMM was never a book on Zen, and “it should be in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhism” … nor motorcycles either.

(A 13 years later – his last – 1973 interview with the same interviewer.)

Pirsig’s agenda was different to Watts.


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