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A Tribute to Alan Watts


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This is a revised version of a presentation created a year ago in tribute of my mentor and hero, Alan Watts. It's about zen, anxiety, life, and our relationship to the universe. Hope you enjoy. Design and copy by Edahn Small/

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A Tribute to Alan Watts

  1. 1. Anxiety,Zen,andEnlightenmentA brief presentation withquotes from thelate, great Alan Watts+EDAHN SMALL
  2. 2.’t expectmuchedahn@visuali.seFor fancy presentationswww.askedahn.comFor philosophical ramblings/
  3. 3. This is Alan Watts.He was child prodigywho was fascinated withZen. He wrote prolificallyand lectured around theUS, introducing peopleto Eastern philosophy.
  4. 4. Some of his books, essays, and talks
  5. 5. This onein particularchanged my life.
  6. 6. I started meditating.I started payingattention differently.I moved into a ZenCenter for a short while.…and of course, Istarted a blog. ;)
  7. 7. Here’s some of what Ilearned over the years.
  8. 8. We live in a world that is inherently unstable. It’s constantly changingon both a microscopic and macroscopic level.
  9. 9. But evolution has “designed” us to seek the exact opposite:stability, longevity, and continuity.
  10. 10. We workto stayalive.To createsecurityandstability.To makeourselvesattractive topotentialmates.To reproduceand ensurethat ouroffspring willthrive, so theycan continuethe pattern.We woto staaliveSeeking Continuity.And the cyclecontinues…
  11. 11. But our goals are constantly undermined by theever-changing universe.
  12. 12. “There is acontradiction inwanting to beperfectly secure in auniverse whose verynature ismomentariness andfluidity.” –AlanWatts
  13. 13. So we exist against abackdrop of anxiety andfear, constantly fightingto put the worldtogether a certain waywhile the universe isconstantly shakingthings up on us. Wework harder andharder, and startobsessing about ourfuture.
  14. 14. Get tothechoppa!Get to the top!FindPurposeMeetsomeoneThrowpoop? Keep up!Look good Be smartNew car?Be smarterEatStart savingGet aheadThe mental chatter starts to spiral outof control.GetconfidentGetenlightened
  15. 15. We slowly become disconnected fromourselves and from everythingaround us.
  16. 16. Is there asolution?
  17. 17. Is there asolution?Sorta.
  18. 18. You can’t get aroundthe problem ofinstability becausethat’s just how thingsare.:(
  19. 19. But you can give up the need toplan,to make progress, to achievesomething, and just let things befor a moment.Alan called it“Surrender”
  20. 20. Like this?
  21. 21. More likethis.
  22. 22. Zen is letting your experience be asit is, whatever it is. When you sitdown to meditate (zazen), you’renot trying to think positively or killyour thoughts. Nor are you trying toproduce a feeling of tranquility.That’s just more struggling forprogress.You simply let things be as theyalready are, however confusing orunsettling that might be. Yousurrender control.ZenMeditation.
  23. 23. “We could say that meditationdoesn’t have a reason ordoesn’t have a purpose. In thisrespect it’s unlike almost allother things we do.”—Alan Watts
  24. 24. You pause the struggle against theworld and against yourself.
  25. 25. And slowly, you realizesomething important.That everything is okay.
  26. 26. And slowly, you realizesomething important.That you are fundamentally good.That everything is okay.
  27. 27. And slowly, you realizesomething important.That you are fundamentally good.That everything is okay.That you have every reason to love yourself.
  28. 28. And slowly, you realizesomething important.That you are fundamentally good.That everything is okay.That what truly matters is love, beauty,and goodness.That you have every reason to love yourself.
  29. 29. And that your endless struggle againstthe universe was silly, becauseyou are the universe.
  30. 30. BAM.
  31. 31. Flickr, CreativeCommonsSlide/User3, 4, 5/Matt Hamm8/blackbutterfly9/Funchye11/eivindw12/Crashmaster00713/frcsyk13/Deadly Sirius15/_ambrown20/hidden_vice21/pmorgan22/hidden side31/paul (dex)Glossy WaxedWood Iconsicons.mysitemyway.comMore about Edahn and Visuali.seEdahn Small is the lead presentationdesigner at Portfolio: Slideshows: Facebook: /visualisepresentations Twitter: @visuali_se Email: edahn@visuali.seDedicated to my hero and mentor,Alan Watts.