Thoughts for tonight

From Zen and the Beat Way (Alan Watts):

Agriculture and industrialism … have created a glut of material goods and a great poverty of time. Most people have a way of life devoid of everything except maintaining and servicing their material existence 12 to 14 hours every day. In contrast, the Aborigines [spent] 12 to 14 hours a day in cultural pursuit. (quoting Robert Lawlor‘s 1990 book on Australian Aboriginal culture, Voices of the First Day).

Imagine what your life would be like if you spent 12-14 hours a day in “cultural pursuit,” i.e. meaningful activity — the stuff you do when you consider you’re having fun. Come to think of it, rich people do have that opportunity, and on the whole they don’t seem to make much of it. Without a wide cultural context, maybe it’s impossible. But i want to give it a try.

One more:

[In] essence, mystical experience and ecological awareness [are] simply two ways of talking about the same experience.

That is a profound statement — one i find suffused with hope, in that “ecological awareness” is starting to make deep sense to people in the West.


Interviewer: What is Zen?

Alan Watts: [Soft chuckling.]

Interviewer: Would you care to enlarge on that?

Alan Watts: [Loud laughing.]

—Front matter of Zen and the Beat Way (1997)

I borrowed the book from the Vancouver Public Library yesterday with my spankin’ new BC OneCard, good at every public library in B.C. That’s like gold for the homeless wanderer, folks.