#580 – Remembering Zen Philosopher Alan Watts

Alan Watts, philosopher, author, and lecturer Alan Watts (1915–1973) popularized Zen Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies for the counterculture of the 1960s. Today, new generations are finding his writings and lectures online, while faithful followers worldwide continue to be enlightened by his teachings. The Collected Letters of Alan Watts reveals the remarkable arc of Watts’s colorful and controversial life, from his school days in England to his priesthood in the Anglican Church as chaplain of Northwestern University to his alternative lifestyle and experimentation with LSD in the heyday of the late sixties. His engaging letters cover a vast range of subject matter, with recipients ranging from High Church clergy to high priests of psychedelics, government officials, publishers, critics, family, and fans. They include C. G. Jung, Henry Miller, Gary Snyder, Aldous Huxley, Reinhold Niebuhr, Timothy Leary, Joseph Campbell, and James Hillman. Watts’s letters were curated by two of his daughters, Joan Watts and Anne Watts, who have added rich, behind-the-scenes biographical commentary.

Joan Watts grew up in the United States and England attending private schools and then studied art at various institutions in the United States. Her art has won awards in juried shows and hangs in many private collections. In addition to her art career, she spent 25 years as a successful fund raiser in the nonprofit world. Joan lives in Livingston Montana with her husband, Johnny (Montana) Hale, a musician songwriter and retired motion picture technician. Most of her life decisions have been influenced in one way or another by her father, Alan Watts.

Anne Watt’s philosophies were also strongly shaped by her experience as the daughter of Alan Watts. Ann is a certified hypnotherapist and an educator and counselor in the areas of human sexuality, sexual abuse, family stress, self-esteem, healing the inner child, and financial and aging issues. Since 1985, she has facilitated hundreds of workshops in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, England, and Germany with The Human Awareness Institute, work she is deeply passionate about since 2008. She lives in Santa Rosa, California. You can find her work online at www.annewatts.com.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2017: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

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One Comment

  1. James Alexander
    Posted January 19, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    thank you so much to the daughters of Alan Watts. he has been my favourite spiritual philosopher since i first read his work as a 19 yr old in the early 80’s. Now, my 3 adult children also have an appreciation for his gift. His work is far too important to sink into obscurity. Looking forward to reading the book!

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