COSMIC COWBOY: Alan Watts On How To Not Be Killed By Death

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“…At the root of human conflict is our fundamental misunderstanding of who we are. The illusion that we are isolated beings, unconnected to the rest of the universe, has led us to view the “outside” world with hostility, and has fueled our misuse of technology and our violent and hostile subjugation of the natural world – Alan Watts”:

(Alan Watts – How To Not Be Killed By Death – by David Lindberg)

When I heard this lecture I understood how you can not be a victim of jealousy to other people if you stick with doing what you want. For example, if I would chose the career of a project manager because of the money, I would always be jealous of the lawyers earning more than me.. But if I were to chose a life making films like these, which is what I really want, I could never be jealous of the lawyers and their money, because they’re doing something I would not be happy doing. I’m already satisfied.

As Alan Watts says, I’d do it for another end – to make money, and there’s no end in making money and because of that I’d never be satisfied. Someone would always have more than me

But if my end is the actual doing of this particular thing, as long as I keep doing it there will instead be no end in my satisfaction.

I also love the twist in this lecture when Watts mentions that if you’re doing what is your thing to do death will not “kill” you when it comes to get you.

Universe won’t see you as something it created but then didn’t do what Universe wanted you to do, and therefore you’re already one with the universal purpose.

Alan Watts – How To Not Be Killed By Death


Philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973) is best-known for authoring the cult-classic The Way of Zen and popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West alongside John Cage. In this hauntingly beautiful animation based on a Watts lecture, produced by Luke Jurevicius and directed by Ari Gibson and Jason Pamment, Watts considers what death might be, exploring the notion of nonexistence and pitting it as “the necessary consequence of what we call being” — something he examines in greater depth in his indispensable book The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (public library).

UPDATE: A reader points out that the animation comes from a video for “Sometimes the Stars” by Australian band The Audreys from their 2010 debut album of the same title. What you see here is a mashup of the video and an Alan Watts recording.

What’s it gonna be like, dying? To go to sleep and never, never, never wake up.

Well, a lot of things it’s not gonna be like. It’s not going to be like being buried alive. It’s not going to be like being in the darkness forever.

I tell you what — it’s going to be as if you never had existed at all. Not only you, but everything else as well. That just there was never anything, there’s no one to regret it — and there’s no problem.

Well, think about that for a while — it’s kind of a weird feeling when you really think about it, when you really imagine.

Complement with Watts on our illusion of separateness and his poignant probing of what you would do if money were no object.

For a closer look at his philosophy on death, and how “death and life imply each other,” here is some rare footage of Watts speaking in the 1950s:


One thought on “COSMIC COWBOY: Alan Watts On How To Not Be Killed By Death

  1. Pingback: COSMIC COWBOY: Alan Watts On How To Not Be Killed By Death — RIELPOLITIK | gramirezblog

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