|Birth Day:||January 6, 1915|
|Death Date:||Nov 16, 1973 (age 58)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Alan Watts died on Nov 16, 1973 (age 58).
He attended The Kings School, Canterbury.
Watts was born to middle-class parents in the village of Chislehurst, Kent (now south-east London), on 6 January 1915, living at 3 (now 5) Holbrook Lane, which was previously lived in by author John Hemming-Clark in the early 1900s. Watts' father, Laurence Wilson Watts, was a representative for the London office of the Michelin tyre company. His mother, Emily Mary Watts (née Buchan), was a housewife whose father had been a missionary. With modest financial means, they chose to live in pastoral surroundings and Watts, an only child, grew up playing at Brookside, learning the names of wildflowers and butterflies. Probably because of the influence of his mother's religious family the Buchans, an interest in "ultimate things" seeped in. It mixed with Watts's own interests in storybook fables and romantic tales of the mysterious Far East.
In 1936, aged 21, he attended the World Congress of Faiths at the University of London, heard D. T. Suzuki read a paper, and afterwards was able to meet this esteemed scholar of Zen Buddhism. Beyond these discussions and personal encounters, Watts absorbed, by studying the available scholarly literature, the fundamental concepts and terminology of the main philosophies of India and East Asia.
Watts's fascination with the Zen (or Ch'an) tradition—beginning during the 1930s—developed because that tradition embodied the spiritual, interwoven with the practical, as exemplified in the subtitle of his Spirit of Zen: A Way of Life, Work, and Art in the Far East. "Work", "life", and "art" were not demoted due to a spiritual focus. In his writing, he referred to it as "the great Ch'an (or Zen) synthesis of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism after AD 700 in China." Watts published his first book, The Spirit of Zen, in 1936. Two decades later, in The Way of Zen he disparaged The Spirit of Zen as a "popularisation of Suzuki's earlier works, and besides being very unscholarly it is in many respects out of date and misleading."
Watts married three times and had seven children (five daughters and two sons). Watts met Eleanor Everett in 1936, when her mother, Ruth Fuller Everett, brought her to London to study piano. They met at the Buddhist Lodge, were engaged the following year and married in April 1938. A daughter, Joan, was born in November 1938 and another, Anne, was born in 1942. Their marriage ended in 1949, but Watts continued to correspond with his former mother-in-law. In 1950, Watts married Dorothy DeWitt. He moved to San Francisco in early 1951 to teach. They began a family that grew to include five children: Tia, Mark, Richard, Lila, and Diane. The couple separated in the early 1960s after Watts met Mary Jane Yates King (called "Jano" in his circle) while lecturing in New York. After a difficult divorce he married King in 1964. The couple divided their time between Sausalito, California, where they lived on a houseboat called the Vallejo, and a secluded cabin in Druid Heights, on the southwest flank of Mount Tamalpais north of San Francisco. Some regard Watts as having been an unfaithful husband and a poor father.
Watts married Eleanor Everett, whose mother Ruth Fuller Everett was involved with a traditional Zen Buddhist circle in New York. Ruth Fuller later married the Zen master (or "roshi"), Sokei-an Sasaki, who served as a sort of model and mentor to Watts, though he chose not to enter into a formal Zen training relationship with Sasaki. During these years, according to his later writings, Watts had another mystical experience while on a walk with his wife. In 1938 they left England to live in the United States. Watts became a United States citizen in 1943.
As recounted in his autobiography, Alan was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1945 (aged 30) and resigned the ministry by 1950, partly as a result of an extramarital affair which resulted in his wife having their marriage annulled, but also because he could no longer reconcile his Buddhist beliefs with the formal doctrine of the church. He spent the New Year getting to know Joseph Campbell and Campbell's wife, Jean Erdman, as well as the composer John Cage.
In early 1951, Watts moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Here he taught from 1951 to 1957 alongside Saburō Hasegawa (1906–1957), Frederic Spiegelberg, Haridas Chaudhuri, lama Tada Tōkan (1890–1967), and various visiting experts and professors. Hasegawa, in particular, served as a teacher to Watts in the areas of Japanese customs, arts, primitivism, and perceptions of nature. It was during this time he met the poet Jean Burden, with whom he had a four-year love affair.
Watts left the faculty for a career in the mid-1950s. In 1953, he began what became a long-running weekly radio program at Pacifica Radio station KPFA in Berkeley. Like other volunteer programmers at the listener-sponsored station, Watts was not paid for his broadcasts. These weekly broadcasts continued until 1962, by which time he had attracted a "legion of regular listeners".
In 1957 Watts, then 42, published one of his best known books, The Way of Zen, which focused on philosophical explication and history. Besides drawing on the lifestyle and philosophical background of Zen in India and China, Watts introduced ideas drawn from general semantics (directly from the writings of Alfred Korzybski) and also from Norbert Wiener's early work on cybernetics, which had recently been published. Watts offered analogies from cybernetic principles possibly applicable to the Zen life. The book sold well, eventually becoming a modern classic, and helped widen his lecture circuit.
In 1958, Watts toured parts of Europe with his father, meeting the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and the German psychotherapist Karlfried Graf Dürckheim.
Some of Watts' writings published in 1958 (e.g., his book Nature, Man and Woman and his essay "The New Alchemy") mentioned some of his early views on the use of psychedelic drugs for mystical insight. Watts had begun to experiment with psychedelics, initially with mescaline given to him by Oscar Janiger. He tried LSD several times in 1958, with various research teams led by Keith S. Ditman, Sterling Bunnell Jr., and Michael Agron. He also tried marijuana and concluded that it was a useful and interesting psychoactive drug that gave the impression of time slowing down. Watts' books of the '60s reveal the influence of these chemical adventures on his outlook.
Watts continued to give numerous talks and seminars, recordings of which were broadcast on KPFA and other radio stations during his life. These recordings are broadcast to this day. For example, in 1970 Watts lectures were broadcast on Sunday mornings on San Francisco radio station KSAN; and even today a number of radio stations continue to have an Alan Watts program in their weekly program schedules. Original tapes of his broadcasts and talks are currently held by the Pacifica Radio Archives, based at KPFK in Los Angeles, and at the Electronic University archive founded by his son, Mark Watts.
Though never affiliated for long with any one academic institution, he was Professor of Comparative Philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies (as mentioned above), had a fellowship at Harvard University (1962–1964), and was a Scholar at San Jose State University (1968). He also lectured college and university students as well as the general public. His lectures and books gave him influence on the American intelligentsia of the 1950s–1970s, but he was often seen as an outsider in academia. When questioned sharply by students during his talk at University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1970, Watts responded, as he had from the early sixties, that he was not an academic philosopher but rather "a philosophical entertainer".
Watts also came to feel acutely conscious of a growing ecological predicament. Writing, for example, in the early 1960s: "Can any melting or burning imaginable get rid of these ever-rising mountains of ruin—especially when the things we make and build are beginning to look more and more like rubbish even before they are thrown away?" These concerns were later expressed in a television pilot made for NET (National Educational Television) filmed at his mountain retreat in 1971 in which he noted that the single track of conscious attention was wholly inadequate for interactions with a multi-tracked world.
In October 1973, Watts returned from a European lecture tour to his cabin in Druid Heights, California. Friends of Watts had been concerned about him for some time over his alcoholism. On 16 November 1973, at age 58, he died in his sleep. He was reported to have been under treatment for a heart condition. His body was cremated very shortly thereafter. His ashes were split, with half buried near his library at Druid Heights and half at the Green Gulch Monastery.
Alan had five children and was married several times.
Currently, Alan Watts is 108 years, 2 months and 26 days old. Alan Watts will celebrate 109th birthday on a Saturday 6th of January 2024. Below we countdown to Alan Watts upcoming birthday.
r/AlanWatts - Happy 102nd Birthday, Alan Watts. I made this video 2 years ago. 1 year ago, my daughter was born :)
r/AlanWatts: You are the universe experiencing itself.
Alan Watts – 101 Quotes to Celebrate 101 Years of Influence
alanwatts.org and Alan Watts 101 for short animated videos coupled with some of my favorite talks. “This is the real secret of life—to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the her…