Self and other

I have been spending evenings lately listening to Alan Watts. He has a whole bunch of stuff on YouTube, all recorded before he died in 1973, but lovingly uploaded more recently to the internet by followers from all over the world. He speaks so incredibly eloquently about matters of Zen and Tao an so much of what we says resonates very deeply with me.

alan watts everything | Alan watts, Joan, Interview
Alan Watts – one of the great thinkers of our time.

What I am thinking of tonight is the phenomenon that Alan Watts speaks of in our tendency to for us to obsess about separating our “self” from the “other” and how actually if one looks closely enough, we begin to see how it is we are in fact a lot more integral with the reality around us than what we say we are. It seems to me that we make attempts all the time to play this game of separation: We see ourselves as separate from nature, even to the point where forget we are animals. We see ourselves and different and distinct from the thousands of gods we have embraced across many civilizations and cultures. We see our gods as the “other”.

We take this idea of “self” and “other” even further into the game we play within our own species where at a group level, we separate, our class, our religion, our nation as distinct from the other. We have often even made war along these lines. Killing and maiming ourselves in the process.

But is it not interesting to see that we are not happy to stop even there. Rather we insist even in our individual selves to create separation. We great a separation between our role as son and as father, as lover and as worker. We even wear separate “uniforms” at work and at home. We have a separate uniform for going to church and for playing golf, we even have pajamas as our “uniform” for sleeping. All of this in a desperate attempt to convince ourselves of the illusion that everything is separate. Well it is not! Everything is part of everything else. This is just the simple truth.

So in a small way perhaps, I see the move back to Pebblespring Farm and other lifestyle design steps I have taken, as an attempt to work against the drive toward separation. Because if there is no separation between work and home, perhaps it is a simpler task to get to a point where these is no separation between attraction and action or work and leisure. Where there is no separation between my health and the health of my business and there is no separation between the health of my business and the health of the people I employ and there is no separation between my prosperity and the prosperity of my clients.

There was a time when I was self conscious of over thinking things or sounding “too philosophical” But now as I am older. I am wiser. I realize that actually that is exactly the game I like to play. The game of “seeing the world in just one grain of sand” The game of treating what comes to me in my life every day as having some special, mystical meaning and significance just for me. Life’s just more fun this way! It makes me take everything that much more seriously!!!

Author: Tim Hewitt-Coleman

The World can be a better place.... But how? Taking the debate beyond the political, beyond the theoretical into the real economy, into the physical and spatial dimension where cities, landscapes and livelihoods take form.

2 thoughts on “Self and other”

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