04 June 2005

Watts Pt. 2: He's Zen-tastic, Yet Alco-rrific!

Check it out! It's Tenzin Mo-Dope! Posted by Hello

Dear Fart-Stain:

It is becoming ever-so-obvious that not only can you not reply to an actual posted letter, you can't even get your grubby dick-skinners to peck at the keyboard long enough to reply to a freakin' blog! And this whole "InterWeb" thing was supposed to make communication easy. Besides causing rampant infomania, compulsive shopping and increased access to porn, what good has it done? It can't get you to reply to a letter, so what's it worth? I swear to horse-tits, they'll be turning lead to platinum before I ever see a letter from you. Knowledge of that sad fact, however, will not stop me from ranting here and now.

So to get back to Alan Watts,
Wikipedia (the open-source online encyclopedia that any autodidactic wankster like myself can edit) tells me that he was something of a sot and put away quantiferous amounts of booze that no doubt foreshortened his life. He died at age 58. You probably already knew all this, but it was a surprise to me. Oh yeah, there was that and all that acid he ate. And all that stuff he smoked. So. Yeah. Short life.

Which brings me to the point of why it should be so surprising that someone who wrote and spoke with such lucidity should also be a world-class boozehound-slash-fried-hat. Somehow I was under the delusion that someone who was so educated and practiced in Zen - viz., mental purity - would be trying to maintain physical purity as well. Maybe that's a bad assumption on my part. Perhaps the point is that one has nothing to do with the other. Or that some people are good at handling substances, and some are not (like me). Or that alcohol and narcotics are what they are, and work on the nervous system in a definable way, and all of that has nothing to do with the mythology and superstitions that have grown up around them. I've heard that certain yogis can munch down hundreds of mics of acid and remain completely lucid (Ram Dass has a story about that one), yet these same yogis do not choose chemically-augmented consciousness as their path to realization. Maybe they're hip to the fact that the consciousness does not lie within the substance.

So perhaps the point is that spiritual and mental acuity are over here and substance use is over there and although they share a sliver of a Venn diagram, neither one is utterly related to the other.

And with that in mind, I'm going to polish off my usual tankard of morning coffee. And boot some smack. And smoke the dog.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

1 comment:

Sgt. Whatever said...

Actually TD Suzuki was a drunk, and so is that crazy ass Korean whose name I can't remember and whole shitloads of writers, poets, jazz men and women, blues people etc. Actually most of the really spiritual people I ever actually knew anything about turned out to be very strange one way or another.

I don't know if we have any store of anecdotal evidence about people who might other wise be in this category but also try to refrain from what appears to be an overwhelming bent toward various kinds of inebriation. I don't know how long or of any reports on the lives of people like Watts or Suzuki who once drank but quit.

Would Joyce have been Joyce without alcohol. Would an Opiumless Lord Byron have been half as astute? Would I be an Avatar if I drank myself into an early grave?
I don't think I'll try it oday.