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  1. Much more than documents.
  2. The Life and Choice Works of Isaac Watts (eBook)
  3. Divine songs: attempted in easy language for the use of children. By I. Watts, D.D.
  4. The Spectrum of Love by Alan Watts

Much more than documents.

That, in other words, government is always a mess, because the state opposes itself to the people. We live under a constitution where we are supposed to be governed by ourselves. As somebody once said, Down with democracy when we get it. Because the state always—the government always creates itself as a business in competition with all the other businesses.

The Taoists said of the state that it should be as anonymous and as unobtrusive as possible. That is to say that the emperor—instead of going around in processions, and being heralded, and flags waved—should be as unobtrusive as the head of the sanitation department. And the feeling of Lao Tzu is that the president, or the emperor, should have the same kind of attitude: that he should simply help the people and retire, and not claim any merits for it.

Always withdraw himself, always be behind the scenes. Not striving for power, but simply to help things along. Govern a great state, he said, as you would cook a small fish. Do it gently. Softly, softly, catchee monkey. So then, here is a conception of nature as something you must trust. Outside nature—the birds, the bees, the flowers, the mountains, the clouds—and inside nature; human nature.

I do not trust nature at all. You know what that leads to? It leads to and Big Brother. And you report all your thoughts to your analyst, and your analyst keeps a record of them and reports them to the government. And everybody is busy keeping records of everything. This is already eating us up. The library can go hang. Then, furthermore, the main function of a university—as any sensible person would imagine—[is] to teach students and to do research.

So the faculty should be the most important thing in the university. On the contrary—the administration is the most important thing. The people who keep the records, who make the game rules up. And so the faculty are always being obstructed by the administration and being forced to attend irrelevant meetings, and to do everything but scholarship. Do you know what scholarship means? What a school means? The original meaning of a scholar? We talked of a scholar and a gentleman, because a gentleman was a person who had a private income and he could afford to be a scholar.

Today, nothing is more busy than a school. All the charming irrelevancies of life. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You pick up a pebble on the beach and look at it: beautiful! Sermons in stones and God in everything be damned. Just enjoy it.

The Life and Choice Works of Isaac Watts (eBook)

Enjoy the pebble. If you do that, you become healthy. You become able to be a loving, helpful human being. They think nature is purposeless. A great Zen master said as his death poem, just before he died, From the bathtub to the bathtub, I have uttered stuff and nonsense. The bathtub in which the baby is washed at birth, the bathtub in which the corpse is washed before burial, all this time I have said many nonsenses. Attract them, with a song. Why do that?

Divine songs: attempted in easy language for the use of children. By I. Watts, D.D.

See, human beings are really a lot of tubes. And all living creatures are just tubes. And these tubes have to put things in at one end and let it out at the other. Then they get clever about it and they develop nerve ganglia on one end of the tube—the eating end—called a head.

The Spectrum of Love by Alan Watts

And so that the show can go on the tubes have complicated ways of making other tubes, who go on doing the same thing. In at one end, out the other. But when [the] Chinese say nature is purposeless, this is a compliment. As watching a ship vanish behind a distant island. As wandering on and on in a great forest with no thought of return. Carry a stick with you and you occasionally hit at old stumps?

Wander along and sometimes twiddle your thumbs? All music is purposeless. Is music getting somewhere? If it were… I mean, if the aim of music were—of a symphony—were to get to the final bar, the best conductor would be the one who got there fastest. Dancing—when you dance, you aim to arrive at a particular place on the floor.

Is that the idea of dancing? The aim of dancing is to dance! We think life has a purpose. His purpose for you and his purpose for me. When I asked these cats what the purpose was they never knew! In heaven all those angels are gathered around the glory of God.

That is to say, the which than which there is no whicher. Catholics call it the beatific vision, the Jews call it the Shekhinah. There are all those angels. It means nothing. He created this and said, Have a ball! But before he said that he said, You must draw the line somewhere.

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That was the real thing he said first; before Let there be light, that came later. First thing was, You must draw the line somewhere. Otherwise nothing will happen.

You know? Black and white, light and darkness. Must draw the line somewhere. If you do trust it you may get let down. There are going to be mistakes.

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No go. I want to be absolutely sure this ashtray hits that individual.