I’m Chase Reeves. I collect and develop thoughts on how to make and live matterfully.

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Bean on how Power Works

“…these fools always look up for power. People above you, they never want to share power with you. Why you look to them? They give you nothing. People below you, you give them hope, you give them respect, they give you power, cause they don’t think they have any, so they don’t mind giving it up.”

Bean, Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card

Daniel Ladinsky on Becoming a Successful Poet

“I hear I am one of the most successful living poets in the world these days. And if someone asked me, ‘How in the hell did that ever happen?’ I could respond, ‘Well, I worked my butt off, and I have been lucky at poker, and the heart is more powerful than I knew.’”

Daniel Ladinsky

Alan Watts on How to Become Wise

“The whole approach is not to convert you, not to make you over, not to improve you, but for you to discover that if you really knew the way you are things would be sane. But you see, you can’t do that. You can’t make that discovery because you’re in your own way so long as you think ‘I am I,’ so long as that hallucination blocks it. The hallucination disappears only in the realization of it’s own futility, when at last you see you can’t do it. […] You know a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. So you’ve got to speed up the folly. […] What you took to be a thinker of the thoughts was just one of the thoughts. What you took to be the experiencer of the experience was just a part of the experience.”

Alan Watts

“You already have the precious mixture that will make you well. Use it.”

Rumi

A note to Ice to the Brim readers about Alan Watts

Hey y’all! (I’m talking mostly to you, email subscribers.) It might seem like my blog’s been taken over by Alan Watts quotes. Yes, it has; you’re not crazy.

I’m in the middle of an excellent lecture series by Alan Watts called You’re It and it’s kind of hitting all my buttons.

What I’ve known of Watts before always left me feeling pretty good about him, but I never dove deep into his work. Now, however, this book is giving me full on hunger pangs for more.

Listen, if you’re interested in this kind of stuff too, shoot me a lil’ tweet or something. I don’t know, feels like this stuff could matter a lot and it’s kind of lonely out here.

K. Hi. Sorry I don’t write to you more!

“The part of you that wants to improve is the same part of you that needs improvement.”

Alan Watts

Alan Watts on the Legitimacy of Words

“The poet is trying to describe what cannot be said. And he gets close, you know? He often really gives the illusion that he’s made it. And that’s a great thing, to be able to say what can’t be said. I am trying to express the mystical experience and it just can’t be done. And therefore everything I’m saying to you is a very elaborate deception. I’m weaving all kinds of intricate nonsense patterns which sound as if they’re about to make sense and they don’t really [laughter]. […]

The patterns that people make with words are just like the patterns of ferns, or of the marks on sea shells — they are a dance and they’re just as much of a legitimate form of life as flowers.”

Alan Watts

“We might work on this possibility that civilisation is a mistake and that we have taken completely the wrong track…”

Alan Watts

“The mystical experience is nothing other than becoming aware of your true physical relationship to the universe, and you are amazed, thunderstruck by the feeling that underneath everything that goes on in this world, the fundamental thing is the state of unbelievable bliss.”

Alan Watts

“It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”

Robert Oppenheimer, “Father” of the atomic bomb

Alan Watts on the Most Difficult Task

“That’s what consists in being a [Zen] master. He’s not doing it because he wants to be superior, to put down other human beings. He’s doing it out of great compassion because he feels he knows something, which if you could find out, you would just be so happy and would want to give it to everybody else. But you can’t give it away because everybody’s got it, because what you’ve got to make them do is to see that they have it, that you don’t give it to them. And that’s the most difficult task. ”

Alan Watts


This line at the end — it’s at the very end of Chapter 6 of his lecture book You’re It — as the words come out his voice goes introspective, somber.

This to me is what he felt he was making his life about. I’m endlessly grateful for people like him who didn’t stop to simply enjoy themselves when they realized the whole name of the game was to enjoy yourself.

(Watts was a great enjoyer of himself as well. No bones about it.)

What Alan Watts Calls Himself

“… fake, rascal, philosophical entertainer, ego inside a bag of skin. ”

What Alan Watts Called Himself

How his friends remember him:

“He saw the true emptiness of all things. He taught us to be free. To see through the multiplicities and absurdities to the Great Universal Personality and Play. He gave us the Dharma Eye of a new age…”

“Wide Mind, Joyous Mind, Careful Loving Mind. For the true life is beyond life and death, origination, and extinction. We are with you in the many paths you opened for us…”

“Alan Watts was a philosopher, a poet, a calligrapher, a lover, a friend, a dharma reveler, a revealer, a great founder of the spirit for all of us…”

Alan Watts is one of those lights in my life. I want to learn more about him. I understand there’s some scandal in how he ended his days, but this recount of his life makes me wonder how much is true.

Dude was a badass mystic trickster.

Alan Watts on Good Government

“Chuang Tzu (Lao Tzu’s successor) put it this way: ‘people who speak of having good government without its correlative — misrule — or right without it’s correlative — wrong — do not understand the basic principles of the universe. One might just as well speak of having yang without yin. Such people must be either naves or fools.’ Of course, how would we know we were wise if there weren’t naves and fools? ”

Alan Watts

Bo Burnham on Who’s Qualified to Talk About Something

“I think the problem is that oftentimes, the only people that are qualified to talk about something are people that, were they to talk about it, they’d be hypocrites. I don’t think I would know certain things if I hadn’t benefited from it. So I feel like it’s sort of my job to just pull the rug out from under something.”

Bo Burnham

Still sort of reeling from watching his “Make Happy” special on Netflix. This video came out showing the final song of the show… that line about giving the audience what he can’t give himself. Damn. Got me.

Here’s another quote from this article that I liked:

“I’ve always just been very confused about how comedy is supposed to be about honesty, how everyone would always say to me, ‘You got to be more honest up there,’ but honestly what I’m feeling is: this is strange. That’s the first thing I’m thinking. That me standing up here is super weird. This is all very weird and us pretending this isn’t weird, pretending like I’m your best friend, just a cool guy at a party getting up making jokes, is really strange.”