Life is NOT a Journey – Alan Watts

Posted By on November 14, 2019


Existence – the physical universe, is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere, that is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at. But, it is best understood by analogy with music. Because music, as an art form, is essentially playful. We say you play the piano. You don’t work the piano. Why? Music differs from, say, travel. When you travel, you are trying to get somewhere. One doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition. If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest. (laughter in audience) And there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one cracking chord, ’cause that’s the end. (laughing) Same when dancing – you don’t aim at a particular spot in the room, that’s where you should arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance! Now, but we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our everyday conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling, which gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded. And what we do is we put the child into the corridor, of this grade system, with a kind of “Come on, kitty kitty kitty” and now, you go to kindergarten, you know, and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade. And then, come on, first grade leads to second grade and so on and then you get out of grade school and you go to high school, and it’s revving up – the thing is coming! And then you’re gonna go to college and, by Jove, then you’ll get into graduate school, and when you’re through with graduate school you’ll go out to join the world. And then you’ll get into some racket, where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make. And you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming, it’s coming, it’s coming, that great thing – the success you’re working for. Then, when you wake up one day about forty years old, you say, “My God, I’ve arrived. I’m there!” And you don’t feel very different from what you always felt. By expectation, look at the people who live to retire and put those savings away. And then, when they’re 65, they don’t have any energy left, they’re more or less impotent and uh, they go and rot in an old people’s “senior citizen’s community”. Ha ha Because we simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy with a journey with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe Heaven after you’re dead. But, we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing, or to dance, while the music was being played. For more interesting videos like this one, please subscribe.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 100 comments

  1. The message of the video: life IS a journey. you have to enjoy the journey instead of thinking where you’re gonna go next. It’s about living in the moment and enjoying the journey. You posted the video and you got it completely wrong my friend.

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  2. This is a very simplistic way to see Life… I really don’t like that kind of facebook wisdon reasonning. School and college dont kill your creativity, it’s quite the contrary, in all fields it’s praised and encouraged. Why do you HAVE to go to school and then work for the rest of your life? Hell, living costs money. Working can be enjoyed and you can use your spare time to have hobbies, passions, play games or whatever makes you happy.

    Literally 100% of people are trying to live their life the « dancing » way. Enjoying it as much as possible. That cynical, judgemental, narcissistic kind of seeing « people », the « others », is so typical of special snowflakes… smh

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  3. Basically life is more about the process to the end. Not about the end itself. That can be true depending on the rewards of the end. The end reward could be a joyful process.

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  4. This video should be retitled “Life is not only about the Outcomes” considering that a journey has a beginning, middle, and end that are all important and integral to the art, life is a journey and Allen Watts isn’t saying it isn’t, he is saying not everything is about the result, otherwise u would read the last page of each book… but a book like a song is a journey, it travels from beginning to end and the lesson is the end is not more important than the beginning or the middle…

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  5. OhWha?! Life is more about the process to the end. Not the end itself! Yet the end could just be another process anyways. Change your processes or they will change you, have a great life ( :

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  6. To live that kind of life (which is most definitely ideal) is almost impossible when you live in a capitalist world run by the super rich who could care less about their hording of money and resources as well as destroying the world.

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  7. Sorry i grew up in the SIXTIES in S.F CA in The Haight Ashbury …sadly him "Alan Watts & Alan Ginsberg & EVEN T.Leary & others" that had an "influence" we're ALL PSYOP PROGRAMS …TRUST I'm still a "hippie" HOWEVER We LITTERALLY had a mock Funeral for ALL of it in the Haight Ashbury because the scum bag grateful dead HIRED the COMPLETELY PSYOP hells angels as "SECURITY" at the heralded "West Coast Woodstock" AKA "Altamont" free concert the "security" ACTUALLY BEAT RAPED MURDERED festival attendees yeah they MURDERED an African American Man beat stabbed Him to death because they are FULL ON RACIST SCUM…thats when a bunch of Us that saw REALITY of what had INFILTRATED the "Peace & Love scene" was quite vile ego based new age "guru" PSYOP PROGRAMS GALORE a lot ignored the reality of the programs they kept repeating "it's ALL good" exactly like hypnotized ignorant consumers do "positive Babalonia" yeah look at Us now…that worked out great ..We are on the brink of Worldwide collapse "democracy" is dying WORLDWIDE & Our hedonistic "lifestyles" have cause MASS SUFFERING & DEATH of NOT ONLY Human Beings but also MASS die offs of Other Beings Animals & Trees & Medicines of The Sacred Earth…LIFE IS NOT A PARTY LIFE is dedication work honoring BEING IN GRACE ACTING as Good Beings & holding Sacred Grandmother Earth & Grandfather Sky in CARE & RESPECT not taking for granted…however BEING SUSTAINABLE & Tending in Good Ways …sorry to burst anyone's bubble but DANG it's RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! THIS LIFE is a Sacred Gift A "TEST" of WHO YOU ARE what do You ALIGN Yourself with & to???? There IS a "battle" of Heart/Soul …will YOU have The Strength to decern wisely? Or follow a bunch hedonistic selfish vain ego MANIACS ? The choice is Ours NO doubt & ANY ORGANISED PHILOSOPHY OR RELIGION IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS try RESEARCHING YOUR INNER SELF FIRST your Ancestors then diligently research hidden history of Our World…THAT is THE BEST place to LEARN . Care Infinite🙏🌰🌱🌲💐💗🐢🐦

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  8. Absolutely astounding how thousands of people dislike this non racist, non controversial video. There’s nothing to dislike

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  9. While I agree with the premise, the content, the explanation within this video, actually indicates “it’s the journey” not the destination

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  10. Music depending on your mood, an escape from reality.

    It can lift you up or take you down, it can allow you mind to be free.

    The old tunes that make you laugh, inspire you and make you try.

    Some that will make you happy or sad, those that can make you cry.

    But music is a pleasure, entirely your choice to pick and choose.

    At the end of the night it can relax you, helping you to snooze.

    https://steemit.com/@tokemderf

    Reply
  11. Life is an experience. The ultimate experience for all living beings is an orgasm. Genitalia are the driver to sustain life on earth. 👽

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  12. The key to Alan Watts is he spoke with absolute certainty he was right. Most life coach types do this. They sound so certain that others follow their advice. But the truth is as right or wrong they are, all the Deepak, Watts, Robins of the world have lives full of chaos, pain, and doubts just like everyone else.

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  13. Ik denk dat het leven meer een opgave is dan een doel…..! Muziek zou opnieuw geschreven moeten worden als de "gezonde" frequenty….! Wat een stomme presentator……!! STOP DIE GROTE EGO….!!

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  14. The funny thing is that boring normal people with normal goals support with their production and taxes all these 'professors' that in return got the free time to mock the first ones

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  15. Reminds me of Time by Pink Floyd
    this line in particular:
    "So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
    racing around to come up behind you again"

    Reply
  16. As you set out for Ithaka

    hope your road is a long one,

    full of adventure, full of discovery.

    Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

    angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

    you’ll never find things like that on your way

    as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

    as long as a rare excitement

    stirs your spirit and your body.

    Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

    wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

    unless you bring them along inside your soul,

    unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

    Hope your road is a long one.

    May there be many summer mornings when,

    with what pleasure, what joy,

    you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;

    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

    to buy fine things,

    mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

    sensual perfume of every kind—

    as many sensual perfumes as you can;

    and may you visit many Egyptian cities

    to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

    Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

    But don’t hurry the journey at all.

    Better if it lasts for years,

    so you’re old by the time you reach the island,

    wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,

    not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

    Without her you wouldn't have set out.

    She has nothing left to give you now.

    And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

    Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

    you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

    Reply
  17. Yes his analogy is right to a certain point. A successful achievements in your life depends on your goal or perception. Since I cannot speak for everyone else, my life I dedicate and sacrifice for the future and well being of both my kids. As a contractor, I spend most of my time away from my family, but is a sacrifice I make to give them a better chance to have a happy life later on in life, so they don’t have to struggle or be away from their kids when they become parents…and that for me, in the last days of my life, I will rest at peace happy to be able to achieve my life goal…

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  18. Yes it’s all very beautiful but unfortunately if the bills don’t get paid by the end of the month you gonna dance on the streets and without a family. I know, it sucks.

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  19. It's simple, do what makes you happy, but not at the direct expense of others (cannot control indirect).

    Why? Because any direct expense/harm robs another person of the ability to do the same. Just be happy 🙌🙏💞

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  20. This video made me sad. My father told his useless son that he did it right by partying and having a good time everyday. My father worked to find retirement and when he got there he realized that is was not worth it because he was too old and broken to enjoy it. His son now lives life to find peace and happiness where ever he can. You born and after that you have only one thing left to do in this world and that is die. In between you have as much fun as possible,.

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  21. someone help, if life shouldn’t be taken too seriously then what should i do? i hate school it’s useless i feel like i could be doing a lot more with my life if it wasn’t for school. but i need to graduate to get a job and i need a job to get money. what is a man without money? you have no choice in this world but please someone help me what to do

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  22. I always resent self proclaimed ‘artists’ when they say they worked with X or worked in the studio etc etc, when describing making music. Music is not work.

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  23. You should also make one of these videos for when Mike Tyson gets into deep subjects, he's very inspirational, DMT has completely changed him as a person

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  24. Ok i got the message,enjoy the life and don't Ask questions about purpose of life. But is hard to maitain a happyness, constant wars, hunger, most of a time we work. We Born to work! That's a problem. In most countries, the murder rate is lower than that of suicide, isn't that something to think about?
    800000 people annually commit suicide! That's all guyana population!

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  25. As soon as you are born you are destined to die.Maybe married couples who have babies should be charged with murder knowing full well that they have brought a human into this world that most certainly die
    Maybe it is safer NOT to be born!!!

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  26. THIS is why, to me, being disabled is a BLESSING.
    I CAN'T work a shitty 9-5 that I hate, just to barely make the rent… I get my $500 a month and its not a lot but that's what I've got and I'm not chained to any monotonous profession…
    I'm free to explore my passions, though I'm limited by my body in many ways, and I can live my life moment by moment.
    I'm limited in where I can live and things I can afford by my income but money isn't the key to happiness or success.
    I'm counting my god damn blessings.

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  27. People I love you,really,sounds ridiculous to say it here but in comments a lot will see💖
    Whenever I read comments I feel youtube and people such a family lol I like this

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  28. No.
    Life is not a song, but rather a chaotic mishmash of random notes and tempos or just nothing. You have to fight for years, constantly. You beat away at the chaos until you finally succeed and turn it into a beautiful song. But even after ALL of that, you have to keep fighting. Otherwise, the beautiful song becomes dull and predictable.
    So you ask yourself, "Is it worth it? Why must I try so hard to keep meaning and beauty in my life? Do we really have to work this hard for meaning?"
    You cant help but feel as if life itself is some sort of test. A test against hunger. A test against conflict. A test against keeping warm. How will I keep warm this time in order to survive? We're forced work incessantly, lest we feel terrible pain and discomfort. I hear the music accompanied to a long and grueling death is not all that good.

    Comparing life to school, life is a whole lot worse. You fail one test? you die – Passed them all? You still die. You found love, complete meaning and raised a beautiful family? You're gonna have to leave that all behind. Can't help but wonder what this is all for.

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  29. Life has very well a destination and that’s heaven or hell, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live your live. Of course without trespassing those boundaries set by god.
    So that whole nihilistic point of view will get you but nowhere. Maybe everyone should consider their actions being judged afterwards 🙂

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  30. Yes it is its a lot of things we spend alot of time biting off more than we can chew learning nothing makeing bad bad horrible stupid decisions then runnaway journey i dont know if i be back before world destroys itself.

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  31. While I absolutely think what he is saying is literally perfect (maybe a bit too perfect) A journey can mean different things in my opinion, the enjoyment of the journey and the new bonds you made make much much sweeter. A Journey is a road trip to self-discovery and learning universal truths, just learning stuff about the world and how beautifully it was made from its lifeforms’ core physical principles to human psychology, history or just simply understanding how to survive and make friends.

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  32. We've become too work-obsessed. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with work, but we treat it as if that's what life is all about. Spending our whole lives "earning a living", yet hardly living at all.

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  33. What I hate about theses philosophical discussions is they lack context.
    Most people are letting holding their nuts figuring out what he meant by playing and dancing which unfortunately only a few figure out ON THEIR OWN.

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  34. The whole of life is merely moment in the perennial passage of time. It's true for all creatures. We are blessed to realize that, yet we forget it. Others aren't, yet they crawl, fly, sing, and dance to the tunes that oftentimes only they could hear. That's, what one might call, life. "Life" on this mere speck of dust. Enchanting philosophy, innit?

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  35. Most people don't rot in an old folks home at just 65 unless they are sick. Actually, life IS a journey, there's just no particular destination.

    Reply

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