Any regular readers of this blog will know one of my favourite writers and one of the chief influences on my outlook on life is Alan Watts. Although he died in 1973, he has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years via the web. I believe his work and his ideas are more vital now than ever.
Chris Britt and Alan’s son Mark Watts are trying to get funding to produce a documentary about Alan, his life and his work called “In The Way”. I’ve always thought Watts, who was a colourful and controversial figure, would make an excellent subject for a documentary. Not only would his life alone make a fascinating story, but it would serve as a great platform for his ideas to reach a new audience.
They are using Kickstarter to raise funds. Kickstarter is a service where people can ‘crowd-source’ funding for projects; if they don’t make their target, backers get their money back. They’ve set themselves the task of raising $50,000 by April 27. I really hope they make it. To promote it, they have a Kickstarter page, and have made this short trailer
“In The Way” Kickstarter page
More Alan Watts on Pricky Goo
[REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord]
When Michael Jackson died in 2008, Achewood ran a comic in which the characters discuss the King of Pop’s passing. One of the character’s compared the event to hearing that another Space Shuttle has blown up.
Everything about it is so big you ain’t got the synaptic bandwidth to process the girth of the grief.
That phrase has always stuck with me. “you ain’t got the synaptic bandwidth to process the girth of the grief”
It popped back into my head last week as the world witnessed the disaster unfolding in Japan. All week long I’ve seen people struggle to come to terms with what they have been seeing. Me included. People just seemed stumped, unable to process it.
But as I sit here writing this, it of course occurs to me, that what ever about having the synaptic bandwidth to cope with seeing images of this horror, imagine living through it? I can’t. So i’ll stop writing.
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During this years General Election in Ireland, a group by the name of UpStart ran a fascinating campaign of public art exhibition. Gathering submissions from the public in the form of text, photography, art and design, they published and placed a series of election-style posters throughout Dublin City.
In their own words:
UpStart is a non-profit arts collective which aims to put creativity at the centre of public consciousness during the Irish General Election Campaign in 2011. We plan to do this by reinterpreting the spaces commonly used for displaying election campaign posters in Dublin City.
The result was a wonderful celebration of art in public, and one that went some way to counter the deluge of inane political statements that screamed at us from the top of lamp-posts. It was great to see so many works of art dotted throughout the City, sitting side-by-side with the usual electioneering. It was even better to see so many people standing in the street, staring up at them, heads tilted to the side contemplating their meaning.
As well as being a huge fan of the project, I was also lucky enough to have a piece selected. Thanks to UpStart brightening up our streets and thanks for allowing me my own little piece of a lamp-post.
A student, filled with emotion and crying, implored “Why is there so much suffering?”
Suzuki Roshi replied, “No reason.”
From ‘Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, Author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind‘