What If Money Was No Object?: Thoughts on the Art of Living from Eastern Philosopher Alan Watts

Alan Watts came to San Francisco during the early 1950s, wrote his bestseller Way of Zen, and became one of the foremost popularizers of Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and various forms of Eastern philosophy. His TV show, Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960), introduced Americans to the seemingly exotic concept of meditation (watch here). And his radio show and lectures forced listeners to pause and look at their lives from a fresh perspective. Again and again, Watts challenged the Western emphasis on money-making to the exclusion of all else. We’ve heard Watts rail against this soul-crushing value in a lecture animated by the creators of South Park. (I’m not kidding you.) And, in the newly-produced video above, he continues along the same trajectory. So, as you drink your morning coffee and ponder your day, ask yourself: Are you putting money-making before happiness itself? Or are you pursuing the passions that bring happiness, achieving excellence, and then letting the money follow? With that, I’ll let you continue with your day.

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Comments (7)
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  • …if you wake up 10 days in a row, wondering why you are currently doing what you do, then you haven’t found something that truely motivates you. Or it is time to move on. You see, life is to short, to spend your time doing things you don’t really feel like doing. Life is too short to fulfil other people’s expectations and not your own. Life is to short to never take a shot at your dreams.Thanks for the great post! Best, Chris

  • Asgard Clone says:

    As usual with these inspirational whatsits, there is an assumption that 1. you know what you want to do and 2. whatever it is, it will be something that doesn’t traditionally earn money.

  • Anna says:

    Since Asgard Clone’s statement ends the discussion on such a negative, I feel compelled to reverse the direction. Whatever you might believe about these “inspirational assumptions”, it still holds true that to waste time being miserable on a daily basis just to earn money is no way to live a life. I find that most people who are 18 or 21 or even 25 and don’t know what they want to do, actually haven’t decided yet because they are interested in more than one thing! So why not encourage them to try them out? As Joseph Campbell, another Western teacher of mythology and religion liked to say, “follow your bliss”. As long as you’re not hurting others, do what makes you happy, because yes, life is too short not to. :)

  • kim says:

    this video is marked private, is there a way to view it?

  • David says:

    The title grates on my nerves. Alan Watts was much too articulate to have labeled anything: “What if money WAS…” Alan Watts would have recognized that the subjunctive was required here: “What is money WERE no object…..”

  • Steve says:

    @David: “What IF money WERE no object…”

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