Alan Watts claims most of the Western world as it is thought to be known has been operating under two great myths for centuries; myths that can be let go of in order to see something beyond, like removing a massive blindfold over millions of people. The two myths described in his Nature of Consciousness are the ceramic model and automatic model; both of which define the cosmological force as something that is external to the individual with a foundation based on separation in every perceived form. Watts is not trying to convince readers of anything, but is simply proposing the idea that separation is an illusion and the world is essentially one organism. While human beings are organisms and perceived to be separate from the universe and each other, they are actually one with all that is; what is perceived as individual lives is really just a dramatic model – a world of display; much like actors in a movie.
The impact of Watts’ dramatic model is ineffable and transcendent upon anything the human brain could conceive or describe using words. Many people perceive themselves as victims to their life, perhaps stuck in some kind of fated existence that is deserving of punishment. This comes as no surprise considering this is what has been fed to the masses through the ceramic model. The automatic model of the universe is perceived like a machine – there is no fate, just random, meaningless happenstance – which for many has resulted in nihilism. The point here is for each individual to take accountability and responsibility for their circumstances in life. People are not victims; the world does not have to be devastating and fearful; humans all choose their subjective reality and can make quantum leaps to change their reality all on their own. There is no need for an external savior, for the savior lies within.
Watts has built credibility from being a philosopher, writer, and speaker. To research him further is to find many quotations towards self-actualization, much like one may quote teachings from Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche, Eckhart Tolle, etc. He draws from metaphysics and religious traditions to show that humanity is the Divine expressing itself in infinite variety through consciousness; something that touches the heart of readers because they already are everything they dream to be or desire to become in the “future”. However, there is no future and no past, only right now – the present moment – the place where everything that has ever existed in any realm of consciousness is found. He touches the heart and emotions by igniting a spark within and creating a bursting flame. He appeals to the intellect through various metaphorical examples and descriptions of several faucets of life, from the psychological to philosophical, religious and dogmatic. All the while, he invites the reader to draw outside the lines; to not only think outside the box but throw the box away entirely. The brain is merely a tool that has helped people attempt to understand and navigate this third dimensional world that is really just a game of hide and seek.
Watts shows the readers that humans chose this game and it is only temporary. Humanity wanted to get lost in the most extreme adventures, to really just play around without feeling connectedness, to experiment. All of this is much like a great quote from Bill Hicks, “We are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.” Even though humans are hiding from themselves, they have played this game long enough that they actually believe it to be real. This is why the return to full consciousness is exciting for humanity; just think, each individual creates his or her circumstances and the collective thus creates the world. The world right now is interpreted as rather dismal, is it not? When enough people of the world remember they can stop “hiding and seeking”, they can come together to create and experience Earth as the Heaven it already is. There is nothing outside of self; “as within, so without” (google Hermeticism). Perhaps the reason the planet appears to be suffering is because humans believe they deserve suffering, thus the internal concept manifests to the external reality as we experience it. To realize each individual’s experience can be changed by this flip of perspective is to come to find it is safe to finally let go of everything that isn’t absolute love and joy. Pain, suffering, depression, anger, sadness, fear; all of these emotions that each person experiences to be real are just expressions in the game of hiding from the Divine essence in us all. When an individual wants to wake up, they will, for the dreamer can dream as long as they desire but will always awaken from slumber at some point. The sleeper does not sleep forever.
All of this is even more exciting, to think that no matter how long one chooses to experience the furthest outliers of existence, there is no escape from returning to Divinity, the oneness of all that is. In truth, there would not be a return at all, Divinity is what humans already are and there is nothing to fear. Fear itself is just another illusion, another act in a great, dramatic play. So, when a person awakens from sleep every morning to go to work, perhaps instead of being upset about the state of the world or his or her perceived separate existence, instead put forth the intention to create love and joy with every breath, to cease anchoring the mind into anything else.
As Eckhart Tolle has said, find happiness in every step of this journey within perceived separation. Regardless what any one being creates and experiences for themselves, there are as many paths to awaken as there are beings. All the “gooey prickles” and “prickly goo” will come to remember their wiggle-wiggle (Watts) at their own pace and unique self-expression. When people do wake up, they are not learning something beyond what they thought before, they are not evolving or revolutionizing anything. Humans are very simply remembering what they have always been, will be, and already are right now.
One of my favorite metaphors that Alan Watts used is how we are playing “hide and seek” from our souls. To me, this speaks volumes that can be appreciated in a new way each time I think of it. We are this magnificent sentient being that we have come to define on the level of perception, “Well my name is Jessica and I’m into ‘hippie stuff’ and yeah maybe I wish there were designated ‘hug times’ as seen in the movie Trolls, and some people just don’t like hugs.” Okay, so that’s my personal way of expressing myself in a very general way. How about an example of an outsider’s perspective, “Oh, that girl? Yeah, she’s got dyed red hair and she works over there in that department. She seems nice.” We define ourselves and each other as what we look like on the surface, what our career is, hobbies, etc. This is playing hide and seek from the self because we are limited by our perception of self. We look at ourselves and only see that ten percent of the ice berg, so to speak. With all that being said, now that we have played hide and seek for countless lifetimes, why don’t we flip the script to seek and find?