We're Already Playing But People Don't See It - Alan Watts Explains The Game

This is a theoretical piece.

The article is a philosophical monologue by Alan Watts, discussing the nature of consciousness and self-awareness, and how it affects human perception and behavior.

Main topics: self-consciousness, free will, consciousness as the fabric of existence. Secondary topics: the nature of reality, the human condition, the role of language and symbols in human perception.

  1. The human brain and self-consciousness
  2. The price of being able to think and feel
  3. Representing reality with symbols
  4. The idea of God in Hindu mythology
  5. Being aware of being aware
  6. The concept of drama and pretending
  7. The central self and the game of hide and seek
  8. Defining oneself as a victim or the world
  9. Feeling responsible for one's own existence

The Hidden Game of Life According to Alan Watts

Alan Watts introduces the idea of life as a game where words have power and only what is recorded in the newspaper truly happens. The human brain's cortex gives humans the ability to consciously experience happiness, and without awareness, there is no real experience. Thousands of years ago, humans developed self-consciousness, which created the ability to think and make decisions based on foresight and symbols. These symbols have immense power, as seen in our current society, where paper money holds more value than the actual wealth it represents.

In Hindu mythology, God represents the self, consciousness, and bliss, signifying that reality itself is gorgeous and that existence is a celebration. According to Watts, everyone is the Ultimate Reality or God, but only a few recognize it, and it's okay to pretend that it's not true. The essence of life is drama, which means that individuals are not victims of fate or a mechanical world. Instead, they choose their lives and participate in the game of hide and seek with themselves.

The Power of Self-Identification

Watts proposes that individuals can define themselves either as victims of the world or the world itself. Making this distinction requires self-awareness and the acceptance of involuntary actions, such as heartbeat, as part of oneself. If individuals identify themselves solely based on voluntary actions, they limit themselves and only see themselves as victims of external forces. However, by embracing involuntary actions, individuals connect themselves to the fabric and structure of existence itself and become entirely responsible for their lives, whether comedy or tragedy.

The article on Alan Watts' philosophy can have a significant influence on various areas of knowledge and life. One of the areas affected is philosophy, as the article presents a unique perspective on the human experience. The ideas in the article can also be applied in psychology and neuroscience, particularly on the concept of self-consciousness and how it affects human behavior. The article can also have an impact on spirituality and religion, as it challenges traditional beliefs about God and the purpose of life.

However, the article lacks a scientific basis and empirical evidence to support its claims. It would benefit from complementing information from neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to better understand the human mind and the nature of reality. Moreover, the author could have explored the impact of social and cultural factors on the human experience and how they shape our reality.

One contradiction in the article is the emphasis on self-consciousness and the human problem while promoting the idea of the self as a fundamental part of existence. It seems to suggest that the self is a problem that needs solving, but at the same time, it presents the self as an essential component of the universe. This may confuse readers and lead to contradictory interpretations of the article's message.

Question 1

What does the cortex of the human brain enable us to do?

The cortex of the human brain enables us when we are happy to know that we're happy and that gives us certain resonance to it. If you're happy and you don't know you're happy, there's nobody home. - Alan Watts

Question 2

According to Indian mythology, how is God described?

God in Indian mythology is the self which means sat that which is chit that which is consciousness that which is Ananda is bliss in other words that what exists reality itself is gorgeous it is the plenum the fullness of total joy. - Alan Watts

Question 3

What is the difference between defining oneself as a victim of the world and defining oneself as the world?

If you identify you with what you call the voluntary system of the nerves and say only that's me and that's where really a rather limited amount of my total performance what I do voluntarily then you've defined yourself as the victim in the game. And so you are able to feel that life was a trap something else whether it was God or whether it was fate or whether it was the big mechanism the system imposed this on you and you can say poor little me but you can eat equally well and with just as much justification define yourself not only as what you do voluntarily but also what you do involuntarily that's you do do you beat your heart or don't you or does it just happen to you and if you define yourself as the works then nobody's imposing on you you can feel yourself not as a stranger in the world not as something that has arrived here by fluke but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental foreign. - Alan Watts

Question 4

What is the ultimate reality, according to Alan Watts?

So, in this idea, then, everybody is fundamentally the Ultimate Reality, not God in a politically kingly sense, but God in the sense of being the self, the deep-down basic whatever there is. And you're all that, only you're pretending, you're not. And it's perfectly okay to pretend you're not. To be absolutely convinced because this is the whole notion of drama. - Alan Watts

Outline for Quiz 1:

    Question 1: What is the game we are playing?

  • a. A physical game
  • b. A game of words
  • c. A mental game
  • d. A virtual game
  • Correct Answer: B

    Question 2: What happens if something isn't in the newspaper?

  • a. It didn't really happen
  • b. It's considered fake news
  • c. It's a conspiracy theory
  • d. It doesn't matter
  • Correct Answer: A

    Question 3: What is the price you pay for being able to think about things?

  • a. Happiness
  • b. Resonance
  • c. Anxiety
  • d. Satisfaction
  • Correct Answer: C

Outline for Quiz 2:

    Question 1: What is the cortex of the human brain responsible for?

  • a. Emotions
  • b. Memory
  • c. Consciousness
  • d. Decision making
  • Correct Answer: C

    Question 2: When did human beings evolve the system of self-consciousness?

  • a. Several million years ago
  • b. Several thousand years ago
  • c. A few hundred years ago
  • d. It's not known
  • Correct Answer: B

    Question 3: What is the Hindu mythology's view on the world?

  • a. The world is a tragedy
  • b. The world is a drama of God
  • c. The world is a comedy
  • d. The world is a nightmare
  • Correct Answer: B

Outline for Quiz 3:

    Question 1: What is the metaphor used to describe life?

  • a. A game of cards
  • b. A game of luck
  • c. A game of hide and seek
  • d. A game of strategy
  • Correct Answer: C

    Question 2: What does it mean to be a "genuine fake"?

  • a. To be a skilled liar
  • b. To be a real person who is pretending
  • c. To be a poor actor
  • d. To be an impostor
  • Correct Answer: B

    Question 3: How should one define themselves?

  • a. As a victim of the world
  • b. As the world
  • c. As a helpless individual
  • d. As a product of fate
  • Correct Answer: B
  1. Recognize that everything is a game: The article explains that life is a game and we are already playing it, whether we realize it or not. By acknowledging this, we can approach life with a sense of playfulness and curiosity rather than taking everything so seriously.
  2. Focus on the present moment: Since life is a game that is happening in real-time, it is important to focus on the present moment rather than getting caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past.
  3. Let go of the need to control everything: Because the human mind cannot calculate all variables in any given situation, it is impossible to control everything. To reduce anxiety, we should learn to let go of the need to control and instead focus on adapting to whatever situation arises.
  4. Recognize that you are the creator of your life: We are responsible for our lives (whether it be comedy or tragedy) because we are the ones controlling it through the actions we take and the thoughts we have. By taking responsibility, we can live a more intentional and fulfilling life.
  5. Find joy in the little things: We tend to focus on the paper (money) rather than the wealth (goods) we possess. By focusing on the small joys in life, we can find happiness in what we already have rather than constantly striving for more.

The best tip to include in daily life would be to focus on the present moment. By being mindful and fully present in whatever activity we are doing, we can reduce anxiety and enjoy life more fully. This can be practiced by simply paying attention to sensations in the body, focusing on the breath, or fully engaging our senses in the present moment.