Alan Watts on rhythmic awareness & warfare

1 02 2009

“If work is what must be done in order to go on living, the proper activity of That Which Is will obviously be play…Rhythm lies at the heart of play, and thus various rhythmic actions are the primordial forms of delight–bird song, the chirping of crickets, the beating of hearts, the pulsation of laughter, the ecstatic loss of self in drumming and dancing, the sonorous vibrations of voices and strings and bells. Absorption in rhythm can go on and on until energy fails, for when we survey the various cultures of humankind it appears there is nothing people would rather do than be lost all night in rhythm. This is why the Christian angels sing “Alleluia, alleluia” forever before the Vision of God, and why their Buddhist counterparts are alleged to chant “Tutte, tutte/vutte, vutte/patte patte/katte katte!”
“I am quite sure, therefore, that an essential component of my heaven and preoccupation of the inmost Self would be absorption in rhythm: and as I look at light and water and listen to the pulses on my own body, I can hardly doubt that this is the truth…
“There is variety not only in the beat of rhythms but in the medium–drum, string, tube, bell, and then on to rhythm in bodily motion, in forms and visual pattern, in transformations of color, in songs and poetry, and in the complexities of pure ideas. And beyond this, the dramas and plots of human history, the fortunes of war, the strategems of love, the gambling financiers, and the endless pursuit of the illusion of political power–all these are variations and complications of delight in rhythm.”
Alan Watts, BEYOND THEOLOGY, 1964

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