Alan Watts had a unique perspective on the ego, which he saw as a source of both liberation and suffering. He believed that the ego, or the sense of self that we all possess, was both necessary for navigating the world and a major source of our dissatisfaction and anxiety.
According to Watts, the ego is a construct of the mind, created through social conditioning and our experiences in the world. It is the part of ourselves that identifies with our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and that seeks to protect and defend our sense of identity.
While the ego can be useful in helping us navigate the world and achieve our goals, Watts argued that it can also cause us to suffer when we become too attached to our sense of self. When we identify too strongly with our thoughts and beliefs, we can become rigid and closed off to new experiences and perspectives.
Watts believed that true liberation from the ego came from a sense of egolessness or emptiness, where we let go of our attachment to our sense of self and simply allow ourselves to be in the present moment. This state of egolessness, he argued, was the key to experiencing inner peace and connectedness to the world around us.
In his teachings, Watts often used examples from Eastern philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism, to illustrate his views on the ego. He emphasized the importance of mindfulness and self-awareness in understanding the nature of the ego and in cultivating a sense of inner peace and fulfillment.
Overall, Alan Watts saw the ego as both a necessary part of the human experience and a source of suffering. He believed that true liberation came from letting go of our attachment to our sense of self and embracing a state of egolessness or emptiness, where we could experience the world in a more open and authentic way.