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I am particularly fond of Alan Watts. So I was listening to one of his recordings the other day and I haven't been able to figure out what is said at 32:05. It is highly complex to my foreign ears. It might be just as hard for the natives present.

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  • ".. is the which than which there is no whicher". Ie. the most you that you can be. Not the most regular grammar, but a spontaneously coined ideom that makes some sense in context. I'm not the least surprised that it gave you trouble. Apr 16, 2020 at 21:52
  • Interpretation / transliteration / deciphering of audios, lyrics etc is, as regular contributors know, off-topic. Apr 11, 2021 at 11:16

3 Answers 3

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He says "Is the which, than which, there is no whicher."

We can translate this from the metaphysical gobbledygook to "The great thing or being, than which, there is no greater".

Although equally, because of the use of "which", you can substitute "great" for any positive adjective, e.g. kind, wise, powerful, etc., etc.

Alan Watts has coined the nonce word "whicher" as a parallel and for alliteration/assonance (a figure of rhetoric called "repetition") in order to mean "Whatever the attributive adjective was that you give to your god or ideal."

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  • Thanks! What is "metaphysical gobbledygook"?
    – mjfneto
    Apr 17, 2020 at 1:04
  • Both words are in the dictionary...
    – Greybeard
    Apr 17, 2020 at 10:12
  • Quote should be "which than which there is no whicher" - there's nothing gobbledygook about it. But, that in of itself is hilarious to think that's the accepted answer. We all choose our paths. Apr 11, 2021 at 10:49
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There's rhymes of perspective to "which than which there is no whicher" and in the jest of humility and enlightenment, riddles and thinking help usher a path of hard workings. But, fear not because even when given the answer it won't be understood since it still requires contemplation.

Here's the context for the quote:

Nevertheless, I know too that this temporary pattern, this process, is a function, a doing, a karma, of all that is and of the "which than which there is no whicher" in just the same way as the sun, the galaxy, or, shall we be bold to say, Jesus Christ or Gautama the Buddha. How can I say this without offense - without seeming proud, haughty, and pretentious? I simply, and even humbly, know that I am The Eternal, even though such supremely enlightened people as Jesus, Buddha, Kabir, Sri Ramakrishna, Hakuin, and Sri Ramana Maharshi may have manifested this knowledge in a more forceful and authoritative style. I would be affecting the most dishonest false modesty if I did not acknowledge this, and yet the idea of my coming on as a messiah or great guru just breaks me up with laughter.

When one tends to think of the cosmos, the self usually arises, then the self may question whom is questioning the self? And thus the recursion arises.

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It sounds like "The Which Than Which There Is No Whicher"; you can find that here for instance.

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