Alan Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Watts married three times and had seven children.
In 1936 Watts met Eleanor Everett at the Buddhist Lodge, were engaged the following year and married in 1938. A daughter, Joan, was born in November 1938 and another, Anne, was born in 1942. Their marriage ended in 1949.
In 1949 Jean Burden became his lover during a four year, tumultuous love affair and became the inspiration for his book Nature, Man and Woman. She remained in his thoughts to the end of his life.
In 1950, Watts married Dorothy DeWitt and moved to San Francisco. They began a family that grew to include five children: Tia, Mark, Richard, Lila, and Diane. The couple separated in the early 1960’s after Watts met Mary Jane Yates King.
In 1964, after a difficult divorce he married King. The couple divided their time between Sausalito, California, where they lived on a houseboat called the Vallejo, and a secluded cabin in Druid Heights, a bohemian community southwest of Mount Tamalpais in California, about a mile from the Pacific Ocean.
On 16th November 1973, he died in his sleep in his cabin in Druid Heights.
Watts put forward a worldview, drawing on Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, pantheism or panentheism, and modern science, in which he maintains that the whole universe consists of a cosmic Self playing hide-and-seek (Lila); hiding from itself (Maya) by becoming all the living and non-living things in the universe and forgetting what it really is.
In this worldview, Watts asserts that our conception of ourselves as an Ego is a myth; the entities we call the separate things are merely aspects or features of the whole.