Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan's Teachings
Appendix A to E
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Alternate beginning to first four paragraphs beginning in the compilation from The Teachings of don Juan
You will have to make a very deep commitment because this training is long and arduous.
Power rests on the kind of knowledge one holds. What is the sense knowing things that are useless?
* * *
Nothing in this world is a gift; whatever there is to learn has to be learned the hard way.
One can feel with the eyes, when the eyes are not looking right into things.
You have to be inflexible with yourself if you want to learn.
You must have command over your resources.
There is nothing wrong with being afraid. When you fear, you see things in a different way.
I am going to teach you the secrets that make up the lot of a man of knowledge.
You will learn in spite of yourself; that's the rule.
You are a serious person, but your seriousness is attached to what you do, not to what goes on outside you. You dwell upon yourself too much. That's the trouble. And that produces a terrible fatigue. Seek and see the marvels all around you. You will get tired of looking at yourself alone, and that fatigue will make you deaf and blind to everything else.
* * *
A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war; wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it will live to regret his steps.
When a man has fulfilled those four requisites there are no mistakes for which he will have to account; under such conditions his acts lose the blundering quality of a fool's acts. If such a man fails, or suffers a defeat, he will have lost only a battle; and there will be no pitiful regrets over that.
I intend to teach you about an "ally" in the very same way my own benefactor taught me. An "ally" is a power a man can bring into his life to help him, advise him, and give him the strength necessary to perform acts; whether big or small, right or wrong. This ally is necessary to enhance a man's life, guide his acts, and further his knowledge. In fact, an ally is the indispensable aid to knowing.
An ally will make you see and understand things about which no human being could possible enlighten you. It is neither a guardian nor a spirit. It is an aid. An ally is tamed and used.
The acquiring of an ally requires the most precise teaching and the following of stages or steps without a single deviation. There are many such ally powers in the world. An ally is a power capable of carrying a man beyond the boundaries of himself. This is how an ally can reveal matters no human being could. An ally takes you out of yourself to give you power.
Learning through conversation is not only a waste, but stupidity, because learning is the most difficult task a man can undertake. Remember the time you tried to find your "spot," and how you wanted to find it without doing any work because you expected me to hand out all the information. If I had done so, you would never have learned. But now, knowing how difficult it was to find your spot, and above all knowing that it exists; gives you a unique sense of confidence. While you remain rooted to your "good spot" nothing can cause you bodily harm, because you have the assurance that at that particular spot you are at your very best. You have the power to shove off anything that might be harmful to you. If, however, I had told you where it was, you would never have had the confidence needed to claim it as true knowledge. Thus, knowledge is indeed power.
Every time a man sets himself to learn he has to labor as hard as you did to find that spot, and the limits of his learning are determined by his own nature. Thus I see no point in talking about knowledge. Certain kinds of knowledge are too powerful for the strength you have, and to talk about them would only bring harm to you.
Fears are natural; all of us experience them and there is nothing we can do about it. But on the other hand, no matter how frightening learning is, it is more terrible to think of a man without an ally, or without knowledge.
The calling of a name is a serious matter, especially if one is learning to tame an ally power. Names are reserved to be used only when one is calling for help; in moments of great stress and need. I assure you that such moments happen sooner or later in the life of whoever seeks knowledge.
* * *
Man lives only to learn. And if he learns it is because that is the nature of his lot, for good or bad.
* * *
A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning, a man who has, without rushing or without faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of power and knowledge. To become a man of knowledge he must challenge and defeat his four natural enemies. A man can call himself a man of knowledge only if he is capable of defeating all four of them. Anybody who defeats them becomes a man of knowledge. Anyone can try to become a man of knowledge; very few men actually succeed, but that is only natural. The enemies a man encounters on the path of learning to become a man of knowledge are truly formidable; most men succumb to them.
To be a man of knowledge has no permanence. One is never a man of knowledge, not really. Rather, one becomes a man of knowledge for a very brief instant, after defeating the four natural enemies.
Alternate reading to follow the first two paragraphs from the beginning of A Seperate Reality
In this system of knowledge there is a difference between seeing and looking. They are two distinct manners of perceiving. Looking refers to the ordinary way in which we are accustomed to perceiving the world, while seeing entails a process by virtue of which a man of knowledge perceives the essence of the things of the world.
Acquiring the necessary speed to catch a glimpse of that fleeting world of nonordinary reality is a goal of your training. You may call it a condition of inapplicability because what you will perceive when you acquire that necessary speed is incomprehensible and impossible to interpret by means of our everyday mode of understanding the world. In other words, the condition of inapplicability entails the cessation of the pertinence of our normal world view.
Obviously there has to be an endless number of possible sensible interpretations that are pertinent to sorcery that a sorcerer must learn to make. In our day-to-day life we are confronted with an endless number of sensible interpretations pertinent to it. A simple example could be the no longer deliberate interpretation, which we make scores of times every day, of the structure we call "room." It is obvious that we have learned to interpret the structure we call room in terms of room; thus room is a sensible interpretation because it requires that at the time we make it we are cognizant, in one way or another, of all the elements that enter into its composition. A system of sensible interpretation is, in other words, the process by virtue of which a person is cognizant of all the units of meaning necessary to make assumptions, deductions, predictions, etc., about all the situations pertinent to his activity.
I am attempting to make my system of sensible interpretation accessible to you. Such an accessibility, in this case, is equivalent to a process of resocialization in which new ways of interpreting perceptual data are learned.
You are the stranger, the one who lacks the capacity to make intelligent and congruous interpretations proper to sorcery. My task, as a teacher making my system accessible to you is to disarrange a particular certainty which you share with everyone else, the certainty that our "common-sense" views of the world are final.
You will see that our ordinary view of the world cannot be final because it is only an interpretation.
Alternate reading instead of the six paragraphs from "Again, human beings ..." through "... ability to forget" (50 paragraphs from the begining) in The Eagle's Gift
I will clarify the previously unimagined world of hidden memories which you have been recollecting thru dreaming, memories that you have been incapable of retrieving with your everyday-life memory. As I've said, human beings are divided in two. The right side, which is called the tonal, encompasses everything the intellect can conceive of. The left side, called the nagual, is a realm of indescribable features: a realm impossible to contain in words. The left side is perhaps comprehended, if comprehension is what takes place, with the total body; thus its resistance to conceptualization. All the faculties, possibilities, and accomplishments of sorcery, from the simplest to the most astounding, are in the human body itself.
Taking as a base the concepts that we are divided in two and that everything is in the body itself, our time together has been divided between states of normal awareness; on the right side, the tonal, where the first attention prevails; and states of heightened awareness, on the left side, the nagual; the site of the second attention.
I have lead you to the other self by means of the self-control of the second attention through dreaming. However, I have put you in direct touch with the second attention through bodily manipulation in the form of a sound blow on your back. The result of that blow is entrance into an extraordinary state of clarity. It seems that everything in that state goes faster, yet nothing in the world has been changed. That is to say, the world is the same but sharper. You stay clear until I give you another blow on the same spot to make you revert back to a normal state of awareness.
In those states of heightened awareness you've had an incomparable richness of personal interaction, a richness that your body has understood as a sensation of speeding. The richness of your perception on the left side has been, however, a post-facto realization. Your interaction appeared to be rich in the light of your capacity to remember it. You became cognizant then that in those states of heightened awareness you had perceived everything in one clump, one bulky mass of inextricable detail. You've called this ability to perceive everything at once--intensity. For years you have found it impossible to examine the separate constituent parts of those chunks of experience; you have been unable to synthesize those parts into a sequence that would make sense to the intellect. Since you were incapable of those syntheses, you could not remember. Your incapacity to remember was in reality an incapacity to put the memory of your perception on a linear basis. You could not lay your experiences flat, so to speak, and arrange them in a sequential order. The experiences were available to you, but at the same time they were impossible to retrieve, for they were blocked by a wall of intensity.
The task of remembering, then, is properly the task of joining our left and right sides, of reconciling those two distinct forms of perception into a unified whole. It is the task of consolidating the totality of oneself by rearranging intensity into a linear sequence.
The pragmatic step that I have taken to aid you in your task of remembering has been to make you interact with certain people while you were in a state of heightened awareness. I was very careful not to let you see those people when you were in a state of normal awareness. In this way I created the appropriate conditions for remembering.
Now that you have completed your remembering, you have detailed knowledge of social interactions which you have shared with my companions and me. These are not memories in the sense that you would remember an episode from your childhood; they are more than vivid moment-to-moment recollections of events. You have reconstructed conversations that seemed to be reverberating in your ears, as if you were listening to them. What you have remembered, from the point of view of your experiential self, was taking place now. Such has been the character of your remembering.
It is time now to tell you the "rule" as it pertains to the Nagual and his role, exactly as it was told to me. Being involved with the rule may be described as living a myth. In my case, a myth that caught me and made me the Nagual.
The power that governs the destiny of all living beings is called the Eagle, not because it is an eagle or has anything to do with an eagle, but because it appears to the seer as an immeasurable jet-black eagle, standing erect as an eagle stands, its height reaching to infinity.
As the seer gazes on the blackness that the Eagle is, four blazes of light reveal what the Eagle is like, The first blaze, which is like a bolt of lightning, helps the seer make out the contours of the Eagle's body. There are patches of whiteness that look like an eagle's feathers and talons. A second blaze of lightning reveals the flapping, wind-creating blackness that looks like an eagle's wings. With the third blaze of lightning the seer beholds a piercing, inhuman eye. And the fourth and last blaze discloses what the Eagle is doing.
The Eagle is devouring the awareness of all the creatures that, alive on earth a moment before and now dead, have floated to the Eagle's beak, like a ceaseless swarm of fireflies, to meet their owner, their reason for having had life. The Eagle disentangles these tiny flames, lays them flat, as a tanner stretches out a hide, and then consumes them; for awareness is the Eagle's food.
The Eagle, that power that governs the destinies of all living things, reflects equally and at once all those living things. There is no way, therefore, for man to pray to the Eagle, to ask favors, to hope for grace. The human part of the Eagle is too insignificant to move the whole.
It is only from the Eagle's actions that a seer can tell what it wants. The Eagle, although it is not moved by the circumstances of any living thing, has granted a gift to each of those beings. In its own way and right, any one of them, if it so desires, has the power to keep the flame of awareness, the power to disobey the summons to die and be consumed. Every living thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and to go through it. It is evident to the seer who sees the opening, and to the creatures that go through it, that the Eagle has granted that gift in order to perpetuate awareness.
For the purpose of guiding living things to that opening, the Eagle created the Nagual. The Nagual is a double being to whom the rule has been revealed. Whether it be in the form of a human being, an animal, a plant, or anything else that lives, the Nagual by virtue of its doubleness is drawn to seek that hidden passageway.
The Nagual comes in pairs, male and female, A double man and a double woman become the Nagual only after the rule has been told to each of them, and each of them has understood it and accepted it in full.
To the eye of the seer, a Nagual man or Nagual woman appears as a luminous egg with four compartments. Unlike the average human being, who has two sides only, a left and a right, the Nagual has a left side divided into two long sections, and a right side equally divided in two.
The Eagle created the first Nagual man and Nagual woman as seers and immediately put them in the world to see. It provided them with four female warriors who were stalkers, three male warriors, and one male courier, whom they were to nourish, enhance, and lead to freedom.
The female warriors are called the four directions, the four corners of a square, the four moods, the four winds, the four different female personalities that exist in the human race.
The first is the east. She is called order. She is optimistic, lighthearted, smooth, persistent like a steady breeze.
The second is the north. She is called strength. She is resourceful, blunt, direct, tenacious like a hard wind.
The third is the west. She is called feeling. She is introspective, remorseful, cunning, sly, like a cold gust of wind.
The fourth is the south. She is called growth. She is nurturing, loud, shy, warm, like a hot wind.
The three male warriors and the courier are representative of the four types of male activity and temperament.
The first type is the knowledgeable man, the scholar; a noble, dependable, serene man, fully dedicated to accomplishing his task, whatever it may be.
The second type is the man of action, highly volatile, a great humorous fickle companion.
The third type is the organizer behind the scenes, the mysterious, unknowable man. Nothing can be said about him because he allows nothing about himself to slip out.
The courier is the fourth type. He is the assistant, a taciturn, somber man who does very well if properly directed but who cannot stand on his own.
In order to make things easier, the Eagle showed the Nagual man and Nagual woman that each of these types among men and woman of the earth has specific features in its luminous body.
The scholar has a sort of shallow dent, a bright depression at his solar plexus. In some men it appears as a pool of intense luminosity, sometimes smooth and shiny like a mirror without a reflection.
* * *
The man of action has some fibers emanating from the area of the will. The number of fibers varies from one to five, their size ranging from a mere string to a thick, whiplike tentacle up to eight feet long. Some have as many as three of these fibers developed into tentacles.
The man behind the scenes is recognized not by a feature but by his ability to create, quite involuntarily, a burst of power that effectively blocks the attention of seers. When in the presence of this type of man, seers find themselves immersed in extraneous detail rather than seeing.
The assistant has no obvious configuration. To seers he appears as a clear glow in a flawless shell of luminosity.
In the female realm, the east is recognized by the almost imperceptible blotches in her luminosity, something like small areas of discoloration.
The north has an overall radiation; she exudes a reddish glow, almost like heat.
The west has a tenuous film enveloping her, a film which makes her appear darker than the others.
The south has an intermittent glow; she shines for a moment and then gets dull, only to shine again.
The Nagual man and the Nagual woman have two different movements in their luminous bodies. Their right sides wave, while their left sides whirl.
In terms of personality, the Nagual man is supportive, steady, unchangeable. The Nagual woman is a being at war and yet relaxed, ever aware but without strain. Both of them reflect the four types of their sex, as four ways of behaving.
The first command that the Eagle gave the Nagual man and Nagual woman was to find, on their own, another set of four female warriors, four directions, who were the exact replicas of the stalkers but who were dreamers.
Dreamers appear to a seer as having an apron of hairlike fibers at their midsections. Stalkers have a similar apronlike feature, but instead of fibers the apron consists of countless small, round protuberances.
The eight female warriors are divided into two bands, which are called the right and left planets. The right planet is made up of four stalkers, the left of four dreamers. The warriors of each planet were taught by the Eagle the rule of their specific task: stalkers were taught stalking; dreamers were taught dreaming.
The two female warriors of each direction live together. They are so alike that they mirror each other, and only through impeccability can they find solace and challenge in each other's reflection.
The only time when the four dreamers or four stalkers get together is when they have to accomplish a strenuous task; but only under special circumstances should the four of them join hands, for their touch fuses them into one being and should be used only in cases of dire need, or at the moment of leaving this world.
The two female warriors of each direction are attached to one of the males, in any combination that is necessary. Thus they make a set of four households, which are capable of incorporating as many warriors as needed.
The male warriors and the courier can also form an independent unit of four men, or each can function as a solitary being, as dictated by necessity.
Next the Nagual and his party were commanded to find three more couriers. These could be all males or all females or a mixed set, but the male couriers had to be of the fourth type of man, the assistant, and the females had to be from the south.
In order to make sure that the first Nagual man would lead his party to freedom and not deviate from that path or become corrupted, the Eagle took the Nagual woman to the other world to serve as a beacon, guiding the party to the opening.
The Nagual and his warriors were then commanded to forget. They were plunged into darkness and were given new tasks: the task of remembering themselves, and the task of remembering the Eagle.
The command to forget was so great that everyone was separated. They did not remember who they were. The Eagle intended that if they were capable of remembering themselves again, they would find the totality of themselves. Only then would they have the strength and forbearance necessary to seek and face their definitive journey.
Their last task, after they had regained the totality of themselves, was to get a new pair of double beings and transform them into a new Nagual man and a new Nagual woman by virtue of revealing the rule to them. And just as the first Nagual man and Nagual woman had been provided with a minimal party, they had to supply the new pair of Naguals with four female warriors who were stalkers, three male warriors, and one male courier.
When the first Nagual and his party were ready to go through the passageway, the first Nagual woman was waiting to guide them. They were ordered then to take the new Nagual woman with them to the other world to serve as a beacon for her people, leaving the new Nagual man in the world to repeat the cycle.
While in the world, the minimal number under a Nagual's leadership is sixteen: eight female warriors, four male warriors, counting the Nagual, and four couriers. At the moment of leaving the world, when the new Nagual woman is with them, the Nagual's number is seventeen. If his personal power permits him to have more warriors, then more must be added in multiples of four.
The rule is endless and covers every facet of a warrior's behavior. The interpretation and the accumulation of the rule is the work of seers whose only task throughout the ages has been to see the Indescribable Force called the Eagle, to observe its ceaseless flux. From their observations, the seers have concluded that, providing the luminous shell that comprises one's humanness has been broken, it is possible to find in the Indescribable Force the faint reflection of man. The Indescribable Force 's irrevocable dictums can then be apprehended by seers, properly interpreted by them, and accumulated in the form of a governing body.
The rule is not a tale. To cross over to freedom does not mean eternal life as eternity is commonly understood--that is, as living forever. What the rule states is that one can keep the awareness which is ordinarily relinquished at the moment of dying. I cannot explain what it means to keep that awareness. My benefactor told me that at the moment of crossing, one enters into the third attention, and the body in its entirety is kindled with knowledge. Every cell at once becomes aware of itself, and also aware of the totality of the body.
* * *
This kind of awareness is meaningless to our compartmentalized minds. Therefore the crux of the warrior's struggle is not so much to realize that the crossing over stated in the rule means crossing to the third attention, but rather to conceive that there exists such an awareness at all.
There is a common error, that of overestimating the left-side awareness, of becoming dazzled by its clarity and power. To be in the left-side awareness does not mean that one is immediately liberated from one's folly--it only means an extended capacity for perceiving, and above all, a greater ability to forget.
Alternate reading to the paragraph from The Fire From Within "Any warrior can be successful with people provided that he moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him, dislike him, or ignore him."
The purpose of stalking is twofold: first, to move the assemblage point as steadily and safely as possible, and nothing can do the job as well as stalking; second, to imprint its principles at such a deep level that the human inventory is bypassed; for example the human inventory's natural reaction of refusing and judging something that may be offensive to reason.
The new seers saw that there are two main groups of human beings: those who care about others and those who do not. In between these two extremes they saw an endless mixture of the two. The nagual Julian belonged to the category of men who do not care; I belong to the opposite category. The nagual Julian was generous, he would give you the shirt off his back. Not only was he generous; he was also utterly charming, winning. He was always deeply and sincerely interested in everybody around him. He was kind and open and gave away everything he had to anyone who needed it, or to anyone he happened to like. He was in turn loved by everyone, because being a master stalker, he conveyed to them his true feelings: he didn't give a plugged nickel for any of them.
That's stalking. The nagual Julian didn't care about anyone. That's why he could help people. And he did; he gave them the shirt off his back, because he didn't give a fig about them.
The only ones who help their fellow men are those who don't give a damn about them. That's what stalkers say. The nagual Julian, for instance, was a fabulous curer. He helped thousands and thousands of people, but he never took credit for it. He let people believe that a woman seer of his party was the curer. Now, if he had been a man who cared for his fellow men, he would've demanded acknowledgment. Those who care for others care for themselves and demand recognition where recognition is due. Since I belong to the category of those who care for their fellow men, I have never helped anyone: I feel awkward with generosity; I can't even conceive being loved as the nagual Julian was, and I would certainly feel stupid giving anyone the shirt off my back. I care so much for my fellow man that I don't do anything for him. I wouldn't know what to do. And I would always have the nagging sense that I was imposing my will on him with my gifts. Naturally, I have overcome all these feelings with the warriors' way. Any warrior can be successful with people, as the nagual Julian was, provided that he moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him, dislike him, or ignore him. But that's not the same.
Compiled from Carlos Castaneda's first book, The Teachings Of Don Juan: A Yaque Way Of Knowledge
MAN OF KNOWLEDGE
The goal of my teachings is to show how to become a man of knowledge. The following seven concepts are its proper components: (1) to become a man of knowledge is a matter of learning; (2) a man of knowledge has unbending intent; (3) a man of knowledge has clarity of mind; (4) to become a man of knowledge is a matter of strenuous labor; (5) a man of knowledge is a warrior; (6) to become a man of knowledge is an unceasing process; and (7) a man of knowledge has an ally.
These seven concepts are themes. They run through the teachings, determining the character of my entire knowledge. Inasmuch as the operational goal of my teachings is to produce a man of knowledge, everything I teach is imbued with the specific characteristics of each of the seven themes. Together they construe the concept "man of knowledge" as a way of conducting oneself, a way of behaving that is the end result of a long and hazardous training. "Man of knowledge," however, is not a guide to behavior, but a set of principles encompassing all the unordinary circumstances pertinent to the knowledge being taught.
Each one of the seven themes is composed, in turn, of various other concepts, which cover their different facets.
To Become a Man of Knowledge Is a Matter of Learning
Learning is the only possible way of becoming a man of knowledge, and that in turn implies the act of making a resolute effort to achieve an end. To become a man of knowledge is the end result of a process, as opposed to an immediate acquisition through an act of grace or through bestowal by supernatural powers. The plausibility of learning how to become a man of knowledge warrants the existence of a system for teaching one how to accomplish it.
A Man of Knowledge Has Unbending Intent.
The idea that a man of knowledge needs unbending intent refers to the exercise of volition. Having unbending intent means having the will to execute a necessary procedure by maintaining oneself at all times rigidly within the boundaries of the knowledge being taught. A man of knowledge needs a rigid will in order to endure the obligatory quality that every act possesses when it is performed in the context of my knowledge.
The obligatory quality of all the acts performed in such a context, and their being inflexible and predetermined, are no doubt unpleasant to any man, for which reason a modicum of unbending intent is sought as the only covert requirement needed by a prospective apprentice.
Unbending intent is composed of (1) frugality, (2) soundness of judgment, and (3) lack of freedom to innovate.
A man of knowledge needs frugality because the majority of the obligatory acts deal with instances or with elements that are either outside the boundaries of ordinary everyday life, or are not customary in ordinary activity, and the man who has to act in accordance with them needs an extraordinary effort every time he takes action. It is implicit that one be capable of such an extraordinary effort by being frugal with any other activity that does not deal directly with such predetermined actions.
Since all acts are predetermined and obligatory, a man of knowledge needs soundness of judgment. This concept does not imply common sense, but does imply the capacity to assess the circumstances surrounding any need to act. A guide for such an assessment is provided by bringing together, as rationales, all the parts of the teachings which are at one's command at the given moment in which any action has to be carried out. Thus, the guide is always changing as more parts are learned; yet it always implies the conviction that any obligatory act one may have to perform is, in fact, the most appropriate under the circumstances.
Because all acts are preestablished and compulsory, having to carry them out means lack of freedom to innovate. My system of imparting knowledge is so well established that there is no possibility of altering it in any way.
A Man of Knowledge Has Clarity of Mind
Clarity of mind is the theme that provides a sense of direction. The fact that all acts are predetermined means that one's orientation within the knowledge being taught is equally predetermined; as a consequence, clarity of mind supplies only a sense of direction. It reaffirms continuously the validity of the course being taken through the component ideas of (1) freedom to seek a path, (2) knowledge of the specific purpose, and (3) being fluid.
It is believed that one has the freedom to seek a path. Having the freedom to choose is not incongruous with the lack of freedom to innovate; these two ideas are not in opposition nor do they interfere with each other. Freedom to seek a path refers to the liberty to choose among different possibilities of action which are equally effective and usable. The criterion for choosing is the advantage of one possibility over others, based on one's preference. As a matter of fact, the freedom to choose a path imparts a sense of direction through the expression of personal inclinations.
Another way to create a sense of direction is through the idea that there is a specific purpose for every action performed in the context of the knowledge being taught. Therefore, a man of knowledge needs clarity of mind in order to match his own specific reasons for acting with the specific purpose of every action. The knowledge of the specific purpose of every action is the guide he uses to judge the circumstances surrounding any need to act.
Another facet of clarity of mind is the idea that a man of knowledge, in order to reinforce the performance of his obligatory actions, needs to assemble all the resources that the teachings have placed at his command. This is the idea of being fluid. It creates a sense of direction by giving one the feeling of being malleable and resourceful. The compulsory quality of all acts would imbue one with a sense of stiffness or sterility were it not for the idea that a man of knowledge needs to be fluid.
To Become A Man of Knowledge is a Matter of Strenuous Labor
A man of knowledge has to possess or has to develop in the course of his training an all-round capacity for exertion. To become a man of knowledge is a matter of strenuous labor. Strenuous labor denotes a capacity (1) to put forth dramatic exertion; (2) to achieve efficacy; and (3) to meet challenge.
In the path of a man of knowledge drama is undoubtedly the outstanding single issue, and a special type of exertion is needed for responding to circumstances that require dramatic exploitation; that is to say, a man of knowledge needs dramatic exertion. Taking my behavior as an example, at first glance it may seem that my dramatic exertion is only my own idiosyncratic preference for histrionics. Yet my dramatic exertion is always much more than acting; it is rather a profound state of belief. I impart through dramatic exertion the peculiar quality of finality to all the acts I perform. As a consequence, then, my acts are set on a stage in which death is one of the main protagonists. It is implicit that death is a real possibility in the course of learning because of the inherently dangerous nature of the items with which a man of knowledge deals; then, it is logical that the dramatic exertion created by the conviction that death is an ubiquitous player is more than histrionics.
* * *
Exertion entails not only drama, but also the need of efficacy. Exertion has to be effective; it has to possess the quality of being properly channeled, of being suitable. The idea of impending death creates not only the drama needed for overall emphasis, but also the conviction that every action involves a struggle for survival, the conviction that annihilation will result if one's exertion does not meet the requirement of being efficacious.
Exertion also entails the idea of challenge, that is, the act of testing whether, and proving that, one is capable of performing a proper act within the rigorous boundaries of the knowledge being taught.
A Man of Knowledge Is a Warrior
The existence of a man of knowledge is an unceasing struggle, and the idea that he is a warrior, leading a warrior's life, provides one with the means for achieving emotional stability. The idea of a man at war encompasses four concepts: (1) a man of knowledge has to have respect; (2) he has to have fear; (3) he has to be wide-awake; (4) he has to be self-confident. Hence, to be a warrior is a form of self-discipline which emphasizes individual accomplishment; yet it is a stand in which personal interests are reduced to a minimum, as in most instances personal interest is incompatible with the rigor needed to perform any predetermined, obligatory act.
A man of knowledge in his role of warrior is obligated to have an attitude of deferential regard for the items with which he deals; he has to imbue everything related to his knowledge with profound respect in order to place everything in a meaningful perspective. Having respect is equivalent to having assessed one's insignificant resources when facing the Unknown.
If one remains in that frame of thought, the idea of respect is logically extended to include oneself, for one is as unknown as the Unknown itself. The exercise of so sobering a feeling of respect transforms the apprenticeship of this specific knowledge, which may otherwise appear to be absurd, into a very rational alternative.
Another necessity of a warrior's life is the need to experience and carefully to evaluate the sensation of fear. The ideal is that, in spite of fear, one has to proceed with the course of one's acts. Fear must be conquered and there is a time in the life of a man of knowledge when it is vanquished, but first one has to be conscious of being afraid and duly to evaluate that sensation. One is capable of conquering fear only by facing it.
As a warrior, a man of knowledge also needs to be wide-awake. A man at war has to be on the alert in order to be cognizant of most of the factors pertinent to the two mandatory aspects of awareness: (1) awareness of intent (2) awareness of the expected flux.
Awareness of intent is the act of being cognizant of the factors involved in the relationship between the specific purpose of any obligatory act and one's own specific purpose for acting. Since all the obligatory acts have a definite purpose, a man of knowledge has to be wide-awake; that is, he needs to be capable at all times of matching the definite purpose of every obligatory act with the definite reason that he has in mind for desiring to act.
A man of knowledge, by being aware of that relationship, is also capable of being cognizant of what is believed to be the expected flux. What I call the awareness of the expected flux refers to the certainty that one is capable of detecting at all times the important variables involved in the relationship between the specific purpose of every act and one's specific reason for acting. By being aware of the expected flux one is able to detect the most subtle changes. That deliberate awareness of changes accounts for the recognition and interpretation of omens and of other unordinary events.
The last aspect of the idea of a warrior's behavior is the need for self-confidence, that is, the assurance that the specific purpose of an act one may have chosen to perform is the only plausible alternative for one's own specific reasons for acting. Without self-confidence, one would be incapable of fulfilling one of the most important aspects of the teachings: the capacity to claim knowledge as power.
To Become a Man of Knowledge Is an Unceasing Process
Being a man of knowledge is not a condition entailing permanency. There is never the certainty that, by carrying out the predetermined steps of the knowledge being taught, that you will become a man of knowledge. It is implicit that the function of the steps is only to show how to become a man of knowledge. Thus, becoming a man of knowledge is a task that cannot be fully achieved; rather, it is an unceasing process comprising (1) the idea that one has to renew the quest of becoming a man of knowledge; (2) the idea of one's impermanency; and (3) the idea that one has to follow a path with heart.
The constant renewal of the quest of becoming a man of knowledge is expressed in the theme of the four symbolic enemies encountered on the path of learning: fear, clarity, power, and old age. Renewing the quest implies the gaining and the maintenance of control over oneself. A true man of knowledge is expected to battle each of the four enemies, in succession, until the last moment of his life, in order to keep himself actively engaged in becoming a man of knowledge. Yet, despite the truthful renewal of the quest, the odds are inevitably against man; he would succumb to his last symbolic enemy. This is the idea of impermanency.
Offsetting the negative value of one's impermanency is the notion that one has to follow the path with heart. The path with heart is a metaphorical way of asserting that in spite of being impermanent one still has to proceed and has to be capable of finding satisfaction and personal fulfillment in the act of choosing the most amenable alternative and identifying oneself completely with it.
The rationale of my whole knowledge is synthesized in the metaphor that the important thing for me is to find a path with heart and then travel its length, meaning that the identification with the amenable alternative is enough for me. The journey by itself is sufficient; any hope of arriving at a permanent position is outside the boundaries of my knowledge.
A Man of Knowledge has an Ally.
The idea that a man of knowledge has an ally is the most important of the seven component themes, for it is the only one that is indispensable to explaining what a man of knowledge is. In my classificatory scheme a man of knowledge has an ally, whereas the average man does not, and having an ally is what makes him different from ordinary men.
An ally is a power capable of transporting a man beyond the boundaries of himself; that is to say, an ally is a power which allows one to transcend the realm of ordinary reality. Consequently, to have an ally implies having power; and the fact that a man of knowledge has an ally is by itself proof that the operational goal of the teaching is being fulfilled. Since that goal is to show how to become a man of knowledge, and since a man of knowledge is one who has an ally, another way of describing the operational goal of my teachings is to say that it also shows how to obtain an ally. The concept "man of knowledge," as a sorcerer's philosophical frame, has meaning for anyone who wants to live within that frame only insofar as he has an ally.
1. The Teachings of don Juan
2. A Separate Reality
3. Journey to Ixtlan
4. Tales Of Power
5. The Second Ring of Power
6. The Eagle's Gift
7. The Fire From Within
8. The Power of Silence
9. The Art of Dreaming
12. The Active Side of Infinity
13. Appendix A thru E