Sustained Reaction


Sustained Reaction Archive - Page 10

Archive Message Index

SA Mailing List From: Badger Date: 11/30/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/1/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: diana Date: 12/2/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Corey Date: 12/3/99
Dying to Practice... From: greggabi@aol.com Date: 12/2/99
Re: so tell me... From: Aurelius Date: 11/30/99
Re: so tell me... From: Lieut_Dan Date: 12/2/99
Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Aurelius Date: 11/30/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Aurelius Date: 12/1/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Lonnie Date: 12/2/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Aurelius Date: 12/8/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Ahmo Date: 12/8/99
Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes From: Lonnie Date: 12/9/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Sandy McIntosh Date: 11/30/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Bishop Date: 11/30/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Sandy McIntosh Date: 11/30/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: Bishop Date: 11/30/99
Re: SA Mailing List From: diana Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: Bishop Date: 12/1/99
Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: Theophilos Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: Theophilos Date: 12/1/99
Re: ZOMBIES UNITE! From: erik grafstrom Date: 12/1/99
PSPS From: Bishop Date: 12/1/99
Re: PSPS From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From: bishop Date: 12/1/99
Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From: A Fool Date: 12/1/99
Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From: me Date: 12/14/99
Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder From: Scott Date: 12/1/99
Why the frequent use of the term "Placebo" From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/1/99
Re: SA vs. TB From: Calixto Date: 12/2/99
What is SA's position on the reality of magic? From: Aurelius Date: 12/1/99
Re: What is SA's position on the reality of magic? From: Lonnie Date: 12/2/99
Isn't anyone's life magical? From: Aurelius Date: 12/2/99
Re: Isn't anyone's life magical? From: Lonnie Date: 12/2/99
Re: Isn't anyone's life magical? From: Lieut_Dan Date: 12/2/99
quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/2/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: J. Stender Date: 12/3/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/3/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: J. Stender Date: 12/3/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/3/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/3/99
Interpretation From: Badger Date: 12/6/99
Re: Interpretation From: Lonnie Date: 12/6/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: J. Stender Date: 12/5/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/7/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: diana Date: 12/7/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/8/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Badger Date: 12/8/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/8/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Badger Date: 12/9/99
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: Lonnie Date: 12/9/99
Not really quantum mechanics From: J. Stender Date: 12/8/99
Re: Not really quantum mechanics From: Lonnie Date: 12/8/99

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SA Mailing List
From: Badger
Date: 11/30/99

I keep hearing references to the SA list ("over on SA blah, blah,blah...").

I found this description over at onelist:

"The "Sustained Action" list is intended as a relatively intimate forum for Tensegrity practitioners and others who have been deeply affected by Carlos Castaneda's works to benefit from the immediacy and fluidity of a cyberspace "mass." Participants must be open to sharing, learning from and building on each other's perception-expanding experiences. Posts should be focused on the challenges, joys, successes and failures we experience in attempting to follow the procedures and disciplines set out in the works of Carlos Castaneda, Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau. This presumes a familiarity with all of those works, and some experience with Tensegrity (i.e., the movements described and demonstrated at one or more Tensegrity workshops). Membership is by invitation and the list is non-moderated. Posts should be pithy, thoughtful and honest. Impeccability is mandatory. Ruthlessness, cunning, patience and sweetness are also expected to regularly be in evidence. Sample topics could include a sense of how Castaneda's departure has affected us; the impact of writing "blank checks of affection"; methods we are using to expand our perception (e.g., adopting other identities, learning a new language, viewing particular films, participating in theater games, studying hermeneutics or related disciplines, learning to paint); and other effects of dealing impeccably with what Spirit places in our paths."

Is that what is REALLY discussed? And why isn't it an open list? If so much "good" information is exposed on that list, why not open it for all to see?

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/1/99

Badger queried:>>>> I keep hearing references to the SA list ("over on SA blah, blah,blah..."). I found this description over at onelist: [description omitted] Is that what is REALLY discussed? And why isn't it an open list? If so much "good" information is exposed on that list, why not open it for all to see?<<<<

I thought we explained what the list is on the Introduction page some months ago, but I know there is a lot to read on the site, and some seem to prefer to dwell here on the Discussions page.

The SA list is a private, invitation-only list that I started at the beginning of the year because I had a sudden impulse to do so (the kind of abstract impulse I've learned to trust, largely as a result of my experience with Castaneda). It is intended as a relatively safe space for a limited number of people who had a lot of interaction with Castaneda & Co. (for the most part) to process those experiences, Castaneda's legacy, and other practices they may be experimenting with. I think it is safe to say that this fairly describes the bulk of what's *really* discussed there.

It is not an open list because wide open, anonymous forums (e.g., alt.dreams.castaneda) have not proven conducive to building up the kind of intimacy and trust necessary to really explore the personal side of these issues in depth. But because a lot of "good information" was being shared there, the idea simultaneously arose among several on the list that we should set up a website to share some of the more important albeit less intimate material with the broader Castaneda community. Hence SA the website.

I should note that this Discussions page is another open forum, established to facilitate the processing of material on this site. Because it is wide open, it has a much different tone and flavor than the mailing list--and tends to require a fairly hard shell to participate in. Nonetheless, I find I am constantly surprised by the occasional poignant moment of discovery and sharing that happens here.

Both projects--the mailing list and the site--are experiments that have already evolved and will continue to change as the needs and interests of their respective communities dictate.

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: diana
Date: 12/2/99

Corey, if you wrote that intro to the list at the beginning of the year, did you already have a lot of the information you now have up on the site available -- what I mean is, the "intro" says that that list is in part about following the procedures and disciplines outlined in the books of Castaneda, Florinda and Taisha, and suggests that ruthlessness, cunning, patience and sweetness should be visible in posts...do you still believe that the procedures and disciplines set forth in those books have enough value given the feelings you seem to have about Castaneda and Co. to warrant making use of them in your daily life? D.

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Corey
Date: 12/3/99

Diana asked: >>>>Corey, if you wrote that intro to the list at the beginning of the year, did you already have a lot of the information you now have up on the site available -- what I mean is, the "intro" says that that list is in part about following the procedures and disciplines outlined in the books of Castaneda, Florinda and Taisha, and suggests that ruthlessness, cunning, patience and sweetness should be visible in posts...do you still believe that the procedures and disciplines set forth in those books have enough value given the feelings you seem to have about Castaneda and Co. to warrant making use of them in your daily life?<<<<

No, when I wrote the list intro at the beginning of the year, I did not have most of the info that we have been sharing here on this website (or the additional info that I and others are still verifying and documenting). And I've already revised that intro once since the beginning of the year, but it is probably time for another rewrite. But many of the "procedures and disciplines" described and the books do seem to me to have some continuing value, regardless of the fact that it increasingly appears that they were culled from a variety of sources, the least likely of which is a particular Tula-based lineage of hundreds years led by an almost Godlike Yaqui Indian whose dialogues evidence extensive knowledge of Asian spiritual traditions, Gurdjieff's teachings, Kierkegaard's philosophy and the like.

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Dying to Practice...
From: greggabi@aol.com
Date: 12/2/99

While I haven't the slightest conjecture as to Carlos' last thoughts before he died...

WE ALL "DIE" EVERY NIGHT!

You lay down... you release the cares of this world... you let go of your body... your senses close to this world... and open inward... and you say good night to this world as you fall asleep...

...only difference with dying is you say goodby to this world and don't come back in the morning. (hehe)

I am fascinated by the sleep process and so have been learning to let my body fall fast asleep, while I remain conscious so that I can examine exactly what happens.

The same with waking up... to learn how to wake up BEFORE the body does, so that same process can be observed on the way back, which is VERY different than what happens going in.

This has NOTHING to do with dreaming... which is just generated images that interfere with awareness of what is really going on. By not indulging in that nonsense, and instead looking directly at bodily sensations themselves (vibrations, kinetic feelings of movement or velocity, that out of body feeling, lights, and sounds) WITHOUT interpreting them into an emotional dreamscape, they remain abstract... and you are free to examine them directly.

Well... anyway that is what I do... I practice dying every night to prepare me for the real thing...

Since we have literally thousands of opportunities, it is just plain stupid to throw away all those chances to learn.

I believe that this is one of the primary purposes of sleep... to learn how to die... which is just as important as learning how to live... : )

Greg

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Re: so tell me...
From: Aurelius
Date: 11/30/99

The old Stoics had it right. There is no need to worry about Death, because --

1. If there's an afterlife, you're fine because you'll transition into that and keep on living without further pain or worry, and

2. If there isn't, you're also fine, because there will be nothing left that remembers that you ever lived, no suffering, no fears, just total and permanent oblivion.

You choose.

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Re: so tell me...
From: Lieut_Dan
Date: 12/2/99

Maybe the oriental mind's idea of death is closer to the "truth"? And thats where in your dying moment all that you "are/karma" is transferred into the 'ground being', like a seal or signet can leave it's imprint into the mud without actually transferring anything. And it's this pattern they believe reincarnates.

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Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Aurelius
Date: 11/30/99

A while ago I asked "is there an alternate reality or not"? I think there are too many independent reports of phenomena that can't be caused by known factors. Hence alternate models of causality must exist, and at some point, everything we know will become a special case of a bigger theory.

One reason formal science has trouble is that it's a "cult" that banishes anyone who looks into banned phenomena that "don't exist." This is dumb because it's a precept of information theory that you get better resolution of detail if you collect and integrate a broader range of data.

In this post (dedicated to Daniel Lawton) I want to briefly sketch two ideas: a model of causality I call the "interaction theory," and a capsule of my "ring theory." These are "simple" ideas. But they are way "different" along a metric of semantic "distance" from what you're used to.

Consider the problem of primordial dust in a pre-big bang condition. Since there are no lines as yet, there is no dimensionality. That comes later, and the Big Bang is the culmination, not the start, of that process (ring group formation).

Infinitely small specks of "dust" emerge as standing waves in the infinite dimensionality of Hilbert Space. The vast majority of such standing waves (dust particles) immediately vanish, but under Darwinian forces, some few survive (dust selection gradient). Now they "exist" in a sustaining fashion, and may "interact" with each other.

They should prefer total avoidance, rather than risking instability, but this leads to total aloneness. Some of them, though (probably random chance), may "recognize" and respond in a non-destructive way to another's presence, thus creating an interacting "dust space." Anyone who can't remain stable is annihilated. The manner of their response, which is probably an arbitrary function, becomes their "badge of recognition," and the foundation of whatever "causality" can emerge in their dust space.

The dust seems simple, but it's not. It's an infinitely complex phenomenon that culminates in the simplification we call dust. As form evolves upward, this recurs: build up of complexity followed by a culminating simplification -- dust, rings, atoms, life forms, personalities, societies, etc.

There could be an infinite number of superimposed dust spaces. I call them the blue balls and the green balls. All balls generally avoid interacting with each other, passing like ships in the night. But the blue ones non-destructively "bounce off" other blue ones, and likewise the green ones recognize and react to other green ones, forming "interaction groups." The two spaces are both superimposed and disconnected.

To be in the blue reality, you must recognize and be recognized by the blue balls, and to do that you need to manifest blueness, their badge. To switch to green, turn off blueness, and turn on (tune into) greenness. The blue and green interaction sets have been fermenting independently for vast periods of time, so the worlds they contain are vastly different.

Now to get the 3-dimensional space that is so near and dear, suppose that some of our dust particles have a "hole," that makes them look like doughnuts. This flips us into the Ashtekar Gravity Theory, and if we get enough loops in a pile, they generate an enormous 3D space. The rings have no size, and exist in an infinite dimensional continuum. Some of them glom together (space selection gradient). If they don't feel like doing this, no 3-space will form. As mentioned in my prior post, "distance" is the "crossing" of 10**33 lines (rings) per centimeter. Contra to "string theory" which deals with strings whose LENGTH is 10**-33 cm, this "ring theory" is about strings (rings) that are zillions of light years in circumference.

Under the rules of our interaction set, for example, the rings must bend aside when big waves (photons) pass by, and these bending decisions take time, but maybe the amount of time they take is random, depending on what else the ring is doing at that moment. Thus the speed of light is probably an average value, representing the average bending decision time. (All other physical laws can be similarly derived.)

Now my question for Daniel Lawton, who has made all these very elegant posts on his dreaming. SA may be right that CC was sick, a liar and sex fiend (maybe after he abandoned all hope). But your predicament of being unable to escape the ordinary reminds me of "DJ's" statement (somewhere) "anyone who can move his assemblage point can move it further." My question is, can you identify any modes of transition (ushers, scouts, inconceivable dreams, etc.) that can flip you out of the green world and into the blue one? And could you remember it if you did?

The first question goes to the issue of manifesting a deep recognition of a different form of physical causality, possibly by seeking a deeper level of silence and "moving your assemblage point" to utilize a different band of your own fibers. The second is about where the memory is stored. You seem to be right on the brink, and if you pushed a little farther, you could "pierce the screen" as it were, witness something inconceivable, and then probably forget it, having no way to think about it.

A model for "getting silent" is to consider that the energy field is a detector that needs to be chilled to get a decent reading. I think you are at the level of dry ice, or maybe liquid nitrogen, but if you pushed down to absolute zero, you might pick up fainter signals. (You may also want to "chill" to minimize potentially destructive energy engagements in alien worlds.)

Actually, on the view of morphogenetic fields, it should be extremely easy to engage alternate causality, because there is probably in reality only one such base pattern or "mold" of the blue interaction, so once you "hooked" that mold, blammo, you would immediately become fully recognized. The force of alignment.

I could go on (and on), but this should be enough for people to get the idea what I am talking about.

Aurelius

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

>Now my question for Daniel Lawton, who has made all these very elegant posts on his dreaming. SA may be right that CC was sick, a liar and sex fiend (maybe after he abandoned all hope). But your predicament of being unable to escape the ordinary reminds me of "DJ's" statement (somewhere) "anyone who can move his assemblage point can move it further." My question is, can you identify any modes of transition (ushers, scouts, inconceivable dreams, etc.) that can flip you out of the green world and into the blue one? And could you remember it if you did?

That's assuming that dreaming is the best place to do that. Maybe mystics make that claim because dreaming is a mysterious thing for most people and so they can get away with adding supernatural things on top of.

If someone made the claim that digging a hole or doing a math test was the best way to pierce worlds we'd argue about it because we're familiar with those activities. But logically, why should dreaming be the obvious way to try to find hidden abilities and not something other activity? What if baking a bran muffin on top of a lake were the door to infinity?

Anyway, I've gotten a lot more familiar with dreaming and haven't seen any reason to think there's anything supernatural going on. After all the poking around in there I've done you'd think at least a tiny little unexplainable thing would have happened. I may be synical here, but in dreaming I'm eternally hopeful. I often lay hold of something magical, but on waking realize I was deluded.

The insidious thing about dreaming is that it's where all the big Castanedian payoffs are supposed to be. You can see that by observing the history of Carlos and cleargreen. Carol Tiggs was supernatural because she disappeared from the world (in to dreaming of a type). Taisha has her supernatural buddies she got in dreaming. Carlos isn't really "here", he's off in dreaming. In the early days just mentioning the topic of dreaming was a sore spot for the chacmools. Kylie was likely to hush you up and say they didn't do dreaming. Maybe that's because they could still point to their magical leaders. Now that the magic's gone from their leaders, the energy trackers make claims at workshops that they're learning "group dreaming". Again, the dreaming is the center of rewards, justifications, and hidden things which can't be proven. You can make any magical claim about dreaming with impunity, because it's a confused topic. Delusion hidden by confusion?

If it's so filled with potential and magic, you'd think some of it would have come out by now.

My personal belief is that if mankind started to systematically pursue dreaming ability it would develop as a wonderful way to take advantage of more of your brain power, gain access to your subconscious, learn to visualize things for artistic or engineering purposes, and a way to provide relief and entertainment to the sick and old. But I don't believe there's really a bridge there to other worlds which are more than just our own creation.

And there are people systematically investigating dreaming. Stephen LaBerge may not be someone I'd hang out with, but he'd be tickled pink to prove there was group dreaming, or that remote viewers could really get true information. It's his lifes work. So far the experts he's tried out in those areas have struck out. It's turned out they were just a little bit deluded.

I believe there are other universes here, but why should we assume our body or mind provides a way to switch places? It's more likely we'll eventually find out you have to heat space to 6 trillion degrees in order to make the switch.

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Aurelius
Date: 12/1/99

Daniel, Thanks for the reply.

I really do think you're skirting a threshold and I could push you across it, by arming you with better explanations of what you're seeing, but I'm snowed under and traveling the next 2 weeks, so this will have to wait.

According to "my explanation," you can get to the other side at 6 trillion degrees, which is how we came in, or a 0 degrees K, which is the cold fusion approach. And baking muffins works too.

There is way too much solid evidence from sources other than CC for me to have any real doubt about this.

Cheerio, Aurelius

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/2/99

From: Aurelius Date: 11/30/99

Aurelius: A while ago I asked "is there an alternate reality or not"? I think there are too many independent reports of phenomena that can't be caused by known factors. Hence alternate models of causality must exist, and at some point, everything we know will become a special case of a bigger theory.

Lonnie: This is pretty much the standard scientific paradigm: we don't know everything, there are theories that are theoretically and empirically well founded that are inconsistent with one another, a "bigger" more encompassing theory is needed (and we hope will emerge) to resolve these riddles.

Aurelius: One reason formal science has trouble is that it's a "cult" that banishes anyone who looks into banned phenomena that "don't exist." This is dumb because it's a precept of information theory that you get better resolution of detail if you collect and integrate a broader range of data.

Lonnie: The assertion that "formal science is a cult" is not obvious on the face of it. Granted that there are many arrogant and opinionated scientists and that, just as in every other human endeavor, economics and politics have a large effect (unfortunately) on the type of research that is pursued, that is not sufficient justification to support the claim that "formal science" is a cult.

I would want to separate institutions from principles. Thus the fact that some university fires a physicist who is interested in pursuing research that the school's administration finds less than credible says nothing one way or the other about the scientific method.

It seems to me that you are setting up a paper tiger as a rhetorical device. On the one hand, you denounce "science" as a cult and on the other you present scientific sounding theories in support of your ideas. Meanwhile other science denouncers cheer that someone with a scientific vocabulary is speaking in support (or so they believe) of their own beliefs.

Why not just present your ideas without all the rhetorical posturing. What's the point of making "science" (rather an empty abstraction) the scapegoat for the fact that most people aren't going to agree with or possibly even understand you ideas. The theory you attempt to outline sounds interesting, but there are far too few details to allow anyone to evaluate for themselves the leaps you make from the Big Bang to the alternate forms of physical causality that you hint at.

I'd be more inclined to take you seriously if you could actually describe some of the steps in a little more detail. The ability to put difficult concepts in layman's terms is a good way to test one's understanding. For concepts that just don't translate well, I'd like to see the math. For example, instead of just dropping the name "Ashtekar Gravity Theory" why not give us a brief summary of what the theory asserts along with some references for people who are interested in pursuing the idea further.

I know all this sounds horribly mundane and "scientific", but otherwise how is anyone going to evaluate your claims for themselves? Also, it's just possible that some of us might be sufficiently interested to pursue some of your ideas further, which (I would think) would be something you'd approve of.

Regards,

Lonnie

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Aurelius
Date: 12/8/99

Lonnie asked: Why not just present your ideas without all the rhetorical posturing?

Talking about new paradigms is tricky, and requires you to take intellectual risks. I can say from long experience that most people are either not interested, or else actively resist. I have tuned into other mailing lists where I was denounced as a negative force.

While I believe I can present a coherent theory of magic, it's too much for casual posts to SA. It will require its own web site, and probably take several months to hack my material into a complete form.

These recent posts have been an attempt on my part to survey whether it would be worth the effort. What I'm finding is that virtually no one (who has spoken up) has made any serious effort to build knowledge that would span both science and magic.

As to whether science can be both useful and a cult, check out what Dean Radin has to say about Carl Sagan and James Randi in "The Conscious Universe." He basically denounces them as having no scientific integrity whatsoever. I stand by my remarks.

Aurelius

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Ahmo
Date: 12/8/99

I am with you on that A. I am not against using science and "scientific vocabulary" for the purposes of exploring. Lonnie seems to hold science as the test of all knowledge, and I feel that certain things are out of the scope of the scientific method. So if something doesn't have the math to back it up, well, if it is useful to the exploration, well then use it. Science is as created as mythology because it doesn't rely soley on observation of empirical 'facts' or 'reality' but on the creation of 'facts' and 'reality' through interpretation. Many mathematically possible things do not/cannot exist in the 'real world' that it measures. If we allow Science to state the boundaries of our world we are just as fuct as if we let the pope to do the same. Sorry if I misinterpret your remarks Lonnie, it just seem that science is your be-all end-all. I feel that the arrogance and illusion of science is that it is believed to be abled to explain/understand everything, or even just say what is everything (as in real). I do not believe that any system or approach has that power, nor that humans have the capacity to make final statements on a universal scale. I feel it is unlikely to see a theory that bridges both science and magic, like having a color that explains sound. Keep up the good work

Ahmo

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Re: Recognition, Interaction, and Alternative Universes
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/9/99

Ahmo writes:

"I am not against using science and "scientific vocabulary" for the purposes of exploring. Lonnie seems to hold science as the test of all knowledge, and I feel that certain things are out of the scope of the scientific method. So if something doesn't have the math to back it up, well, if it is useful to the exploration, well then use it. Science is as created as mythology because it doesn't rely soley on observation of empirical 'facts' or 'reality' but on the creation of 'facts' and 'reality' through interpretation. Many mathematically possible things do not/cannot exist in the 'real world' that it measures. If we allow Science to state the boundaries of our world we are just as fuct as if we let the pope to do the same. Sorry if I misinterpret your remarks Lonnie, it just seem that science is your be-all end-all."

No offense taken, Ahmo. It takes time to come to an understanding of one another. (Given that simple fact, it's incredible to me that so many are so quick to claim to understand "the spirit" and its actions). Actually science is not my be-all and end-all. But it is, I believe, an important reference point, one that can shed more light than many are willing to admit.

First of all, I agree that certain things are outside the scope of the scientific method. The scientific method is a method for testing theories that can make empirical predictions about the outcome of future observations. As such, science is empirically oriented but not strictly empirical in its methods. There are, as you move away from direct observation, layers of increasingly general and contentless metaphysical ideas that tend to direct the way in which observations are interpreted, theories are formulated, etc.

For example, at the extreme outer edge of these concentric metaphysical presuppositions is the idea that the universe is probably such that certain aspects of it can be understood and that it is advantageous to attempt to do so.

Lets call that level 10. Level 1 would be direct empirical observation. Level 2 would include specific theories such as General Relativity, QED, etc. Level 3 would be a sort of Blueprint describing in general terms what acceptable theories should "look like" based on the metaphysical assumptions of the outer levels. The intervening levels of metaphysical assumptions would involve things like the assumption that the universe isn't capricious. For example, it is not the case that the speed of light in a vacuum has one value in our solar system and another in the andromeda galaxy. And so on.

So the scientific method is empirically oriented, but it is not strictly empirically driven. Nevertheless, ideas that have no empirical entailments are outside the scope of the scientific method.

Regarding mathematics. Mathematics is a formal language that allows one to give precise expression to certain types of ideas that are very difficult to express using natural language. My comment to Aurelius that I would like to see the math was not meant to claim that anything not given mathematical expression is invalid. Rather, he was talking about ideas that come from a discipline (physics) whose language is mathematics.

The scientific method is not the only bastion of rational criticism. It is possible to evaluate ideas and arguments that have no empirical entailments for consistency and coherence. In general, ANY idea expressed using declarative statements is fair game for such criticism. Strictly speaking this type of criticism is outside the scope of the scientific method, falling instead within the scope of philosophical analysis.

Beyond that, there are experiences that one might have that have tremendous personal significance, that one might consider sacred in some way. Those experiences can have profound effects on one's life and the way one views and acts in the world. No rational person would presume to challenge or criticize those experiences UNLESS YOU START MAKING GENERAL ASSERTIONS ABOUT WHAT'S WHAT IN THE WORLD. Then, again, you have entered the fray, and people are entitled to ask you to give some account of your ideas.

Ahmo:

I feel that the arrogance and illusion of science is that it is believed to be abled to explain/understand everything, or even just say what is everything (as in real). I do not believe that any system or approach has that power, nor that humans have the capacity to make final statements on a universal scale.

Lonnie:

When you say "it is believed to be able to explain/understand everything," I call that hedging. It's hedging because the passive construction leaves it unclear whether you are making a universal or existential claim. Strictly speaking all "it is believed" says is "someone believes", but, perhaps because of the excreble style of academic writing, we tend to read authority into passive constructions and interpret "it is believed" as a universal claim--i.e., everyone believes.

After making such statements people tend to go on as if "everyone believes", but if you try to pin them down they say "I never said that". Which is true.

I don't know anyone who is well informed who thinks that science is "able to understand/explain everything." Of course many scientists do believe this, in priniciple. But I don't think they are all that well informed outside their individual fields.

Lonnie

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Bishop
Date: 11/30/99

On the homepage of this site is written a letter of intent: "A website devoted to exploring and evaluating the legacy of Carlos Castaneda, and to investigating other possibilities for increased awareness and expanded perception." This is a very diplomatic and high-minded advertisement. What is found, for the most part, is a very systematic (and effective) deconstruction of the "truth's" set forth by Cleargreen Inc. Although I agree that discrediting CC&Co. is an obvious and necessary step, to much energy is spent on personal attacks on "TB's" and defending personal reputations. In fact (unless I'm mistaken), most of the vicious and self-righteous attacks come from former members of the inner circle and other long term practitioners. If someone says something in line with, or defending, Cleargreen, they are immedietley set upon , sneered at, and ridiculed. But here's a thought, most of the "TB's" you attack were never privy to the experiences you had as part of the inner circle. How could you spend years involved and not realize you were being had? Where was your bullshit radar? And how can you look down on people who believe(d) from afar, who never got to see the behavior of CC and the rest up close? After exploring this site and some lengthy discussions with friends, I've developed a pretty clear view of the institution of Cleargreen and Carlos the man. Although my blind faith is shattered, I'm still interested in pusuing the ideals of the letter of intent. What works? What doesn't? What are the other experiences of the longtime practitioners (I mean, other than anger and disillusionment:))

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Sandy McIntosh
Date: 11/30/99

Of course this website has been concerned with deconstructing Castaneda--how else would you do it? If we don't discuss the issues that he raised in reference to what he said and how he acted, then this might as well be some other list concerned with qiqong or cult behavior only. I think this website is moving towards the ideals stated in its introduction, but gradually--as fast as the thoughts of those who post on the SA list and those who post here will permit it to move.

It is also easy for those who have read only the shorter articles on the website to believe that it is dominated by bitterness towards Cleargreen & Company. But there is much more to this website's content than resentment. Granted, reading the longer think pieces posted on the site will tax the attention spans of hit-and-run netsurfers, or those who are reading this only to find fault, but that's not the website's problem.

Finally, it seems to be generally supposed that the contributors to the website are limited to those people who attended CC's Sunday workshops. However, I know for certain that a number of us (including myself) live hundreds or thousands of miles away from LA and were never part of CC's exclusive group, although we attended many workshops. It's too easy to point the finger and say that this website exists only because of the disillusionment of people who were close to Castaneda. There are more compelling reasons than bitterness to dwell on these difficult issues--among others, integrity and a sense of responsibility to those with whom we shared the Castaneda adventure.

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Bishop
Date: 11/30/99

Sandy, I never disagreed with the process of deconstructing CC&Co. It just seems to be the priority of many of the people here, and frankly, it's a dead issue. Those that can be convinced, have, and those that won't (the TB's) probably won't ever. Just read some of the posts by the TB's, there is no personality behind their statements, no individuality, they quote verbatim the books and the Cleargreen website. How does one debate with a zombie? True, I'm new here and not really conversant with all the information on this website, but I'm not a dilletante either, I invested nearly 9 years of my life to the teachings of CC&Co..now, I just want to separate the bullshit from the holy cow. I'm not ready to dismiss en masse a philosophy that has increased my awareness to a certain degree ( although I certainly don't "see" radioactive easter eggs, or perform somersaults and swan dives off mountains :))And you may be correct, Sandy, I may have missed a good deal of info. But my interests lay primarily with the experiences of specific people with specific practices. For example, what did you get out of the recapitulation? Tensegrity?Gazing?Dreaming? How did incorporating certain beliefs effect you, such as using personal mortality as a guidepost and off-setting self-importance? I just want to salvage as much of my experiences as I can, and learn from others in the same boat and then move on Respectfully, Bishop

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Sandy McIntosh
Date: 11/30/99

Sorry, Bishop, if it seemed I was replying to you specifically. I thought the issues you raised were important and I wanted to reply to them in a general context. For those of us, like yourself, who have once made a commitment to Castaneda's vision, the only way we can sort out the worthwhile and helpful from the worthless and harmful is by challenging everything we once blindly accepted--specifically those issues you mention. Even at this advanced stage it is a messy and redundant enterprise. But the hopeful goal is that we will reach a place of personal clarity without bitterness or regrets.

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: Bishop
Date: 11/30/99

Sandy, Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you whole-heartedly on that last post. You made me realize this isn't a perfect process. There are real people involved here and not self proclaimed "empty beings" and in the end, we all want the same thing- Answers.

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Re: SA Mailing List
From: diana
Date: 12/1/99

Hi Bishop, I'll try this again, As far as dreaming goes, I am able to find my hands almost automatically, then glance at other things and come back to hands. I can also sort of "control" the dream, if not specifically "change dreams" - meaning I can think, well, it would be nice to do such and such, and then that will "happen" in the dream. Right now I though, I am sort of "stuck" in my dreaming. It seems to me that there are at least two distinct types of dreams I have. The kind I just described, which is almost always a place away from where I have gone to sleep. And then something similar to what's been called "awareness during sleep paralysis". When that happenes, I wake up in my own bed, it is usually very dark, and I feel a very strong vibration go thru me. I can't move at all. If I try with all my might to move, I begin to see a "ghost" image of me. I have stuck with this long enough so that the ghost me actually gets up and starts to turn around. Usually by then there is a dim light spread thru the room. I begin to see "my body" on the bed, and I just start to scream my head off, and usually, thankfully, wake up. I read in the dread Castaneda books ;-), where this happened to Carlos, and Don Juan told him that it happened because he needed to recapitulate more. So, I started to recap sporadically many years ago. Around 1995, things in my life changed so that I had more time to really do it. Still, weeks would go by when I did not have time. But starting around late 1996 I took it VERY seriously - During a vacation instead of going away I used the week to recap for eight hours a day, for example - Now I try to recap about half hour before going to sleep every night, and get up early on weekends to do it many times. I live in the city, so I recap indoors. I have a small apartment. Once, I set up a tent in the middle of it - I had a fire place - and I would recap in front of the fire in winter. I find that in recap., I still am not able to get a "five-senses" type experience going. What I mean is, over the years, my dreaming - "ordinary", lucid, whatever, has become unbelievably real in the sense that I dream in technicolor, I hear in what sounds like stereo sometimes - I'll hear music and it will just be unbelievable. I taste things, I smell things, I feel pain...it's just gotten more and more "real". Whereas in my recap. I am not getting to that point nearly as fast. Also, I still have a LOT of trouble remembering the early years of my life. Also, I forgot to mention, that Don Juan had told Carlos when Carlos woke up screaming when he saw his body, to do a different type of recap. -- to not do it in any order, but to let the spirit decide the event to be recapped. So I have been trying that recently, but I have not yet noticed much change in my ability to get a "deeper" recap experience. One thing I wanted to mention was that just the other night, I tried what Dan said, I did abdominal exercises before bed, and I also wore a sash around my midsection that I had not put on in a long time. I tried to be silent, and I started to get hypnogogic type stuff going on. I saw a river thru the window of an apartment on a high floor. I said to myself "go for it", and the next thing I knew, I had "stepped in" to the dream. I slid thru the glass and was hovering over the water and looking at my hands and then at my surroundings and back to my hands...I had never done that before, meaning just been so awake one moment and then just said "step into the dream" and then the next second I was just dreaming. Anyway, like I said, I wrote this whole post and it got eaten, so this is the second time I'm trying to write it, plus now I'm tired. So sorry if it's a mess. But I would like to know if you have any specific things you are interested in discussing, like ...well, I'll just wait and hopefully you will let me know. I would also be very interested in hearing anything you would care to share about your dreaming or recap. or tensegrity.....thanks bishop. Diana.

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: Bishop
Date: 12/1/99

From what I gathered from your last post, your theory that cc&co. acted the way they did to erase self importance. And if I remember correctly, there was another post by someone who had a similar theory that cc acted the way he did so that Cleargreen and it's followers would self destruct after his "departure" therefore safeguarding against the possibility of Cleargreen reverting to a religion. I never said that I didn't believe that DJ ever existed or that it was all a pack of lies. I simply concluded that the actions of CC and Cleargreen could hardly be put under the heading of immpeccability. Which brings me back to the thread of my last few posts on this subject. IT'S ALL MOOT! Whether or not DJ existed, or Carlos fucked or what was found in which trashcan is immaterial. It served it's purpose. What I want to know is the personal experiences of those involved. Neither the TB's or the nea-sayers have given any concrete evidence on the real issue-does it work? Blathering on about infinity doesn't cut it, neither does shredding the personality cults of CC&Co. Who here has shifted their assemblage points at will? Who has recapitulated for two years and felt nothing? What were the effects of your dreaming practices? Did you build a body like Arnold after doing Tensegrity or did it just make you yawn? I remember a quote by Camus, he was commenting on the simplistic and dualistic politics of his time he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "People always ask me if I'm for or against one issue or another. They never give me the choice for another alternative, so if I have to choose, then I'm AGAINST!"

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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

You should try to get the name of the book, Corey would be interested. Now that you mention it, I recalling hearing about something like that. moving the eyes stimulated the brain to remember, similar to the way the eyes dart in dreaming. Corey is currently in the process of updating his book list, that chapter from that book might be a good inclusion.

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: Theophilos
Date: 12/1/99

Dan wrote:

But who really believes there's a giagantic eagle who takes your recap as a substitute for your awareness?

Dan I don't want to pick on you but you set yourself up for it with this one. There is no gigantic eagle. In the books even the Don Juan character had to admit that he found the image absolutely ridiculous. It was a description which was passed down from the early seers who were prone to interpret an event in a anthropomorphic manner.

The DJ character also states that if he was inclined, he would have created a different description, but chose to use the old seers metaphor for a reason, mainly that they had "learned" to see it that way, and that it was simply more expedient, if I remember correctly.

If you understood that this is in fact a paradigm you wouldn't have the difficulties you are experiencing. Perhaps a more scientific paradigm would be helpful, although for you it probably won't make a difference.

t

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

You're only focusing on half of the statement. Remember that don Juan died, and was brought back because he'd recapitulated. And remember that dona Soledad had been set free, but later Carlos in class said over and over that she had not become free. In other words, the results of this exercise are subject to the whim of the teacher. In my case, cleargreen would say that I had done only a shallow job of recapping not that I don't agree with them. But when I was in the sunday class people used to comment on how much work I did and how thorough I was. It's a bad sign when the techniques you are given only work as long as you are in agreement with your teachers and have completely failed as soon as you disagree with them. Contrast that with a practical endeavor, like woodworking, which is learned or not learned by your own efforts and doesn't depend on whether you agree with the teacher's aestetics.

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

Plato isn't a good example because Carlos was alive and talking, right in front of us. If plato wrote a book but you went to hear him at the colesium, and he said the book was crap, listen to what he had to say right now, would you still be only interested in the book and not the inconsistancies?

I understand the eagle was only an interpretation, but believe it or not there are people out there who claim to have "seen" the eagle, as an eagle. Now if you take it as something abstract, it's still a being that seeks our awareness and will swap it for a full recapitulation, statements contradicted later by Carlos and group on many occasions.

The point being that Carlos was "winging" it as he went along and that the practical value of the recapitulation shouldn't be measured by the original description of it's function, since that was countermanded many times.

My practical evaluation is that I wouldn't put the time in to it these days, unless I found myself unable to get dreaming by trying to get dreaming. Before using the recap to try to improve dreaming I recommend actually trying to get dreaming through specific effort in that direction.

And if you want to do the recap to free yourself from the influence of this world, I recommend asking what it means to be free from this world, the degree of freedom you can actually acheive that way, and what you might also lose as a result.

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: Theophilos
Date: 12/1/99

Dan wrote:

Now if you take it as something abstract, it's still a being that seeks our awareness and will swap it for a full recapitulation, statements contradicted later by Carlos and group on many occasions.

Not quite. You're still anthropomorphizing. You've gone from a Shamanistic sounding animal deity to a "being" who is "seeking" our awareness and is willing to "swap"(like baseball cards) for the recapitulated events. Although it's a more modern allegory, it still reeks of anthropomorphizing.

It is an event, perhaps something like electro-magnetism or radio-activity. Thats all. There is an interplay between us and infinity at the moment of death. Let's say that the "us" can be affected by a lifetime of excercising and purging that awareness, thereby affecting the equation at the crucial moment.

You're right about Plato not being a good example in that sense. There are other similarities though. Plato made use of a wise character named Socrates who imparted wisdom to disciples in the dialogues. Scholars were at war at one time as to how much of it actually occured.

Plato also said it was important to "practice dying".

t

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Re: ZOMBIES UNITE!
From: erik grafstrom
Date: 12/1/99

Dan:

I really appreciate your absolutely cut-to-the-bone comparasions. My favourite of your is the Publisher's check for $1,000,000 because I have persoanlly recieved one, complete with mis spelt name and, an accompanying text crammed with 'hooks' jumping off the page (the real prize is the snickering sub text-evreything was there).

The woodworking analogy I appreciate too. I suppose my complaint is that it is too mechanical, reductive for me. I want to insert ambiguity and contradiction. The Publisher's letter had that but, one has to read between the lines. The world is definely not obvious; it's veiled with no precise operations manual available. The ambiguity, contradiction and complexity of cc's work is what gives it depth. Admittedly, along with the risks of mis interpretaions, parroting cult babble, etc.

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PSPS
From: Bishop
Date: 12/1/99

Here's an afterthought to my last post. Daniel Lawton is the only person that I can find who discusses his experience in the practical applications (albeit only the dreaming ones) apparently he concludes that there are no mystical qualities to it. I can respect that. Dan, what are your experiences with the recapitulation, and what do you know of the experiences of others who dream and recap?

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Re: PSPS
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

I've talked with lots of people about both dreaming and recap, and with the exception of the occasional weirdo who claims to have physically visited mars in dreaming, the results are pretty much in line with my own.

In recapping I learned to visualize the scene fully at times. That typically came about for me best after 45 minutes of recapping, with a deliberate effort to breath deeply. Possibly you could say that I'd hyperventillated.

I could tell when I was on the right track because I'd blank out in the middle of a head sweep, sit there not aware of anything for quite a while, then realize I'd stopped sweeping my head. I'd resume it, only to blank out before I swept even 1 more time.

In that mode, I'd find myself staring down a whitish tunnel, at the end of which was something completely abstract, kind of a tugging or tearing thing. There was something aware about the other end of the tunnel, I found it caused some of my body parts to move, as if my body were interacting with someone down the tunnel and I wasn't aware of it. Sometimes I'd come out of the blank state, barely remembering a whole conversation I'd just been having with someone in that abstract region of fog.

I don't want to give the wrong impression, that type of thing happened only about 1 out of 20 times I tried recapping, and only after about a year of steady daily practice. The rest of the time recapping was pretty much just mental visualizing, with occasional hypnogogic imagery. A struggle for me to get started, but relatively pleasant once I got going.

At the times when I got the strange dreaming state to happen, after blanking out I'd often find myself in a dreaming scene sweeping my head back and forth and watching a dream as a spectator. In that state I'd remember something I'd totally forgotten, something incredible! I'd get really excited at having remembered, but not in such a way as to disturb the vision. It was more like a shock feeling. I'd watch the scene for as long as it lasted, remembering deeper and deeper things. The scene elicited a continuous shock as I realized I'd completely forgotton all those things that happened. I felt there was some key to forgetting and remembering, that the feeling of remembering was something that could open up doors to endless past memories.

Then I'd wake up, and realize those things never happened at all. They were nonsense! Interactions with people that didn't exist, things that happened between family members that couldn't have happened, places I'd been that were bizarre and couldn't exist.

I got good enough at it to go back and forth. I'd be in the scene, absolutely certain I'd uncovered vast hidden memories, come out and realize it was nonsense, then go back to find the exact same sense of certainty that it had in fact happened.

I'm not trying to imply that maybe those things happened and I'm just being too rational to remember. I mean that most of them were completely nonsensical. The scene had elements that defied the rules of our universe. Objects were animated, gravity was irrelevant, space was relative. People also broke rules, switching who and what they were according to the information.

Despite what people will say, which they say only since I no longer with Carlos' conclusions, I did an impeccable job for a first time recapitulation. It took about 3 years, and my list was both thorough and detailed. I even topped it off by retracing my life, everywhere I'd lived, everywhere I could remember visiting, to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything.

The result of the recap was that I couldn't be emotionally manipulated by people anymore. I knew the ins and outs of their control over me, the personal history that subconsciously let them push me this way and that with an insinuation. That infuriated them. It really took the air out of their sails.

I liked that at the time. But now I have to say that there's nothing particularly good about learning to be a cold being that doesn't move a finger for other people. I have the opportunity to hang around both people still addicted to cleargreen, and people who have gotten out. The people still in carry themselves like scavangers in the world. They'll use what they can, but won't really go out of their way for other people. If they gained any aloofness, it's really just a form of retreat and selfishness. It's as if they've judged the world an ugly place, so fuck it.

Of course, I only get contact with specific people. But I can assure you, when the old sunday class used to practice people would storm out if things didn't go their way, and the class broke in half at one point over a disagreement about how practice sessions should be conducted. That was pretty much common in all the practice groups, petty in-fighting. The beings that recapped to become free actually turned into petty and selfish people who filled their heads with the idea they were losing their ego.

At this point, I believe the recap effect has mostly worn off, because I now find myself remembering things I'd fully recapped and feeling the old feelings I used to associate with them. Like embarassment over something I'd said 20 years ago. That was relieved by recapping, but since it came back I'd have to say the recap is only good for a few years.

I believe recapping is a good exercise, but a temporary one, and very nearly another placebo from Carlos.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
From: bishop
Date: 12/1/99

I just remembered something, a few years back I was going through my girlfriends books and found a pretty asinine self-help book called "Please Understand Me" or something. Anyways in one of the chapters there was this sidebar on a women Psychiatrist who helped people with PTSD. She had her patients close their eyes, visualize and completely relive the traumatic event while doing deep breathing and moving their eyes in a counter-clockwise motion. The thing was, the study showed an astounding success rate but her project was dismissed by the larger Psychiatric community because of it's "mystical" overtones. Just food for thought.

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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
From: A Fool
Date: 12/1/99

The technique in question is EMDR, developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. You can read all about it by searching under "EMDR" or, e.g., www.emdr.com.

"In its simplest form, the technique itself, involves an individual 1) holding in mind a representative image (pictures, sounds, feelings) of "the problem," while 2) watching a clinician's left-right hand or finger movements in short sets." (EMDR institute).

IMO, the jury's still out on this technique. Maybe, I could never get past the fact that it seems like a 3 stooges routine. (Imagine Curley waving his fingers in front of Moe going "woop woop woop".) It does seem to work for some people, it may be a modality that serves as a connection for some people where more traditional psychotherapy doesn't. Of course, 99% of psychotherapy is horseshit anyway.

Unfortunately, people prone to PTSD tend to be highly suggestable and histrionic. The Placebo factor here is high.

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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
From: me
Date: 12/14/99

emdr was performed on me - and i had no idea it was for ptsd. during the sessions i immediately went back to a very traumatic event - and resolved it. it was a highly charged and effective session. i mention this because of the suspected placebo effect. i could go on and on (because i subsequently produced several tv specials on emdr) but the technique remnded me of when don juan told cc to move his eyes when he got scared - cause this moves the ap. cheers!

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Re: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
From: Scott
Date: 12/1/99

I heard about this from a friend who did some NLP training. He explained it to me as, the motion of the eyes in the circles causes you to access all of the parts of the brain for problem solving, whereas, most of the time we only use one part of the brain to problem solve. So, it's a wholistic approach. He asked me some questions and watched my eyes to see which part of the brain I used the most. When i did the circular motion while thinking about a painful memory I did feel some physical relaxation afterward but that's about it.

Scott

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Why the frequent use of the term "Placebo"
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/1/99

I'm not sure if everyone is aware of this, but the term placebo keeps coming up because Carlos used it over and over in sunday class to describe other techniques and also to describe our daily interests in the world. The idea was that these things didn't really do anything but placate the person and lull them back into their satisfied state of low awareness. He applied the term to yoga, martial arts, new age spirituality, religion, and just about everything except his own techniques. All the while he was insisting that you couldn't listen to what people said, but had to observe the man, how he behaved when his students weren't around.

So you could either say that his detractors are still somewhat under the influence of his way of looking at things, or that they are taking poetic license and using his own analysis against him, following his own advice that you have to observe the man, not his words.

To that end, some people feel that Carlos' techniques are largely placebos, and also they use that scientific term to explain the mild results people sometimes point out as proof of his teachings. Carlos used the term in the same manor himself, except that usually he applied it to everyone else but himself.

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Re: SA vs. TB
From: Calixto
Date: 12/2/99

"The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down."

Yes, that is absurd, for the world is really a bunch of luminous emanations coming from a giant Eagle. And yes, "the Eagle" is resting upon something --- it's resting upon a lie --- and yes ... it's lies all the way down.

Saying "Carol Tiggs is a no good, low down, lazy, lying, fat, princess bitch" is a slur on dogs. :-)

And yes, you are all going to die like dogs, but that too may be a slur on dogs.

With apologies to dogs,

C.

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What is SA's position on the reality of magic?
From: Aurelius
Date: 12/1/99

In a different thread, Daniel Lawton said:

>>> But logically, why should dreaming be the obvious way to try to find hidden abilities and not something other activity? What if baking a bran muffin on top of a lake were the door to infinity?

What is SA's position on the reality of magic?

Seeing as e.g., CC published N inconsistent versions of his initial meeting with DJ, it's fair game to suppose the whole thing is a hoax. But it is quite another matter, as you seem to be doing, to deny that there is any reality to magic and sorcery.

If your life is really as non-magical, lacking in any physical anomalies or synchronicities, as you seem to say, then maybe I should feel sorry for you teach you what I know.

Good grief! My life is filled with all manner of magic that has physical effects, although they are often kind of stupid. My dreaming, recap, and stalking are basically non-existent, but my link with intent seems strong, and getting stronger.

For starters I am a powerful projective telepath, who puts thoughts into other people's heads all the time. Often they react as if I had spoken to them out loud, even if they were 100 feet away. I have to be careful NOT to silently mull my anger towards business adversaries in public settings, because bystanders seem to hear my angry words in their heads, as if stated directly to them.

For fun, when I see NYC lovers hugging, I'll think "kiss that girl," and they often will take my suggestion, as if someone gave them the okay.

[Hey, I should probably work on something like "give him money," ;-) but that's not my style.]

Another pointless physical effect is that street lights often decide to burn out (or maybe turn off) when I walk past them. Often but not always in sync with some seemingly important idea I was just having. It's happened maybe 100 times. (Anyone here an expert on street light technology?)

It's one of those "having to believe" things. I've spent a lifetime collecting and analyzing reports of magical events, whether formal psychic research, or old wives tales, and trying to develop an overall theory. No time right now for that, but this is not some kind of non-issue, as you seem to imply.

The book "Conscious Universe" by psychic researcher Dean Radin is a must read in this regard. Very well controlled experiments show that humans can move a random event consistently about 3% of the time, with a statistical significance level in the jillions.

An experiment called the "Ganzfield" or whole field, which is about telepahy, achieves results consistently 35% better than chance, and is now discussed in college textbooks for Psychology 101.

If all that CC ever did was to tell someone "you're a magical being, act like it," then that's a genuine gift. And if he then crashes and burns, be thankful and keep moving ahead with it.

I could run a list of folks I know/knew who had "real spirituality" (but less than they tended to believe) and when it went to their heads, it virtually destroyed them. I think that's a more likely explanation. In every disappointment there is usually something that was genuine. That's what makes it so disappointing. Cheer up.

Aurelius

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Re: What is SA's position on the reality of magic?
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/2/99

Tell me how you would define the term "reality" and the term "magic" and I'll give you my position (can't speak for SA).

Note that this could be a trick question.

Lonnie

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Isn't anyone's life magical?
From: Aurelius
Date: 12/2/99

This is not a well thought out post. Just a few whimsical questions.

How many of you have ever:

1. seen a flying saucer 2. had any experience of ghosts or spirits 3. dreamed something before it happened 4. had a big deja vu experience 5. met someone from a past life / soul mate or old enemy 6. sensed obvious traces of your own past life character 7. used stalking to achieve a difficult business objective

Heck, you could probably ask better questions than these.

My point is that for me, life is OBVIOUSLY magical, and it really doesn't matter to me if CC had committed suicide on TV.

Until you all pointed out the "fraud" I was pretty convinced I could validate the whole thing, and for the most part I still am.

Whether stolen or original, the Teachings, minus a few stupid and anti-social elements, are pretty right on, as an out front response to the problem of infinity.

Incidentally, I liked the comment about Carol being a "princess bitch" because I felt that rant "had power," and it made me laugh.

If all you folks can muster is brooding about CC's lies, then forget it. I can feel bad without any help from you. I am looking for magic, and it seems more within reach then ever, as a result of my long sustained actions, which were largely inspired by reading CC's books an ungodly number of times.

Aurelius

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Re: Isn't anyone's life magical?
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/2/99

Aurelius writes

My point is that for me, life is OBVIOUSLY magical, and it really doesn't matter to me if CC had committed suicide on TV.

Until you all pointed out the "fraud" I was pretty convinced I could validate the whole thing, and for the most part I still am.

Whether stolen or original, the Teachings, minus a few stupid and anti-social elements, are pretty right on, as an out front response to the problem of infinity.

If all you folks can muster is brooding about CC's lies, then forget it. I can feel bad without any help from you. I am looking for magic, and it seems more within reach then ever, as a result of my long sustained actions, which were largely inspired by reading CC's books an ungodly number of times.

I respond:

Yes I agree--life is obviously magical. Too bad so many of us are unable to appreciate that magic and must instead invent fantastic tales of sorcerers and, well...you get the picture.

Regarding "the problem of Infinity". Could you be a bit more specific? In what way are CC's teachings "right on, as an out front response to the problem of infinity." What do you mean by "the problem of infinity". So often the real magic is in the specifics.

Lonnie

-----
Re: Isn't anyone's life magical?
From: Lieut_Dan
Date: 12/2/99

I really felt the pain in your post. I too have experienced similar distress thoughtout my life. But for me it's been different. I have always 'wanted to believe' in miracles but have never "seen" any. No ufo's, no levitation, no visons, nothing that does not fit within the "known" universe. And it made my heart ache when I was younger. But now many grey hairs later(and one cult experience), I have learned that "love" in this shitty world is enough of a miracle. Save the rest of the tricks for the "true believers." But that doesn't mean I don't find myself in the backyard with my 5 year old son, telling him how fun it is to look at the shadows of the leaves instead of the leaves themselves.

The founders of SA I believe are trying warn all against the dangers of falling into the cult of persoanlity. And until you have seen first hand how distructive to the person the giving away of our personal freedoms to a cult can be, you will never understand the urgency they feel.

IMHO

  Replica Watches  Replica Watches

-----
quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/2/99

Hey Ahmo,

I guess my main point was that "Science" like so many other names, both scientific and non, is a gloss for a much more subtle and complex set of phenomena. I personally feel that many people who are invovled in scientific endeavors hold to some metaphysical presuppositions that are very questionable. Well, that's the way it goes. You've got to rest somewhere; you can't always be "looking up your own asshole."

I would argue that it's a good idea to become familiar with scientific criteria for evaluating theories, claims, and assertions in a wide range of situations. For example, the myth of the objective observer was pretty much accepted in the 19th century. Now we have evidence from a number of different fields that the idea of an objective observer is highly questionable and that it is highly likely that there's no such thing. From that, it doesn't follow that there's no such thing as an objective truth--i.e., it doesn't follow that there is no objective reality (for want of a better word).

It's possible that not everything under the sun or between the ears is empirically verifiable or falsifiable. Nevertheless with all the charlatans, quacks, con-artists, and honest mistakes floating around, it's a good idea to put assertions to the test as far as the test will allow. Besides, it's fun and you learn a lot more that way.

Regarding aborigenes, I believe that some oral traditions do preserve stories virtually unchanged over centuries, possibly millenia. In the case of the giant wombat, the aborigenes may be better sources of information than some opinionated professors. On the other hand, I think with a little reflection you would agree that nothing and no one was always anywhere :-)

Regards,

Lonnie

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/3/99

I like the idea of aborigines handing down stories about ancient times for generations. And that has been a most appealing feature of Castaneda; an unbroken tradition with roots from before the boring socialization of mankind. A tradition that started at a time when humans had defined the world to a much lesser degreee than the present, from the times when energetic facts were obvious as they probably are to animals. Why shouldn´t it be so ? It isn´t that unlikely that a tradition with a strong element of discipline and secrecy, someone who doesn´t ignore the evolution of society, could survive 10.000 years. But how do you think we found out about the giant animals of the Australian past. I´ll tell you. Flatfooted guys and girls from Universities (and elsewhere from)were dusting around the dessert in search of fossils they could study. Some does so because they don´t know what else to do, others because mom says so, but most does so because they like to tell and hear a good story. Science is one of the storytelling traditions of our society. Really nothing else than good stories told in a way that soothes our urge to explain the world. And talking about walking. What do you think the aussie aborigines do all the time. They walk, and in the evening they talk. They have been all over that dessert and it doesn´t take a degree to recognise a bone, albeit an overseized one. Maybe Carlos was linked to a 10.000 years old tradition. Maybe he was just compiling from dusting around in the libary and brewed on with a fine imagination. But one thing is faily sure, the aborigines they saw the fossils lying in the desert and brewed on.

G´day mate

Stender

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/3/99

Stender: I like the idea of aborigines handing down stories about ancient times for generations.

Lonnie: I like the idea, too. It appeals to my imagination. I even suspect that it may be true. Those things, in and of themselves, don't make it true.

Stender: And that has been a most appealing feature of Castaneda; an unbroken tradition with roots from before the boring socialization of mankind.

Lonnie: Sure it's appealing. For the same reasons that the idea of the aborigines and their long tradition is. But reintroducing Castanedas value judgments (e.g., boring socialization) and desiring an alternative to the boring realities of life in the society you live in doesn't make the stories true, either.

Stender: A tradition that started at a time when humans had defined the world to a much lesser degreee than the present, from the times when energetic facts were obvious as they probably are to animals.

How do you know that there was ever a time when "humans had defined the world to a much lesser degree"? An aborigene had names for everything, knew which rocks and plants and animals he/she was kin to according to clan. An aborigene had songs that told him where he could hunt, and where he was trespassing. The world was well defined for an aborigene. The definitions were just different from ours.

An aborigene's definitions entailed certain technologies. Place an aborigene in the desert, and he can find food and water. Our definitions entail different technologies. Place someone from Los Angeles in the desert and they'll most likely die of thirst.

Our view of the world has a profound effect on the "reality" that we experience. "Energetic facts" are, perhaps, the one invariant. Bees, for example, are just as aware of the second law of thermodynamics as humans are. They have even evolved a dance that allows them to deal with the law by communicating to other bees the shortest routes to food supplies. A bee's energetic margin of error is very thin. A bee who expends more energy finding food than she receives from the food dies.

Stender: Why shouldn´t it be so ? It isn´t that unlikely that a tradition with a strong element of discipline and secrecy, someone who doesn´t ignore the evolution of society, could survive 10.000 years.

Lonnie: Well I certainly don't think it's impossible, but as I sit here it would be difficult for me to make any kind of estimate on how likely it is. My personal suspicion is that Castaneda was in contact with no such tradition. Wouldn't it be hilarious if there were such a tradition in Mexico, completely unknown to Castaneda or any of the rest of us. That idea also appeals to my imagination, but that doesn't make it true, either.

Stender: But how do you think we found out about the giant animals of the Australian past. I´ll tell you. Flatfooted guys and girls from Universities (and elsewhere from)were dusting around the dessert in search of fossils they could study. Some does so because they don´t know what else to do, others because mom says so, but most does so because they like to tell and hear a good story.

Lonnie: That may be true, but it begs the question--why is it that we so love a good story. Is it because we have some romantic longing for a reality less boring than our social conditiong presents us with, or is it because that's the way our minds work?

Stender: Science is one of the storytelling traditions of our society. Really nothing else than good stories told in a way that soothes our urge to explain the world.

Lonnie: Really? Nothing else than that? You act like our "urge to explain the world" is some kind of indulgence or psychological obsession. I think this kind of dismissive gloss just blinds one to deeper, more interesting issues. No wonder you find it boring.

Stender: And talking about walking. What do you think the aussie aborigines do all the time. They walk, and in the evening they talk. They have been all over that dessert and it doesn´t take a degree to recognise a bone, albeit an overseized one. Maybe Carlos was linked to a 10.000 years old tradition. Maybe he was just compiling from dusting around in the libary and brewed on with a fine imagination. But one thing is faily sure, the aborigines they saw the fossils lying in the desert and brewed on.

Lonnie: No doubt they did.

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/3/99

Hi Lonnie.Thanks for the dynamic reply. Maybe you could reveal something about your experienceses in the relation between wording a statement and fitting, or mis-fitting, the attitude with which the words are expressed?

>>>Lonnie:How do you know that there was ever a time when "humans had defined the world to a much lesser degree"?<<<

That is not something I know but something I suspect. The observation is that the number of books, people and manmade stuff has risen dramatically. More words are used simply. If you sit in an office and deal with words all day, then your world is "well defined". On the other hand, if you are subject to the powers of nature, like say a fisherman in a homemade vessel, then the unknowns are many, powerful and awe-inspiring. Maybe I should rephrase and say that there was a time when the undefined part of the world was apparently more powerful.

>>>Lonnie: That may be true, but it begs the question--why is it that we so love a good story. Is it because we have some romantic longing for a reality less boring than our social conditiong presents us with, or is it because that's the way our minds work? <<<

Stender: One thing is to love entertainment, another is to entertain. Successful entertainment gives the entertainer a thrill and satisfies a lot of basic psychological needs that has to do with self-expression, acceptance and status. I think self-expression and the thrill to guide others through ones "dream" is the driving force because that dispels the sensation of being alone.

A romantic longing. What do you mean ? Daydreaming ? I basically experience that doing is a much stronger force and facility than not-doing (not the CC patented brand). Doing, however, is often associated with friction and thereby gives discomfort that implies alteration of mental and physical conditions. As a first impression, it appears easier to be led into the "dreams" (neither a CC patent), or world of ideas, of others.

>>>First Stender: Science is one of the storytelling traditions of our society. Really nothing else than good stories told in a way that soothes our urge to explain the world.

Lonnie: Really? Nothing else than that? You act like our "urge to explain the world" is some kind of indulgence or psychological obsession. I think this kind of dismissive gloss just blinds one to deeper, more interesting issues. No wonder you find it boring. <<<

No, that is your interpretation. Science is a way to explain the world in a way that will satisfy the intellect and possibly the intuition. What are investigated are fragments of a whole. We give the fragment a thorough explanation. All the unknowns are downsized in the process of focussing on what can be explained. Even the rare individuals who can review the work of many, have the same problem: unknowns figure like one (or several) symbol that take up an equal space as the rest of the symbols in the equation. In the natural system, the unknown takes up what is often an unknown proportion. As we don´t really know the true impact of unknown factors in our data and model, and we are left in a situation where it is mandatory to present the work, everybody will accept and be happy in being entertained (according to the specifics of the field of knowledge, of course). A successful entertainment is stimulating.

Stender

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/3/99

Hi J.,

You asked...

"Maybe you could reveal something about your experienceses in the relation between wording a statement and fitting, or mis-fitting, the attitude with which the words are expressed?"

My experience is I read what is written, try to make my best guess at what the writer intended, check that against what was written again, then send off my response, trusting that the writer will clarify for me if I'm off base.

Because there is no "intent" immanent in written text the meaning(s) of a text have to be guessed at based on shared definitions, multiple layers of contextuality, etc. This is the hermeneutic problem. The hermeneutical nature of reading pretty much ensures that interpretations of a given set of statements will tend to proliferate in a fairly chaotic fashion. So, just as I may mistake a writer's attitude or intent in what is written, I may notice that there are interpretations which the writer may or may not have had in mind that are either entailed by or at least consistent with what was written. Sometimes, not knowing precisely what the writer had in mind, I may respond to those, as well.

By the way, I think that a story is more than an entertainment.

Nice talking to you.

Lonnie

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/3/99

Badger writes:

It seems Corey has a soft spot for people that whine about how they screwed up their life because of following the "Warrior's Way." And it seems that a major reason for this site is his attempt to "help" such individuals stop "beating themselves up" for not living up to "warrior standards." But these people never admit that things like leaving your family, breaking up with the "love of your life," or having a sense of contempt for you fellow humans are all PERSONAL INTERPRETATIONS of what they thought a "warrior" had to do. Is Castaneda really to blame for that?

Lonnie:

You have a point. Working with nothing but what was written (and depending on which books you read) it might be possible to interpret many "tenets of the warrior's way" differently. For example, Don Juan's injunction to Carlos to "Leave everyone who knows you well" could be read as applying to a specific individual(Carlos)in a specific in a specific situation (the context of the conversation in the book "Journey to Ixtlan"). On the other hand, the rationale for doing that was presented in fairly general terms; so it would be possible to make a case for interpreting that injunction as applying to anyone who wishes to "hunt for power."

Then if you take the text seriously, you might be inclined to act on that injunction. I suppose one could argue that anyone who pursues such a precipitous course based on such fantastic tales might be told with some justification "what'd you expect?" On the other hand, Carlos continued not only to advise people to isolate themselves from friends and family but even attempted to coerce and manipulate them to do so.

So from a hermeneutical perspective, it seems that there is a good deal of evidence that Carlos probably intended for people (at least for certain people) to interpret the writings in precisely some of the ways the people you characterize as whiners did.

Anyway, that's the way the history reads for me.

Here's a challenge for all the warriors out there. Come up (at least) with some new insults--you know, ones that don't rely on Castaneda's taxonomy of put-downs (e.g., poor babies, whiners, "immortals", etc.). When the taxonomy itself is in question, the insults sound fairly hollow.

Lonnie

-----
Interpretation
From: Badger
Date: 12/6/99

"On the other hand, the rationale for doing that was presented in fairly general terms; so it would be possible to make a case for interpreting that injunction as applying to anyone who wishes to "hunt for power." --Lonnie

Could you give me an example of making such a case?

I always took the books as presenting a philosophy of life and treated them as such. So when I read "Leave everyone who knows you well" I first sought a rationale for such a recomendation by don Juan. If I found one, I would then ask if it applies to my life. If it did, I would seek to implement it. If not, I dropped it, and that was that.

I just don't understand how so many thought that all the injunctions were directed at the reader. That to follow the Warrior's Way you had to perform all the things Carlos did.

For one, Castaneda's account is probably incomplete (if such an apprenticeship existed at all). We don't have the complete picture or the complete rationale for all the things don Juan made him do. All that seemed constant was don Juan tricking Castaneda at every turn of the road. So the tricks applied to him ONLY. If any of the readers were to become apprentices of don Juan , they probably would have been given different tasks and tricks. I feel that taking the books so literally says more about the mental state of the reader than of any ulterior motive of Castaneda.

What if he had included the story about farting to gauge his progress on the path in one of the books? Would people have done it themselves to "guage their progress?" That story was told at the workshops to demonstrate the scatological humor don Juan would engage in with Castaneda, but Castaneda always took him seriously (as some readers seem to take Castaneda).

"Carlos continued not only to advise people to isolate themselves from friends and family but even attempted to coerce and manipulate them to do so." --Lonnie

This you conclude from what you find on this site?

"So from a hermeneutical perspective, it seems that there is a good deal of evidence that Carlos probably intended for people (at least for certain people) to interpret the writings in precisely some of the ways the people you characterize as whiners did." --Lonnie

So, how do you determine if you're one of those "people?"

Using the term "whine" was a value judgement on my part, given that I was brought up to assume responsability for ALL my decisions. This I learned not from Castaneda, but from my parents. So when I read posts that show either complaint or anger at being "duped," to me that's "whining" and not taking responsability for their choices.

"When the taxonomy itself is in question, the insults sound fairly hollow." -- Lonnie

I'm not insulting anybody, and how is "whine" part of Castaneda's taxonomy?

-----
Re: Interpretation
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/6/99

Interpretation From: Badger Date: 12/6/99

Comments "On the other hand, the rationale for doing that was presented in fairly general terms; so it would be possible to make a case for interpreting that injunction as applying to anyone who wishes to "hunt for power." --Lonnie

Badger:

Could you give me an example of making such a case?

Lonnie:

Well I don't have the book with me, but the case would hinge on the way the reader might interpret certain ambiguous terms such as "you", when used in statements like "your parents know everything about you," or "people can hold you with their thoughts." "You", here, could refer exclusively to CC in the context of the discussion, but it's not likely that CC would be the only person for which DJ would claim that those things are true. Anyway the fact that that type of experience is fairly common might influence someone to interpret the text not so much as saying that you the reader should "leave everyone that knows you well", but rather as stating a general condition that must be met in the quest for freedom. If the reader believed the stories to be accurate and factual and wished to pursue the perceived path with heart, it is very likely that he/she would interpret the text as a guide book.

Beyond that, I'm sure one could find textual support for both sides of the issue. I haven't established that CC intended for readers to try to follow DJ's instructions to the Carlos in the book, but I think I've indicated the path you would take to make a case that the books could be taken that way. Further evidence for this view is provided by the simple fact that so many people have spent so many years doing just that--useing the books as a guide.

Badger:

I always took the books as presenting a philosophy of life and treated them as such. So when I read "Leave everyone who knows you well" I first sought a rationale for such a recomendation by don Juan. If I found one, I would then ask if it applies to my life. If it did, I would seek to implement it. If not, I dropped it, and that was that.

Lonnie:

That's a rational and healthy approach. I would add, though, that Carlos's don Juan was an astute critic of the human condition. Much of what don Juan says, especially in the first three books, rings profoundly true. It might be difficult to find someone who hasn't felt at one time or another that his friends and relations don't allow him room to grow, change, explore.

Badger:

I just don't understand how so many thought that all the injunctions were directed at the reader. That to follow the Warrior's Way you had to perform all the things Carlos did.

Lonnie:

I don't know how many thought that ALL the injunctions were directed at the reader, but it's clear that many people took the books as guides.

Badger:

For one, Castaneda's account is probably incomplete (if such an apprenticeship existed at all). We don't have the complete picture or the complete rationale for all the things don Juan made him do. All that seemed constant was don Juan tricking Castaneda at every turn of the road. So the tricks applied to him ONLY. If any of the readers were to become apprentices of don Juan , they probably would have been given different tasks and tricks. I feel that taking the books so literally says more about the mental state of the reader than of any ulterior motive of Castaneda.

Lonnie:

Probably true about much of the material. But the books contain a range of material, some of it clearly directed at the fictional Carlos and some of it expressed as general truth. Who wouldn't want to avoid the terror of experiencing "that annihilating force" squeezing every last spark of awareness out of you until there is nothing left? It's fire and brimstone all over again. The carrot and the stick.

Badger:

What if he had included the story about farting to gauge his progress on the path in one of the books? Would people have done it themselves to "guage their progress?" That story was told at the workshops to demonstrate the scatological humor don Juan would engage in with Castaneda, but Castaneda always took him seriously (as some readers seem to take Castaneda).

Lonnie:

And apparently, some still do.

"Carlos continued not only to advise people to isolate themselves from friends and family but even attempted to coerce and manipulate them to do so." --Lonnie

Badger:

This you conclude from what you find on this site?

Lonnie:

This I conclude from material on this site, discussions on SA, and conversations with individuals.

"So from a hermeneutical perspective, it seems that there is a good deal of evidence that Carlos probably intended for people (at least for certain people) to interpret the writings in precisely some of the ways the people you characterize as whiners did."

Badger:

So, how do you determine if you're one of those "people?"

Lonnie:

Well I've determined that I wasn't one of those people. For an example of the type of person that CC was interested in check out the picture of "the blue scout" on this site.

Badger:

Using the term "whine" was a value judgement on my part, given that I was brought up to assume responsability for ALL my decisions. This I learned not from Castaneda, but from my parents. So when I read posts that show either complaint or anger at being "duped," to me that's "whining" and not taking responsability for their choices.

"When the taxonomy itself is in question, the insults sound fairly hollow."

I'm not insulting anybody, and how is "whine" part of Castaneda's taxonomy?

Lonnie:

I have the impression that calling someone a poor baby was one of Castaneda's favorite ways of manipulating people. I get this impression from the number of times I've heard it repeated by email warriors on many of these forums. A poor baby was someone who indulged in self-pity, a symptom of self-importance. Whining is just something that a poor baby does. It's part of his taxonomy because it implicitly divides the world into aspiring warriors and whining poor babies.

I agree with you that we're responsible for our decisions. But it's not an either/or proposition. There is a point to looking at CC's motivation, just as there is a point to asking who is making big contributions to a politician's campaign fund. You need good information to make informed, responsible decisions. If someone's a liar, he/she deserves to be revealed as such--no matter how insightful, charismatic, or entertaining. No matter how much some may have enjoyed or even benefitted from some of his stories and ideas.

Later,

Lonnie

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/5/99

Hi Lonnie, thanks a lot for taking time to give a careful answer to my question on wording.

I went through your hermeneutic posts and see that we have a common interest in the use of words. Your interest, however, appears more scholard than mine which is primarily based in 1) mantras and 2) to avoid being manipulated.

Likewise, the intention behind my question was a shade different than what you reacted to. The intention was to get insights on manipulation and let me give a practical example of what I mean: In my time in Yokohama I used to frequent the missions club for seamen, to play darts and snooker. One evening a fellow countryman, Tom, wanted me to meet a friend of his, a captain from one of the ships. I shake hands with this big bearded guy and say my nane. He, in a brusque voice, goes "dickhead". Me, with an involuntary jerk by the neck, "pardon me". "Dickhead" says he again and turns slightly to laugh off his head with everybody else who is watching. Tom explains with a big smile that the name of the captain is Richard Head and Mr Head smiles warmly. Two words with the right timing is all it took to have me by the balls, like I was some sort of machine with bottoms on it.

Is there a branch in hermeneutics that deal with manipulation ?

Best regards Stender

PS A story being more that entertainment. I meant that science is the story telling tradition of our culture. And that the motivation of telling stories is to a large extent entertainment. But I should also emphasize that the underlying drive in science and storytelling is stimulation.

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/7/99

From: J. Stender

Comments Hi Lonnie, thanks a lot for taking time to give a careful answer to my question on wording.

I went through your hermeneutic posts and see that we have a common interest in the use of words. Your interest, however, appears more scholard than mine which is primarily based in 1) mantras and 2) to avoid being manipulated.

Likewise, the intention behind my question was a shade different than what you reacted to. The intention was to get insights on manipulation and let me give a practical example of what I mean: In my time in Yokohama I used to frequent the missions club for seamen, to play darts and snooker. One evening a fellow countryman, Tom, wanted me to meet a friend of his, a captain from one of the ships. I shake hands with this big bearded guy and say my nane. He, in a brusque voice, goes "dickhead". Me, with an involuntary jerk by the neck, "pardon me". "Dickhead" says he again and turns slightly to laugh off his head with everybody else who is watching. Tom explains with a big smile that the name of the captain is Richard Head and Mr Head smiles warmly. Two words with the right timing is all it took to have me by the balls, like I was some sort of machine with bottoms on it.

Is there a branch in hermeneutics that deal with manipulation ?

Hi J.

Well, no, I don't think so. But speaking of mantra and manipulation, hermeneutics is as good an example as any. Hermeneutics is a big word for a simple concept. People are often misunderstood--in speech and in writing. Hermeneutics evolved in an arena where misunderstanding was not acceptable, the translation and interpretation of sacred texts: the bible, the Qoran, etc. It also plays a role in literary criticism and the analysis of scientitfic and philosophical arguments. Hermeneutical analysis, to make it sound really high-falutin is also something we do all the time without really thinking about it. If you do think about it, there are rules of thumb to help guide you. But there is no certainty about any interpretation of any text. The closer you are to the source, the more likely it is that you have the information you need to understand whatever was written or said.

So you can read something written twenty years ago and understand it pretty well. In doing so you perform hermeneutical gymnastics without thinking about it. If you were to try to translate the epic of Gilgamesh, written some 4000 years ago and then give an account of what it really is getting at, you'd have more of a task.

Carlos (following, in my opinion, Jacques Derrida) applied the term to cognition in order to point out that our perceptions are assembled below the level of consciousness and are therefore, in a sense, interpretations. One of the big arguments on this and other forums recently has been over how far one can push the analogy. Is the everyday world nothing but an interpretation (as Carlos maintained), or do we perceive objects that are as (relatively) real as ourselves?

I realize that I'm wandering off your question, but just one more point in this vein. This is not a new argument. Strict empiricism, for example, tends to lead one to a form of idealism.

Many people are manipulated by terms like Hermeneutics in the sense that they are impressed by people who use them. Carlos played with that dynamic and used it to his advantage, in my opinion, at the same time that he derided those who use or fall into it.

As for not allowing someone to grab you by the balls with a few words, that type of manipulation, we're all in the same boat. I think there are psychologists (Fritz Perls, for one) who are really good at playing with situations of that type. I've found aikido practice to be helpful, though only indirectly. You sort of get in the habit of not looking at the weapon that's coming at you and still not being there when it arrives. You also get in the habit of not letting someone else's presence, no matter how powerful or overbearing, take your balance. Again, this is just my interpretation, what I've extracted and been able, occasionally, to apply. So I suppose it's a form of hermeneutics, reading social situations as if they were aikido play.

I guess, ultimately, it IS a question of hermeneutics. It's really one's interpretation of the situation that makes one a victim. Of course if the guy had pulled a knife on you it would be a good indication that he intended for you to be the victim (that in response to Badger's anticipated "see? I told you").

Later,

Lonnie

P.S. from Stender.

"But I should also emphasize that the underlying drive in science and storytelling is stimulation."

Not sure I agree with you on this one.

-----
Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: diana
Date: 12/7/99

Lonnie,

Somewhere along the line I got the idea that if one says one is using hermeneutics to interpret a written body of work, say the bible for example, one uses parts of the work to interpret other parts of the work, and does this in such a way that the body of work "makes sense" without contradiction. Because, books like the Bible can't "be wrong"...in other words, well let me give an example of what I mean. It says in the Bible something that was interpreted into English as "Thou shalt not kill". But also in the Bible is the idea of War, and "good" men are mentioned that go to war, and fight, and "kill" people. Now, since the Bible can NEVER be "wrong", one has to go back to the part that says "thou shalt not kill" and realize that what is truly meant by that is "thou shalt not *murder*. Is that part of the idea of hermenuetics itself - using one part to interpret another? Or does that concept just apply to "sacred" texts? It interests me because if it is so.....well, maybe I better wait and see if this makes sense before I get in any deeper. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks! d.

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Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/8/99

Re: quantum mechanics (sort of) From: diana Date: 12/7/99

Lonnie,

Somewhere along the line I got the idea that if one says one is using hermeneutics to interpret a written body of work, say the bible for example, one uses parts of the work to interpret other parts of the work, and does this in such a way that the body of work "makes sense" without contradiction. Because, books like the Bible can't "be wrong"...in other words, well let me give an example of what I mean. It says in the Bible something that was interpreted into English as "Thou shalt not kill". But also in the Bible is the idea of War, and "good" men are mentioned that go to war, and fight, and "kill" people. Now, since the Bible can NEVER be "wrong", one has to go back to the part that says "thou shalt not kill" and realize that what is truly meant by that is "thou shalt not *murder*. Is that part of the idea of hermenuetics itself - using one part to interpret another? Or does that concept just apply to "sacred" texts? It interests me because if it is so.....well, maybe I better wait and see if this makes sense before I get in any deeper. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks! d.

Hi diana,

In general, as I understand it, Hermeneutics encompasses both the practice of interpretation and the study of methods of interpretation. So interpreting a written body of work could be described as a hermeneutical endeavor no matter what premises and rules of thumb one is applying. In interpreting sacred text, I imagine that one applies whatever core principles that are taught by the religion in question. I'll give you an example.

St. Augustin believed that humans are intrinsically good and valuable not in and of themselves but insofar as they are embodiments of the divine. The highest teaching, for him, was to love and honor God. The teaching of charity described the way that one should love and honor the God in one's fellow men. For him, charity was the core principle.

At the time when St. Augustin lived, the bible was being translated into a number of languages and so questions of translation, interpretation, Christian Doctrine, and so on were threatening to split the church along a number of lines. One of the controversies was whether or not the church should accept what were known at the time as "the pagan sciences", the pagan sciences including things like rhetoric, dialectic, Aristotle's logic, geometry, and so on.

Augustin recognized that the pagan sciences provided a rational basis for establishing rules of translation and interpretation and so he argued something like the following:

Not only the bible but all of nature and all of history are God's revealed texts provided they are correctly understood. Because charity is the highest teaching and God represents the highest good, it doesn't make sense to assume that God's word could be interpreted to mean anything that contradicts that teaching. Therefore, the pagan sciences, as a part of God's revealed text, are to be accepted and used in the service of charity.

Then Augustin formulated his first and most important hermeneutical principle, the principle of charitable interpretation. Since charity is an expression of the highest truth, all other considerations are subordinate. The principle of charity was to mediate all descrepancies and contradictions. Here's how it worked. Suppose a particular passage could be taken in two completely different senses. Take for example the injunction, "awake for you know not the day and the hour." You could interpret it figuratively as a warning that the second coming could occur at any time. You could interpret it literally as a description of humanity's general lack of awareness. Augustin said that the correct interpretation would tend to cultivate feelings of charity--love, respect, tolerance, reverence, like that. Charity was to be the yardstick and the mediator of all hermeneutical choices.

I guess hermeneutics can be seen as an attempt to mediate between two different, ah, vectors. On the one hand, you want an accurate understanding of a text. You want your understanding to be consistent with what is written, and ideally, you want it to reflect the writer's intent. But the writer's intent is not present in the text. You also have reasons of your own for wanting to understand the text. The task of hermeneutics is to provide as good a method as possible to bridge those two aims.

As far as "thou shalt not kill" versus "thou shalt not murder", you'd want, ideally, to have a look at the original text in the language in which it was written, preferably with the help of a native speaker of that language, so that you could determine whether the word actually used was better translated as "kill" or "murder". Then you'd be making a judgment call where you weighed the textual context against common usage (assuming you had any way of knowing about that) against whatever core principle you expect the text to embody. A hermeneutical principle such as "charitable interpretation" would be invoked in case of an impasse, where textual evidence supports (for instance) "kill" and common usage supports "murder".

In my opinion, a hermeneutical principle which ignores or glosses over textual contradictions that can't be resolved by any known principles of analysis or interpretation by stating at the outset that there are no contradictions is anti-hermeneutical.

Hope this helps.

Lonnie

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Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Badger
Date: 12/8/99

"You want your understanding to be consistent with what is written, and ideally, you want it to reflect the writer's intent. But the writer's intent is not present in the text." --Lonnie

What do you mean by "intent?"

My take on the creative process is that the more the "creator" is attuned to her/his inner power/Ki/silence/or direct connection to the Everything (Tao), the more the finished work reflects and emanates this "power." This could be anything from a book, to a painting, or even a building (i.e. anything that undergoes the creative process).

I recommend "The Secrets of Aikido" by John Stevens. I talks about this.

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Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/8/99

"You want your understanding to be consistent with what is written, and ideally, you want it to reflect the writer's intent. But the writer's intent is not present in the text." --Lonnie

Badger:

What do you mean by "intent?"

What the writer meant to say. What the writer had in mind as well as the way he/she intended for the reader to understand what was written.

Badger:

"My take on the creative process is that the more the "creator" is attuned to her/his inner power/Ki/silence/or direct connection to the Everything (Tao), the more the finished work reflects and emanates this "power." This could be anything from a book, to a painting, or even a building (i.e. anything that undergoes the creative process)."

Terms like Ki and the Tao are, for me, descriptive but not explanatory. For example, I understand the term Ki in the context of Aikido techniques. I know the feel of ki. You can feel when you're "filled with ki" and you can observe when someone else's technique "radiates power."

From there to asserting that ki is some etheric or other kind of energy is a bigger leap than most of us want to believe, because...

a) there is no evidence outside of the context of specific practices for this ki (or chi or prana or shakti)

b) there are other possible approaches to take in understanding this type of phenomenon that don't involve invoking new entities, forces, etc.

I also like to do yoga. I notice the effects. I'm aware of the traditional explanations. I'm less eager than I once was to accept the traditional explanations at face value or to formulate overarching metaphysical songs and dances of my own.

There may some unifying energy, some wholistic synchronicity that connects the quality of one's effort with the quality of one's product or expression and its effect on others. But the elusive nature of this hypothetical, er, inner activity makes me skeptical of people who invoke it too quickly. John Stevens falls into this category for me.

I may have a sense of this inner activity that has meaning for me, but I wouldn't want to try to infer too much too quickly from it.

Regards,

Lonnie

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Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Badger
Date: 12/9/99

"What do you mean by 'intent?'" --Badger

"What the writer meant to say. What the writer had in mind as well as the way he/she intended for the reader to understand what was written." --Lonnie

But you had stated:

" But the writer's intent is not present in the text." --Lonnie

That doesn't make any sense to me! Can you please clarify?

I reads as if you're saying that what a writer means to communicate is not in his writing!

"Terms like Ki and the Tao are, for me, descriptive but not explanatory." --Lonnie

Well, not everything can be explained to out satisfaction, even "scientific" concepts like electromagnetism or gravity. We have a descriptions of both these phenomena based on the current physical paradigm, but it doesn't explain anything.

Some things are meant more to be experienced than to be talked about.

"From there to asserting that ki is some etheric or other kind of energy is a bigger leap than most of us want to believe." --Lonnie

Who's making that asserion? Besides, just like electomagnetism and gravity can be "understood" only thru their effects on our physicality, so can ki.

"There is no evidence outside of the context of specific practices for this ki." --Lonnie

Really? Then you and I are talking about two different things.

"There are other possible approaches to take in understanding this type of phenomenon that don't involve invoking new entities, forces, etc." --Lonnie

Please enlighten me. What approaches are these?

"But the elusive nature of this hypothetical, er, inner activity makes me skeptical of people who invoke it too quickly. John Stevens falls into this category for me." --Lonnie

Hypothetical? You aren't serious, are you?

What is "too quickly?" You think that Ueshiba Sensei "invoked" it too quickly?

I only mentioned John Stevens because he mentions how ki can be transfered to objects and was trying to make a connection to your use of the word "intent." But I misinterpreted your meaning , so it doesn't apply. Plus, since you mentioned your involvement in Aikido... BTW, how far along are you in your practice? A better book on ki might be "Book of Ki" or "Ki in Everyday Life" by Koichi Tohei.

"But I wouldn't want to try to infer too much too quickly from it." --Lonnie

What is "too much too quickly?

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Re: quantum mechanics (sort of)
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/9/99

From: Badger Date: 12/9/99 "What do you mean by 'intent?'" --Badger

"What the writer meant to say. What the writer had in mind as well as the way he/she intended for the reader to understand what was written." --Lonnie

But you had stated:

" But the writer's intent is not present in the text." --Lonnie

That doesn't make any sense to me! Can you please clarify?

Lonnie:

Happy to comply. The writer does his/her best to convey an idea and a context within which to understand it. If that intent necessarily existed in the completed text we wouldn't be having this discussion. Nevertheless, the writer had something specific in mind. What the writer had in mind is not available to me. What is available to me are the words and whatever understandings we have in common. An Eskimo who speaks no English would look at the text I'm writing and see squiggly lines. If the writer's intent were immanent in the text the Eskimo would perceive it. But he doesn't because he doesn't speak or read the language. If he speaks the language and can read, then our friend the Eskimo can say what was said. But to understand the context, the nuances, the connotations might be difficult for him if he grew up hunting seals rather than shopping at Sears.

Writing, the writer projects an intended audience. Reading the reader projects a hypothetical writer or voice.

If you think I'm equivocating on the meaning of the term INTENT, you are correct. I'm doing that on purpose, becuase that's what Carlos did. I'm trying to beat the holy shit out of that word so that we don't automatically react as though we know what it means--so that we ask the very questions you are asking me.

Badger:

I reads as if you're saying that what a writer means to communicate is not in his writing!

Lonnie:

The writing is a code. Let's take a simple example. A message sent in Morse Code has no intrinsic meaning. If you don't know the code, it's just a bunch of annoying beeps. If you are the operator on another ship and my ship just hit an ice berg and I want to know (I intend for you to understand) that my ship is sinking so that you will come and, hopefully, do something to help the passengers, I send the appropriate code. One that we both understand because of prior agreements.

Natural language is a much richer (and therefore necessarily much more complex and ambiguous) code than Morse Code. Words are arbitrary (albeit historically evolving) signs. They signify because and to the extent that we agree on what the mean.

I said:

"Terms like Ki and the Tao are, for me, descriptive but not explanatory." --Lonnie

Badger:

Well, not everything can be explained to out satisfaction, even "scientific" concepts like electromagnetism or gravity. We have a descriptions of both these phenomena based on the current physical paradigm, but it doesn't explain anything.

Lonnie:

Yes and no. It depends on what you want out of an explanation (what you mean by explanation). That's a long conversation, so for now I'll simply agree that idea electromagnetism is an abstraction designed to postulate a substantial cause for certain types of observed phenomena. It's accepted scientific practice to accept as actually existing the entities of well founded and highly corroborated theories. But that does not guarantee, in my opinion, that these entities ultimately exist.

But that admission of mine places the ontological status of Ki on even shakier ground than electromagnetism, since it isn't nearly as well corroborated.

Badger.

Some things are meant more to be experienced than to be talked about.

"From there to asserting that ki is some etheric or other kind of energy is a bigger leap than most of us want to believe." --Lonnie

Who's making that asserion? Besides, just like electomagnetism and gravity can be "understood" only thru their effects on our physicality, so can ki.

Lonnie:

Well, then, what are you saying. What I'm saying is that I understand Ki within a certain context. I have no reason to make inferences outside that context until I experience something that pushes me in that direction. So I know the feeling of ki. I can experience the results in techniques. Now if I start experiencing my attackers thoughts or someday manage to throw someone without either touching him or making him think he's about to lose an eye, then I'll start thinking seriously about ki as a new form of energy.

I said:

"There is no evidence outside of the context of specific practices for this ki." --Lonnie

Badger:

Really? Then you and I are talking about two different things.

Lonnie:

Maybe so.

I said:

"There are other possible approaches to take in understanding this type of phenomenon that don't involve invoking new entities, forces, etc." --Lonnie

Badger:

Please enlighten me. What approaches are these?

Lonnie:

Don't be testy. Maybe we'll come to some understanding, here. But for now, I gotta go. Let's return to this later.

Regards,

Lonnie

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Not really quantum mechanics
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/8/99

Hi Lonnie,

in the beginning of our conversation we quickly discussed the possibility that the world was less defined long time ago. Some people (Vimalananda, see Svoboda) give voice to the idea that Sanskrit originally was composed entirely of mantras. Mantras, in this context, is wavelengths. Each mantra would produce a specific result which we, I guess, could comprehend as a specific string or band of energy. As I see the line of reasoning, the effect of mantras was watered down by a shifting focus of the spirituality of man and the vulgarization of language.

This gives some sense to me because of the observation of how vastly different effect the same word can produce, when expressed with different meaning (e.i. understanding), intensity and in different circumstances. Sometimes it is possible to hit the very right feeling and a word will get a new "truer" meaning. When that happens, I´ve noticed, other people also experience that new truth about the concept the word would cover.

I realize that hermeneutics senso stricto is the interpretation of written (holy) texts but wonder whether it doesn´t boil down to the same matter; that words are words and they really are a sound phenomena that triggers something in humans. Many holy texts are usually chanted which certainly indicate that the sound produce something besides the intellectual understanding.

What you say about the aikido play as an attitude that will hinder victimization, I follow but consider it slightly off topic. Firstly, to become a victim is an altogether different affair than being a participant in a fight. But more importantly, the moment you regard someones words, or whatever, as a weapon, you´re already done IMO. The very moment you acknowledge "evil" intention, you are in the mess. What I am heading at is to depowerize that part of myself that can be manipulated. And if words really are vehicles of "intent" then what is required is simply to have enough power to hear the words for what the really are, waves. Or what do you think ?

I am getting simple-minded here because we all know that it isn´t when you are energetic and balanced that shit happens. It´s always in moments of temporary absence of mind or low-level energy. So what to do, because energy fluctuates, right ?

>>>"But I should also emphasize that the underlying drive in science and storytelling is stimulation." <<< >>>Not sure I agree with you on this one<<<

When you come up with some more thoughts on this, please write. For my part, the very reason I get out of bed in the morning is stimulation. I can´t come up with any better explanation of why I keep being alive than stimulation and the subsequent maturation .

It´s been a pleasure communicating Stender

PS Lonnie, you seem to be the man to give a review of modern physics understanding of reality.

Svoboda, R.: 1) Aghora, at the left hand of God. 2) Aghora, Kundalini. Brotherhood of Life Inc. 1993.

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Re: Not really quantum mechanics
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/8/99

Hi J.

"Comments Hi Lonnie,

in the beginning of our conversation we quickly discussed the possibility that the world was less defined long time ago. Some people (Vimalananda, see Svoboda) give voice to the idea that Sanskrit originally was composed entirely of mantras. Mantras, in this context, is wavelengths. Each mantra would produce a specific result which we, I guess, could comprehend as a specific string or band of energy. As I see the line of reasoning, the effect of mantras was watered down by a shifting focus of the spirituality of man and the vulgarization of language."

I don't know the composition of Sanskrit originally, but this description, which I have heard before, would seem to privilege Sanskrit above other languages, particularly the modern ones, whose evolution we can trace. I think there is a parallel notion regarding ancient Hebrew in the Kabala (about which I know little or nothing). I think Dan Lawton may have more information in this area.

The point is that this account of Sanskrit's origin runs counter to what is known about the way languages evolve and change. I bring this up not to assert that Vimalananda is "wrong" about this, but merely to keep track of relevant reference points. I think the effect of a mantra goes beyond certain frequencies and timbres affecting different parts of the body in different ways. It also encompasses the practitioner's "intent", degree of absorption, perception of the mantra as part of a sacrement, etc. A sacrement is the experience of the symbol of the divine as the divine itself. Thus absorption in mantra practice allows the practitioner to experience a sense of unity with whatever deity or aspect of consciousness the mantra is associated with. In other words, the experience is subjective, though no less meaningful and potentially life changing for that.

J:

"This gives some sense to me because of the observation of how vastly different effect the same word can produce, when expressed with different meaning (e.i. understanding), intensity and in different circumstances. Sometimes it is possible to hit the very right feeling and a word will get a new "truer" meaning. When that happens, I´ve noticed, other people also experience that new truth about the concept the word would cover.

I realize that hermeneutics senso stricto is the interpretation of written (holy) texts but wonder whether it doesn´t boil down to the same matter; that words are words and they really are a sound phenomena that triggers something in humans. Many holy texts are usually chanted which certainly indicate that the sound produce something besides the intellectual understanding."

Lonnie:

Yes sound does produce something more than intellectual understanding. But I think that there is no necessary correlation between a particular sound and a particular meaning. Differing sound qualities produce different sensations and tend to be associated with different emotions. Those qualities can combine with words to produce complex and subtle nuances of meaning. The experience can be quite absorbing, quite compelling. Overwhelming, even. But what you still have is an experience that arises as the result of complex causes and conditions rather than single unifying presence which you might want to call (for want of a better term) intent.

This, in my opinion, is a fundamental inconsistency in Castaneda's ideas. On the one hand you have the spirit, intent, a substantial if elusive presence. On the other you have the world as interpretation, applied hermeneutics, the application of a method that operates precisely in the void left by the absence of such a unitary presence.

J:

"What you say about the aikido play as an attitude that will hinder victimization, I follow but consider it slightly off topic. Firstly, to become a victim is an altogether different affair than being a participant in a fight. But more importantly, the moment you regard someones words, or whatever, as a weapon, you´re already done IMO. The very moment you acknowledge "evil" intention, you are in the mess. What I am heading at is to depowerize that part of myself that can be manipulated. And if words really are vehicles of "intent" then what is required is simply to have enough power to hear the words for what the really are, waves. Or what do you think ?"

Lonnie:

You're right; it is probably off topic. My point, I guess, was twofold. Actively interpreting a situation to your advantage can help you to sidestep someone else's controlling or manipulative gesture. Some kind of training in doing that helps can help you to do that even when your energy is low.

"It´s been a pleasure communicating Stender"

Likewise.

PS Lonnie, you seem to be the man to give a review of modern physics understanding of reality.

Thanks, but I don't think that there is a single understanding of reality that all physicists share. You might check out "Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert and "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", by David Bohm. For a more materialistic interpretation than Bohm's, try "The Jaguar and the Quark" by Murray Gell-Mann.

Lonnie


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