Sustained Reaction


Sustained Reaction Archive - Page 11

Archive Message Index

Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: Satan Date: 12/2/99
Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: Lonnie Date: 12/3/99
Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: Badger Date: 12/3/99
Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: soap Date: 12/3/99
Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: Lonnie Date: 12/7/99
Perceiving the invisible From: Badger Date: 12/7/99
Re: Perceiving the invisible From: Lonnie Date: 12/7/99
Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium From: soap (Peter) Date: 12/9/99
Castaneda's Home From: Date: 12/2/99
I ONCE WAS LOST,AND I STILL AM From: daniel,who gives thanks to all at and on SA Date: 12/3/99
Carlos' advice on colds From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/3/99
DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY From: DANIEL ,not lawton,sorry for any conf. Date: 12/3/99
Re: DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY From: DANIEL LAWTON Date: 12/3/99
Re: DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY From: Andra Date: 12/3/99
RE;DANIEL L. From: daniel Date: 12/3/99
Reply to Daniel From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/3/99
Re: RE;DANIEL L. From: Nyai Tuppi Date: 12/4/99
At a loss From: J. Stender Date: 12/3/99
Re: At a loss From: Theophilos Date: 12/3/99
Re: At a loss From: J. Stender Date: 12/3/99
Re: At a loss From: Theophilos Date: 12/4/99
Re: At a loss From: J. Stender Date: 12/4/99
Re:AT A LOSS From: J. Stender Date: 12/3/99
the danger From: Myrddin Date: 12/3/99
Re: the danger From: Lonnie Date: 12/3/99
Questions From: Martin Date: 12/3/99
Re: Questions From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/4/
Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever From: Lonnie Date: 12/4/99
Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever From: moi Date: 12/4/99
Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/4/99
Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever From: thelma Date: 12/5/99
Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever From: diana Date: 12/5/99
Missing Info from Honest Firsthands From: J. Stender Date: 12/5/99
Re: Missing Info from Honest Firsthands From: Daniel Lawton Date: 12/6/99
reply to Diana From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/6/99
...witness... From: greggabi@aol.com Date: 12/7/99
Re: reply to Diana From: diana Date: 12/6/99
(Excuse me)reply to Diana From: J. Stender Date: 12/7/99
Re: (Excuse me)reply to Diana From: diana Date: 12/7/99
Re: (Excuse me)reply to Diana From: Theophilos Date: 12/8/99
Re: reply to Diana From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/7/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Corey Date: 12/8/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Point Date: 12/8/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Corey Donovan Date: 12/9/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Point Date: 12/9/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Lonnie Date: 12/10/99
Re: reply to Diana - a further note From: Lonnie Date: 12/11/99

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Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: Satan
Date: 12/2/99

It's approximately half-time in this little drama, and occasion for a little pep talk! In the past year SA has laid the groundwork so to speak, and in the coming year it will be time to go on in for "the kill". But for now, the concern is one of minor adjustment. As amusing as it has been to watch each "defender o' the magic" trot on-stage, pick up the little thorny crown of the "TB", place it on their own head, and, as the little rivulets of blood trickle down, proceed to hold forth on the sore indignities of such a label --- well, it has come to my attention that the appellation is in need of an update.

Why would that be, one might wonder, given the "success" mentioned above? But it's really quite simple. TB stood for "true believer", referring to anyone who believed that the stories in the books of Rosanne Rosannadanna are completely true, as written. And to come right to the point, I submit that now, owing to the efforts of the SA list in uncovering the factual untruth of many of those stories, there simply *are no* TB's remaining to speak of. Not really. For what remains, I submit, is a rather ragtag band of hopeful people entrenched in any number of "defenders o' the magic" positions which I intend to sum up using the terribly dignifed and technical label: "Sort of Believers", or SoB's for short.

The SoB's, in general, have been driven to the brink of the final refuge of "hey, it's not impossible!". :-) SoB's of today are also often to be found making nebulous analogies related to high-energy physics, that most popular latter day refuge for those desperately seeking support for one crackbrained metaphysical theory or another, ever implying that any and all ideas which might conceivably show some "magical" aspect to this world somehow validate or vindicate the wild claims and stories of their departed guru, Rosanne Rosannadanna. The more deluded among them can be found telling "SoB stories" portraying attackers Rosannadanna's lies as attackers not only of "magic" but of native culture as well (like ... how whacky is that? :-) ). But in truth, virtually NONE of the examples and arguments used by todays SoB's have ANYTHING directly to do with the teachings of Rosannadanna. The "Sort of Believers" of today, through no fault of their own other than an apparent grotesque inability to absorb simple facts, are really a rather sorry breed compared to the glorious "True Believers" of yesteryear, who, having an admittedly easy task in the absence of any hardcore proof of the falsehood of the works of Rosannadanna, were able to hold their own indefinitely in a wide variety of "profound" metaphysical arguments. Ah, those were the days! :-) And so, the intent of this new designation of "SoB" is a kindly attempt to lessen the unfair pressure faced by todays would-be "Sort of Believer" in having to defend Rosannadanna's inannananities. Now I DO hope this gesture is appreciated!

Unfortunately, such kindly gestures are the good news, and now it is now time to hear the bad. For in the coming year there will be no more Mr. Nice Guy. Indications, repeated indications, are that "warriors" wish to be dealt with as "warriors", and in the coming year as they have requested ... so it shall be. "Warriors", you see, have made "evils" of such things as: love, friendship, socialization, mercy, morality, justice, etc., and so would it not seem the very essence of fairness if those who deal with "warriors" now choose to ensure that NOTHING in their dealings with such people will have anything to do with these qualities?? That is, with respect to one's treatment of a "warrior", would it not be more than fitting to make sure such treatment had nothing to do with love, nothing to do with friendship? Would it not be more than fitting to make sure that such treatment has nothing to do with the norms of socialization, with any concept of "mercy" or "morality" or "justice"? Well, to me that seems quite fitting indeed, especially given the insistent nature of the "request", and so let's close with a little verse by Sting perhaps giving us a preview of things to come:

"Once that you've decided on a killing First you make a stone of your heart And if you find that your hands are still willing Then you can turn a murder into art..."

So enjoy the coming year you sorry SoB's! HAHAHAHA!

Sincerely yours,

Satan

P.S. --- In my new novel, soon to be released, working title The Art of Murder, look for a heroic character, a skeptic, who travels the country attending the funerals of "goddesses", "gods", "messiahs", "channels", "gurus" "sorceresses", "masters", "immortals" and their ilk, always making a distinct point of placing beautiful bouquets of flowers on their graves. But don't hold your breath waiting for my posts --- my writing is too sexy for this web board. Ta-ta!

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Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/3/99

Soap writes:

Assuming (again) that it is agreed that science is limited in the way it views reality - future discoveries are bound to show phenomena currently unable to be grouped within the scientific circle of 'appropriate' areas of interest

I respond: What you say is true. In fact, it's so true that it is regarded by all the scientists I am acquainted with as a truism--so obvious it generally doesn't need to be said.

Another point. You say that science is limited in the way it views reality. You are correct. What you (and many others) overlook is that any "view" limits "reality" in that to view something is to select a partial set of details to foreground and thereby place everything else in the background. Zero limitation is maximum entropy. Going to extremes is not healthy; life exists in the margins. On one side is rigid, cold, crystalline death, on the other wild, hot, chaotic death.

Soap: - delving into the metaphysical (literally 'beyond [scientifically known to be] physical) cannot be discounted as invalid.

Actually, physics is the study of physical phenomena. Metaphysics is the study of the practice and methodology of physics, literally. It has traditionally been used in a more flexible sense meaning inquiry into the necessary categories that combine to constitute any possible world. So, for example, Aristotle thought that any possible world comprises entities and attributes.

More recently, Metaphysics has been used to refer to the interests (paranormal phenomena, techniques for expanding awareness, etc.) of that epistemological counter-culture known as the "new age" movement.

It seems to me, on reflection, that many of us who have been involved in the epistemological counter culture have been very willing to accept "explanations" that suit our desires without seeking any further understanding of our experiences.

I notice that many people who aren't in the least concerned with alternate realities, etc. tend to do the same.

I conclude that we're all pretty much in the same boat and that we need openness and imagination, but we also need critical skills and a modicum of skepticism. That is, if we're really interested in expanding awareness.

Lonnie

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Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: Badger
Date: 12/3/99

"Metaphysics is the study of the practice and methodology of physics, literally. It has traditionally been used in a more flexible sense meaning inquiry into the necessary categories that combine to constitute any possible world. So, for example, Aristotle thought that any possible world comprises entities and attributes." -- Lonnie

Metaphysics, branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of ultimate reality. Metaphysics is customarily divided into ontology, which deals with the question of how many fundamentally distinct sorts of entities compose the universe, and metaphysics proper, which is concerned with describing the most general traits of reality. These general traits together define reality and would presumably characterize any universe whatever. Because these traits are not peculiar to this universe, but are common to all possible universes, metaphysics may be conducted at the highest level of abstraction. Ontology, by contrast, because it investigates the ultimate divisions within this universe, is more closely related to the physical world of human experience. The term metaphysics is believed to have originated in Rome about 70 BC, with the Greek Peripatetic philosopher Andronicus of Rhodes (flourished 1st century BC) in his edition of the works of Aristotle. In the arrangement of Aristotle's works by Andronicus, the treatise originally called First Philosophy, or Theology, followed the treatise Physics. Hence, the First Philosophy came to be known as meta (ta) physica, or "following (the) Physics," later shortened to Metaphysics. The word took on the connotation, in popular usage, of matters transcending material reality. In the philosophic sense, however, particularly as opposed to the use of the word by occultists, metaphysics applies to all reality and is distinguished from other forms of inquiry by its generality. The subjects treated in Aristotle's Metaphysics (substance, causality, the nature of being, and the existence of God) fixed the content of metaphysical speculation for centuries. Among the medieval Scholastic philosophers, metaphysics was known as the "transphysical science" on the assumption that, by means of it, the scholar philosophically could make the transition from the physical world to a world beyond sense perception. The 13th-century Scholastic philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas declared that the cognition of God, through a causal study of finite sensible beings, was the aim of metaphysics. With the rise of scientific study in the 16th century the reconciliation of science and faith in God became an increasingly important problem. Metaphysics Before Kant Before the time of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant metaphysics was characterized by a tendency to construct theories on the basis of a priori knowledge, that is, knowledge derived from reason alone, in contradistinction to a posteriori knowledge, which is gained by reference to the facts of experience. From a priori knowledge were deduced general propositions that were held to be true of all things. The method of inquiry based on a priori principles is known as rationalistic. This method may be subdivided into monism, which holds that the universe is made up of a single fundamental substance; dualism, the belief in two such substances; and pluralism, which proposes the existence of many fundamental substances. The monists, agreeing that only one basic substance exists, differ in their descriptions of its principal characteristics. Thus, in idealistic monism the substance is believed to be purely mental; in materialistic monism it is held to be purely physical, and in neutral monism it is considered neither exclusively mental nor solely physical. The idealistic position was held by the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, the materialistic by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, and the neutral by the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The latter expounded a pantheistic view of reality in which the universe is identical with God and everything contains God's substance. The most famous exponent of dualism was the French philosopher Ren?Descartes, who maintained that body and mind are radically different entities and that they are the only fundamental substances in the universe. Dualism, however, does not show how these basic entities are connected. In the work of the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the universe is held to consist of an infinite number of distinct substances, or monads. This view is pluralistic in the sense that it proposes the existence of many separate entities, and it is monistic in its assertion that each monad reflects within itself the entire universe. Other philosophers have held that knowledge of reality is not derived from a priori principles, but is obtained only from experience. This type of metaphysics is called empiricism. Still another school of philosophy has maintained that, although an ultimate reality does exist, it is altogether inaccessible to human knowledge, which is necessarily subjective because it is confined to states of mind. Knowledge is therefore not a representation of external reality, but merely a reflection of human perceptions. This view is known as skepticism or agnosticism in respect to the soul and the reality of God. The Metaphysics of Kant Several major viewpoints were combined in the work of Kant, who developed a distinctive critical philosophy called transcendentalism. His philosophy is agnostic in that it denies the possibility of a strict knowledge of ultimate reality; it is empirical in that it affirms that all knowledge arises from experience and is true of objects of actual and possible experience; and it is rationalistic in that it maintains the a priori character of the structural principles of this empirical knowledge. These principles are held to be necessary and universal in their application to experience, for in Kant's view the mind furnishes the archetypal forms and categories (space, time, causality, substance, and relation) to its sensations, and these categories are logically anterior to experience, although manifested only in experience. Their logical anteriority to experience makes these categories or structural principles transcendental; they transcend all experience, both actual and possible. Although these principles determine all experience, they do not in any way affect the nature of things in themselves. The knowledge of which these principles are the necessary conditions must not be considered, therefore, as constituting a revelation of things as they are in themselves. This knowledge concerns things only insofar as they appear to human perception or as they can be apprehended by the senses. The argument by which Kant sought to fix the limits of human knowledge within the framework of experience and to demonstrate the inability of the human mind to penetrate beyond experience strictly by knowledge to the realm of ultimate reality constitutes the critical feature of his philosophy, giving the key word to the titles of his three leading treatises, Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, and Critique of Judgment. In the system propounded in these works, Kant sought also to reconcile science and religion in a world of two levels, comprising noumena, objects conceived by reason although not perceived by the senses, and phenomena, things as they appear to the senses and are accessible to material study. He maintained that, because God, freedom, and human immortality are noumenal realities, these concepts are understood through moral faith rather than through scientific knowledge. With the continuous development of science, the expansion of metaphysics to include scientific knowledge and methods became one of the major objectives of metaphysicians. Metaphysics Since Kant Some of Kant's most distinguished followers, notably Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Schelling, G. W. F. Hegel, and Friedrich Schleiermacher, negated Kant's criticism in their elaborations of his transcendental metaphysics by denying the Kantian conception of the thing-in-itself. They thus developed an absolute idealism in opposition to Kant's critical transcendentalism. Since the formation of the hypothesis of absolute idealism, the development of metaphysics has resulted in as many types of metaphysical theory as existed in pre-Kantian philosophy, despite Kant's contention that he had fixed definitely the limits of philosophical speculation. Notable among these later metaphysical theories are radical empiricism, or pragmatism, a native American form of metaphysics expounded by Charles Sanders Peirce, developed by William James, and adapted as instrumentalism by John Dewey; voluntarism, the foremost exponents of which are the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and the American philosopher Josiah Royce; phenomenalism, as it is exemplified in the writings of the French philosopher Auguste Comte and the British philosopher Herbert Spencer; emergent evolution, or creative evolution, originated by the French philosopher Henri Bergson; and the philosophy of the organism, elaborated by the British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. The salient doctrines of pragmatism are that the chief function of thought is to guide action, that the meaning of concepts is to be sought in their practical applications, and that truth should be tested by the practical effects of belief; according to instrumentalism, ideas are instruments of action, and their truth is determined by their role in human experience. In the theory of voluntarism the will is postulated as the supreme manifestation of reality. The exponents of phenomenalism, who are sometimes called positivists, contend that everything can be analyzed in terms of actual or possible occurrences, or phenomena, and that anything that cannot be analyzed in this manner cannot be understood. In emergent or creative evolution, the evolutionary process is characterized as spontaneous and unpredictable rather than mechanistically determined. The philosophy of the organism combines an evolutionary stress on constant process with a metaphysical theory of God, the eternal objects, and creativity. Contemporary Developments In the 20th century the validity of metaphysical thinking has been disputed by the logical positivists and by the so-called dialectical materialism of the Marxists. The basic principle maintained by the logical positivists is the verifiability theory of meaning. According to this theory a sentence has factual meaning only if it meets the test of observation. Logical positivists argue that metaphysical expressions such as "Nothing exists except material particles" and "Everything is part of one all-encompassing spirit" cannot be tested empirically. Therefore, according to the verifiability theory of meaning, these expressions have no factual cognitive meaning, although they can have an emotive meaning relevant to human hopes and feelings. The dialectical materialists assert that the mind is conditioned by and reflects material reality. Therefore, speculations that conceive of constructs of the mind as having any other than material reality are themselves unreal and can result only in delusion. To these assertions metaphysicians reply by denying the adequacy of the verifiability theory of meaning and of material perception as the standard of reality. Both logical positivism and dialectical materialism, they argue, conceal metaphysical assumptions, for example, that everything is observable or at least connected with something observable and that the mind has no distinctive life of its own. In the philosophical movement known as existentialism, thinkers have contended that the questions of the nature of being and of the individual's relationship to it are extremely important and meaningful in terms of human life. The investigation of these questions is therefore considered valid whether or not its results can be verified objectively. Since the 1950s the problems of systematic analytical metaphysics have been studied in Great Britain by Stuart Newton Hampshire and Peter Frederick Strawson, the former concerned, in the manner of Spinoza, with the relationship between thought and action, and the latter, in the manner of Kant, with describing the major categories of experience as they are embedded in language. In the U.S. metaphysics has been pursued much in the spirit of positivism by Wilfred Stalker Sellars and Willard Van Orman Quine. Sellars has sought to express metaphysical questions in linguistic terms, and Quine has attempted to determine whether the structure of language commits the philosopher to asserting the existence of any entities whatever and, if so, what kind. In these new formulations the issues of metaphysics and ontology remain vital.

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Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: soap
Date: 12/3/99

Lonnie, Thanks for your comments and clarification. As you've quite rightly pointed out I'm not an expert in any of these issues and I'm not a scientist (shock, horror!). In fact I think that science definitely has a role to play whether it considered good or bad or irrelevant.

You write: <<<<What you (and many others) overlook is that any "view" limits "reality" in that to view something is to select a partial set of details to foreground and thereby place everything else in the background. Zero limitation is maximum entropy. Going to extremes is not healthy; life exists in the margins.>>>

Can you please explain what you mean here? Aren't the 'margins' the boundaries (or extremes)? I suppose if you take the CHAOS theory into this it would reveal that this is a hazy topic in itself. I mean, we could be operating in or around a boundary and not realising it. I think that it may also depend on the angle (or scope) that you are taking. Granted, my understanding could be broad not deep but could you please explain why you consider this entropic approach unhealthy?

To answer my own question it probably lies with controlling a natural tendency to not look raionally or logically at a series of perceived events.

My dilemma is this. I seem to have a strong and unexplained affinity to zen. I'm trying to figure out whether this is due to:

1. My need to postpone the inevitable - living in the world as a normal unquestioning sheep with a house, car job, and 'success'.

2. the need to have an excuse for not being particularly motivated or ambitious (in a system/material sense)

3. the fact that so far this approach has given me the most clarity and the least stress

4. all of the above

The problem is that I also seem to have 'latent' ambitions, tendencies to try to impress (although I'm catching myself sooner and sooner), parental expectations/guilts, and a clear 'unzen-ish' talent for procrastination (I put this down to universal timing/fate). So, in other words, a blithering mish-mash of excuses for not being especially happy with the worldly state-of-affairs.

I wonder if (as per an earlier post) this energy could be put to better use like putting the ideas from people contributing on this site into an organic (as opposed to organised) think/feel/dream tank that is more 'broad' in scope where other methods of perception are discussed in more equal proportions. Perhaps this isn't the site for me (although I have very much enjoyed reading many insightful posts) but some one may be able to recommend another site more suitable.

soap

PS Before finishing this post I went back and read other posts I hadn't read in order to work out whether I should or shouldn't post this one. Sad isn't it? Daniel (not Lawton) has also moved me with his posts and I'm glad that there are people who are able to influence others with apparent ease (especially when their barriers are temporarily down). I also would like to reflect on the circular nature of the chronology of this discussions site. I think that there will definitely be detractors who label daniel as an idealistic, wishy washy, mushy, cry baby who should stop feeling sorry for himself. Oh well, life's grand...

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Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/7/99

From: soap

Comments Lonnie, Thanks for your comments and clarification. As you've quite rightly pointed out I'm not an expert in any of these issues and I'm not a scientist (shock, horror!). In fact I think that science definitely has a role to play whether it considered good or bad or irrelevant.

You write: <<<<What you (and many others) overlook is that any "view" limits "reality" in that to view something is to select a partial set of details to foreground and thereby place everything else in the background. Zero limitation is maximum entropy. Going to extremes is not healthy; life exists in the margins.>>>

Can you please explain what you mean here? Aren't the 'margins' the boundaries (or extremes)? I suppose if you take the CHAOS theory into this it would reveal that this is a hazy topic in itself. I mean, we could be operating in or around a boundary and not realising it. I think that it may also depend on the angle (or scope) that you are taking. Granted, my understanding could be broad not deep but could you please explain why you consider this entropic approach unhealthy?

Hi er, ah, soap,

You're right I was tossing too many references into too small a container. In general, I'm thinking of a margin as the fuzzy area in the boundary between two different let's call them regimes. So the current margin that's all the rage is the margin of complexity, which resides somewhere between order and chaos. Then there's the margin separating quantum and classical systems. In a sense you could say that the "place" where those two margins intersect is the place where life thrives.

Looking at the biosphere, I notice that there are very few monotone values. That is if something is good, more is not necessarily better. Too little oxygen to the brain and cells begin to die from oxygen deprivation. Too much oxygen to the brain, and cells begin to be killed by the action of an overabundance of free radicals.

"Energy as it flows" to borrow a well-known phrase quickly degrades into noise. To retreive the information that is carried by the dancing wavefronts, you need to filter out what is irrelevant. To do that, you have to have some map or model of what the information you are seeking is like. What range of wavelengths are you interested in, what type of distinctions are important and what type of distinctions are irrelevant. To see anything is to take a partial sampling of information from a vast array of possible samplings. So any view at all is going to be "partial" in that sense. All these functions the brain and nervous system perform.

Not to take such a sampling is not to perceive. Not to perceive for a sufficient length of time is to die. Therefore, the organism will not cease to perceive. If cut off from all sensory input the brain begins to fabricate perceptions. That is the basis of my previous, off-the-cuff remarks.

Castaneda claimed that those different samplings (to use my terms) lead to different worlds--not in the weak (but nonetheless real) sense in which an aborigene in dream time and a modern European live in different worlds (but would nonetheless perceive one another were they to meet), but in the strong sense implying completely different physical (or energetic if you prefer) universes.

To address that claim, I think it helps to ask what kind of information the dancing wavefronts of light and sound convey. They convey two kinds of information. The first kind is the image of the source. Light rains from the sky, seemingly in a sheet, but if you walk beneath a leafy canopy you may notice hundreds of little circles of light--little images of the sun. The blooming, buzzing, dancing wavefronts also carry impressions of other wavefronts that they have crossed, interefered with, and been modulated by. Thus energy contains information about its journey and about its source.

The space of that journey, the sources and modulators of the energy, the things it has bounced off of, etc., that's the information our brains and nervous systems use to construct a world. Energy from another universe doesn't enter this one except under very exotic (and as yet mostly theoretical) circumstances.

Soap:

To answer my own question it probably lies with controlling a natural tendency to not look raionally or logically at a series of perceived events.

My dilemma is this. I seem to have a strong and unexplained affinity to zen. I'm trying to figure out whether this is due to:

1. My need to postpone the inevitable - living in the world as a normal unquestioning sheep with a house, car job, and 'success'.

2. the need to have an excuse for not being particularly motivated or ambitious (in a system/material sense)

3. the fact that so far this approach has given me the most clarity and the least stress

4. all of the above

The problem is that I also seem to have 'latent' ambitions, tendencies to try to impress (although I'm catching myself sooner and sooner), parental expectations/guilts, and a clear 'unzen-ish' talent for procrastination (I put this down to universal timing/fate). So, in other words, a blithering mish-mash of excuses for not being especially happy with the worldly state-of-affairs.

I wonder if (as per an earlier post) this energy could be put to better use like putting the ideas from people contributing on this site into an organic (as opposed to organised) think/feel/dream tank that is more 'broad' in scope where other methods of perception are discussed in more equal proportions. Perhaps this isn't the site for me (although I have very much enjoyed reading many insightful posts) but some one may be able to recommend another site more suitable.

I respond:

Gee, I don't know what to tell you. If you have an affinity for zen why not go with it? If you're not particularly ambitious, so what? It's your life. Why not explore the possibilities of perception in whatever way you think may be valuable?

Lonnie

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Perceiving the invisible
From: Badger
Date: 12/7/99

"To address that claim, I think it helps to ask what kind of information the dancing wavefronts of light and sound convey. They convey two kinds of information." --Lonnie

How can you be sure there are only two?

If I ask you and an Eskimo how much information can be gathered from perceiving snow, would you both arrive at the same conclusion?

"Energy from another universe doesn't enter this one except under very exotic (and as yet mostly theoretical) circumstances." --Lonnie

Again, how do you know? Are you basing this on current research in physics?

You mentioned the "dancing wavefronts of light and sound," but what about the other "invisible ones?"

What information is contained in the "invisible" wavefronts?" The elecrtomagnetic spectrum is pretty wide, but doesn't exhaust what is possible. What if there are other types of energy radiation as yet undiscovered by our current measuring instruments?

Other "worlds" or Universes could be all around us, but unpercievable with our current perceptual capacities (not that we can't learn to access other modes).

Perhaps these other Universes are different "dimensions" of this one and only one. Perhaps all these dimensions are embedded/layered, twisted like a knot, so that other parts of this universe (or, if you use a holographic paradigm, all of it) if in the invisible substance around and within us. So when you "travel to other worlds," perhaps you're visiting other planets in parts of this Universe that we have't even discovered, and perhaps some of those "worlds" do contain human or other life. Who knows? But it's fun to investigate.

You defined what "magic" was for you in another post. For me it's the underlying structure/matrix/intelligence of the Universe at work. And you perceive it when you watch the colors of a beautiful sunset, discover the amazing complexity/simplicity that goes in making your pinky toe move, or when you experience an incredible sincronicity.

I feel that "scientific" inquiry can be a beautiful path (especially mathematics and physics). I don't think "science" dispells the "magic" of anything except belief. On the contrary, when you see the glimpses of that underlying universal structure being mirrored in those equations and computer models, you are perceiving magic. The magic never ends because the more you discover, the more you realize there's much, much more out there. Like Socrates, the more you think you know, the more you realize you know "no-thing."

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Re: Perceiving the invisible
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/7/99

From: Badger Date: 12/7/99

Comments "To address that claim, I think it helps to ask what kind of information the dancing wavefronts of light and sound convey. They convey two kinds of information." --Lonnie

How can you be sure there are only two?

Lonnie:

One is never absolutely sure. Suggest some others.

Badger:

If I ask you and an Eskimo how much information can be gathered from perceiving snow, would you both arrive at the same conclusion?

Lonnie:

Probably not. But all that says is that the eskimo is more attuned to the information that is there to be perceived. The eskimo is attuned to more subtle variations in color, texture, etc. That information is carried to him by reflected light (and compared to information from the other senses such as temperature, etc). It falls within the paradigm I outlined.

"Energy from another universe doesn't enter this one except under very exotic (and as yet mostly theoretical) circumstances." --Lonnie

Again, how do you know? Are you basing this on current research in physics?

Lonnie:

Yes. It's not the final word, but it's the best available evidence. Considerably better than CC's accounts, in my opinion.

Badger:

You mentioned the "dancing wavefronts of light and sound," but what about the other "invisible ones?"

Lonnie:

I was thinking in terms of the entire spectrum. What the eyes can't detect, other instruments do.

Badger:

What information is contained in the "invisible" wavefronts?" The elecrtomagnetic spectrum is pretty wide, but doesn't exhaust what is possible. What if there are other types of energy radiation as yet undiscovered by our current measuring instruments?

Lonnie:

Gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces account for the physical behavior of almost everything that is known. Obviously what isn't known isn't known, so it's difficult to say what might be.

There is also room to speculate on the possibility of other types of perception in quantum theory, based on nonlocal information transfer (something that most physicists consider impossible for fairly compelling reasons but for which a few have offered rationales that tend to support the possibility) and other types of quantum weirdness.

But once you're in that realm, you're not exactly talking about "energy as it flows" to use the Cleargreen mantra--more like patterns of possibilities.

Badger:

Other "worlds" or Universes could be all around us, but unpercievable with our current perceptual capacities (not that we can't learn to access other modes).

Perhaps these other Universes are different "dimensions" of this one and only one. Perhaps all these dimensions are embedded/layered, twisted like a knot, so that other parts of this universe (or, if you use a holographic paradigm, all of it) if in the invisible substance around and within us. So when you "travel to other worlds," perhaps you're visiting other planets in parts of this Universe that we have't even discovered, and perhaps some of those "worlds" do contain human or other life. Who knows? But it's fun to investigate.

Lonnie:

It's fun to investigate these ideas and speculate on the possibilities. What's lacking is real evidence. Of course one might argue that the nature of these alternate dimensions precludes any kind of demonstration of their "reality" just as an accurate measurement of a photon's velocity precludes any knowledge of its position. But if that's so, then it seems unlikely that we would be able to experience or travel into those realms.

But I'd be tickled pink to hear a persuasive argument to the contrary.

Badger

You defined what "magic" was for you in another post. For me it's the underlying structure/matrix/intelligence of the Universe at work. And you perceive it when you watch the colors of a beautiful sunset, discover the amazing complexity/simplicity that goes in making your pinky toe move, or when you experience an incredible sincronicity.

Lonnie:

No argument from me. I think we're in agreement. The underlying structure/matrix/intelligence of the universe, the fundamental patterns and laws are already magical.

Badger:

I feel that "scientific" inquiry can be a beautiful path (especially mathematics and physics). I don't think "science" dispells the "magic" of anything except belief. On the contrary, when you see the glimpses of that underlying universal structure being mirrored in those equations and computer models, you are perceiving magic. The magic never ends because the more you discover, the more you realize there's much, much more out there. Like Socrates, the more you think you know, the more you realize you know "no-thing."

Lonnie:

Again, no disagreement here. I just don't think that Carlos Castaneda was onto that. He may have brushed it in passing. It's fun to speculate and easy to make assertions, but the truth is that we really do know very little. Given that the world as it is is full of magic, why are so many of us looking for something more?

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Re: Redefining TB for the SoB's of a new millenium
From: soap (Peter)
Date: 12/9/99

Lonnie, Again thank you for your comments. I think I will take your advice and move on. Maybe being 'stuck' in one place too long (no matter how stimulating) is a bit unhealthy... By the way it's interesting to hear about aborigines on this site since I'm from Australia... Cheers Peter

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Castaneda's Home
From:
Date: 12/2/99

Just drove by Carlos' house the other day -- thanks for the scoop. Man, it struck me as quite comical that for all of those years of being totally taken with this guy's tune that he was just off of Santa Monica Blvd. Right off the 405 -- the Nagual! Good lord, that's some good stuff.

Hey, does anyone know what the interior was like back in Carlos' day? Decor, pieces, anything? I have to say that given Castaneda's estimated wealth, that place seemed pretty modest though obviously not your "low rent" district... I wonder how many other places he had. Anyone have a clue?

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I ONCE WAS LOST,AND I STILL AM
From: daniel,who gives thanks to all at and on SA
Date: 12/3/99

I am "who knows","a loyal friend",and "a sailor". i discovered the books 8 years ago and amongst other teachings,i isolated myself from friends and family ,and "practiced"which pretty much amounted to a lot of thinking and emersing myself into my own drama,where i was onto "the truth" and everone else was either a fool,or somewhat tolerable ,but all were hopeless within this lifetime but me. i set up a perpetual mindset that has now overtaken me, where i am always focusing on myself as being superior or the most important, and now i am experiencing a horrible ,constant, discomfort in mind,body,and whatever soul i can feel.i am now branded by my actions ,and cannot get a job. i no longer know how to love,because i feel as if most peoples actions,including my own ,are substanceles, only learned ,repititious,monkey motions. i would love to find that i am wrong,and would love to feel whole and glowing. through countless hours of thinking,meditating,studying,and observing, i no longer know anything exept i exist. while this is pretty trippy, it is pretty uncomfortable having lost the foundation i once stood on,even if it was false. but i now feel comfortable in saying, i think carlos was on to something ,no matter what. it is very uncomfortable to deal with this,but if it is true, then what can you say. im not suicidle, but i am "shaking in my boots". how much confusion can you take. i think i liked things better when i was "stupid" so to speak. even if god himself came to me, how could i trust "HIS" authenticity? i now know nothing exept that i exist within a set of circumstances that may or may not be "as they seem",but once again, who knows. i give thanks to corey and all who have contributed to showing me the bullshit that is carlos,but still i cannot get the teachings out of my head. this world IS an endless mystery. I GIVE STRONG CAUTION TO ANYONE WHO READS CARLOS CASTANEDA,BECAUSE IT IS NOT FUN AND GAMES.YOU ARE NOT ONLY A BEING THAT IS GOING TO DIE,BUT ALSO A BEING THAT MUST/GETS TO LIVE UNTIL THEN.BE CAREFULL WHERE YOU TAKE YOUR MIND.THE CONSEQUENCES CAN SUCK.IT IS VERY SERIOUS.thank you daniel lawton,for your direct assesment of my "INFINITY SPEAKS".i am now quite sober.the balance of viewpoints on this page is actually pretty good, you have all contributed to my "new" sobriety. TO SATAN,the one on this site anyway,I REPENT OF MY WARRIOR WAY,PLEASE ALLOW ME TO CONTINUE TO REAP THE BENIFITS OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. DANIEL

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Carlos' advice on colds
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/3/99

Carlos typically gave impromptu lectures on whatever topic came up in sunday class. As I recall, one day a number of people in cleargreen had colds. Carlos commented that according to common wisdom the thing to do when you had a cold was to drink plenty of orange juice, to get vitamin C. He said that was the worst thing you could do and that such advice was undoubtedly a result of the fliers who prefer to have us sick. He admonished us not to restort to that remedy when we had a cold.

Today the established medical community finally got around to testing something everyone's suspected for years. They found that megadoses of vitamin C reduced the duration of a cold by 21%.

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DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY
From: DANIEL ,not lawton,sorry for any conf.
Date: 12/3/99

please give any advice you have. i am attempting to be as honest and unpretetious as i can,and to give you as much of a picture of how i have been affected by the teachings as possible within the means of this forum. please help if you are able and willing. daniel

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Re: DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY
From: DANIEL LAWTON
Date: 12/3/99

My thinking is that once you're hooked to Carlos and practice his teachings for a while, then realize a lot was made up, you end up (for a while) in the "trying to seperate the wheat from chaff" mode.

But that doesn't last. Eventually you realize that would put you on your own in reality, and that there are many sources to select from.

The idea of having to figure it out on your own produces the realization that some of you motivations were group oriented. The idea of doing it all by yourself doesn't seem as attractive. The question someone might ask at that time would be, what exactly was I really interested in.

And do any of us really live long enough to investigate everything out there and find out what works? I don't think so.

I'd like to see cleargreen fall, completely break up, become honest, then perhaps decide that there's a void that might be good to fill. I wouldn't mind at all having a team of HONEST practicioners, looking around, checking out various shaman teachings, to see if they can find some genuine ones in the same general field of interest. Right now cleargreen people are living off other people's money, and not really delivering the goods. What if they dropped the castaneda stuff and sincerely tried to put together workshops with alternate sources, sources they'd checked out to make sure there wasn't any guru or cult activity?

Just wishful thinking on my part. Who could trust them to be honest anymore anyway? The only advantage they have over us is time. But they've demonstrated they can't look honestly at themselves.

So we're stuck on our own. Not a very pleasing proposition since our short lives don't allow enough time to check out everything.

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Re: DANIEL LAWTON,OR COREY,OR ANYBODY
From: Andra
Date: 12/3/99

I cannot teach you how to live , Daniel but I can give you my personal example. Some years ago I was involved in a "yoga" community which almost ruined my life and my relationship with my family. For me it did not take so long to observe that - almost an year and a half. But this help me much when I wrote Castaneda's books because my first mouvement was to take as they are, without criticize them. Then my former experience came in my mind and I became very attentive. I think a solution for you is to meet as many people as you can, try to live like a common people without to be a real common people. I am also very curious about all was happened to you all those years. Can you tell more?

Andra

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RE;DANIEL L.
From: daniel
Date: 12/3/99

honestly,i am far less concerned with shamanism,and the like,than simply regaining mental health without turning my back on my own assumed knowledge. i would like to have a positive feeling, and positive relations again,but the mindframe that ive developed through exploring castaneda does not just "go away" just because castaneda was an ass. the things he wrote, i took very seriosly,and i allowed them(the teachings,i didnt even know cleargreen existed until about sept.99)to mold my mind into new wirings that are awesome,but sobering and scary. i now feel stuck like that,but at the same time, i feel that to undo it would be to willingly allow myself to fool myself in order to be comfortable. i miss love. but if love is only a human invention to distract from reality like television,then how could i fake giving it. you see,this buisness is serious,and deserves more seriousness than going back and forth trying to outwit each other like a zen battle. i can soberly see the actions of carlos and cleargreen as well as anyone, but ive read the books, ive thought the thoughts, and im scared. those books are serious. i dont think ill ever be able to go back.

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Reply to Daniel
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/3/99

daniel wrote, with aching poignance: >>>>honestly,i am far less concerned with shamanism,and the like,than simply regaining mental health without turning my back on my own assumed knowledge. i would like to have a positive feeling, and positive relations again,but the mindframe that ive developed through exploring castaneda does not just "go away" just because castaneda was an ass.<<<<

I am very moved by what you've shared in your two posts tonight, and need to take it in before I can begin to see if I have any decent counsel to share with you. My initial reaction, however, is that I absolutely know what you're talking about, and have been going through much the same process myself in the past year or so. I think that stating as you have, honestly and directly, how you are feeling and the discomfort of it is a tremendous first step toward doing something about it. I also think there are bits of the "tradition" that you are starting to "recover" from, like "not-doing" (one of the most contradictorily described techniques of all in the workshops, BTW), that might be useful at this time -- i.e., the "not-doing" of looking at family members and others as fellow human beings instead of as inferior, "Flyer's mind ridden" lost souls. I forced myself to try the "not doing" of going on a date a few months ago, after years of assuming I would never have a primary relationship again after the one I had when I started the workshops ended after seven years. At any rate, I look forward to everyone's responses here to your dilemma and current discomfort. I'm sure many of us can benefit from each other's advice and guidance on this topic.

With affection and comradeship, Corey

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Re: RE;DANIEL L.
From: Nyai Tuppi
Date: 12/4/99

I am one of many that are slow at learning math. One of my brothers is the opposite. No effort, 4.0, teaches math now. I hated it. I thought it was pointless anyway. Then when I started college, I had to of course take math required courses. I thought, I'm in for it. All math teachers I had encountered before were like my brother, and couldn't relate to people who couldn't immediately pick it up. They would ask; 'Are there any questions?' But I didn't even know what to ask, and they would keep moving on in the text, even though I would repeatedly inform them that I didn't know. But then I had this teacher in college. He stated that it was best to assume the student knew nothing, and that is how he taught. Amazing! Not only did I learn and utilize the formulas, but I actually started to enjoy math, I looked forward to his class. I became so confident, that I took the profiency exam for the hell of it, I didn't need to. And I passed! The thing was the teacher had a prissy attitude, and could put people off. Once he took a students coat that was draped over an empty chair and tossed it onto the floor. The student got pissed. She was from the street, and raised a big issue about it, in the class and to the school. He actually apologized to her about that, but she and some other students were so concerned about how much they could relate to the teacher, that it distracted them from the fact that he was a very good math teacher. But some didn't even see it that way. One guy who sat next to me, asked me what I thought of the teacher. I responded in the affirmative. This guy though, felt the teacher was going to fast, he would repeatedly ask the teacher questions, until the teacher resonded: "I can't simplify it any more than this, I have too much to get through, to keep going over the same material." Now this student couldn't have been anymore slower than me at math, he wasn't mentally deficient. So why was he so frustrated, that he then walked out of the class to find an easier one, after I told him I liked the method the teacher used, regardless of whether he was likeable or not?

I suppose it was the same reason that I failed with other teachers; I was unable to adapt to changes, or didn't have the awareness at the time to make the best of the situation. I suggest an informative book to read is: "Landfill Meditations" from Gerald Vizenor. "Tribal fundamentalist stave the world into fours, while the more clever and imaginative spiritualists remember the earth as a seven sided hologram: the four directions as reported, the earth, space, and a trickster who perceives and corrupts the sacred center to avoid numerical perfection and terminal values." (Four Skin Documents).

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At a loss
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/3/99

A short comment on a matter that frustrates me. Why does so many spiritual traditions emphasize human worldly attachments, desire and the urge to live physically, and as Carlos did, our personel past, as something to be erased. I mean we live for reasons incompletely understood. Why attempt to control something we donīt even have a basic understanding of? Why would we want to undermine impulses that can reveal more about our true potential? All this talk about babies and bathwater are nonsense to me. Time is precious, especially the time already spent because therein lies experience and thus wisdom. Do get me right. Cultivation of the individual is absolutely crucial in learning about our potential (though some probably donīt need it). But the emphasis on tight control on the conduction of life, and validation and invalidation of the time spent, is far out, is beyond the reaches of my wisdom.

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Re: At a loss
From: Theophilos
Date: 12/3/99

Stender wrote:

A short comment on a matter that frustrates me. Why does so many spiritual traditions emphasize human worldly attachments, desire and the urge to live physically, and as Carlos did, our personel past, as something to be erased. I mean we live for reasons incompletely understood. Why attempt to control something we donīt even have a basic understanding of?

Good question. We are acted upon constantly by urges and desires, and to a large extent our personal history defines who we are. Us modern humans have a full agenda. Spiritual traditions are about creating some space within the agenda. The question is, space for what? It appears that we don't want space, as it creates a vacuum which we find intolerable.

The problem us Castanedian's have is not that the techniques are not effective at creating that space, it's what we do with that space. We end up positing something which has no business there, our own reflection. It's only a matter of time before the new arrangement becomes stifling, and we end up back at the starting point.

It's not about repressing or controlling our urges but instead becoming aware of them. Repression and control are the futile and energy draining result of one thought pitted against another. The problem is as you've stated, we are trying to control something we have little understanding of.

t

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Re: At a loss
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/3/99

Wow, there is a storm here so the trains are cancelled.

In Theophilos reply :Spiritual traditions are about creating some space within the agenda. The question is, space for what? It appears that we don't want space, as it creates a vacuum which we find intolerable.

Creating space is not really my headache but I think you are right in the notion that people find emptiness intolerable.

My headache is the forced conduct of life. In every discipline I have engaged in, the issue of realizing potentials is always the same. Potentials are a stepwise process. If you donīt use the present challenge you will never know how the potential would evolve and where it would bring you. How then can we decided beforehand what good certain central drives are good for ? We live primarily a physical life. That entails challenges of a physical and interactive character. What now if I realize at the eve of death, that the purpose of this particular life was to get laid every day or what-know-I, but the life was spend in forced celibacy.

How do we realize that a forced conduct of life isnīt simply escapism due to some recurrent emotional challenges that we dodge at all costs ? Emotional challenges arising from physical interaction is an enormous reservoir of potential.

Theophilos points out: It's not about repressing or controlling our urges but instead becoming aware of them. Repression and control are the futile and energy draining result of one thought pitted against another.

So how do you think urges should be treated ? If ignored they tend to grow. If pawed they tend to cultivate and grow.

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Re: At a loss
From: Theophilos
Date: 12/4/99

Stender wrote: How do we realize that a forced conduct of life isnīt simply escapism due to some recurrent emotional challenges that we dodge at all costs ?

We are not interested in a forced conduct of life. If we are caught in something which is forced it's because we try to mold ourselves to an ideal. We are not indulging in escapisms either. Our lives were already full of that, as a matter of fact our whole society is geared towards it. Emotional challenges? Do you mean falling in love? Or sex? This seems to be one of the major issues that we all have. Please clarify exactly what you are referring to before I go off in the wrong direction. Again, we don't want to run away from any challenge. Our problem stems from choice.

Stender: So how do you think urges should be treated ? If ignored they tend to grow. If pawed they tend to cultivate and grow.

If we're hungry we eat. If our lives are not "forced" generally eating is not a problem. It's when we're unhappy that we begin to have urges and obsessions which then requires treatment. Again, the problem stems from our fear of making the wrong choice. That falls into the realm of "we are this when we should be that", and the problem of forced conduct. We are not positing ideals, we're taking them apart.

t

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Re: At a loss
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/4/99

Hey Theophilos, you give a very balanced approach. And in balanced approaches lies exactly the quandary I like to have highlighted.

Letīs say we choose to live after an interpretation of the Castaneda material. What that basically means is to direct a lot of your time into some certain (time-consuming) practices. During that time we deliberately set the boundaries of the world, simply by spending a lot of time on beforehand decided activities (like closing your eyes and endlessly think about yourself). With such set boundaries we enter, with experience, a play where we largely know what parameters are controlled and which are uncontrollable. In this scenario it is comparatively easy to achieve balance and maintain it.

On the other hand, lets say you follow a whim and become an aid worker in Sri Lanka. Everything is fine although some new emotions did surface when one morning on your way down the street, some naked and skinned fellow hangs by his thumps from a light pole. That fellow turns out to be the father of Lalith, your helper and errand boy. You go to Laliths family to pay your respects and offer help, and before you can say fart, your are deeply involved in a chaotic state of high emotion. Can you there maintain balance ? Even if you can, the point is that such situations will bring out aspects of yourself that are truly unknowable in the first scenario.

I suspect that experience in chaotic states of emotions will be a real aid when faced with the end of physical life.

The reason I bring this up is that I am basically a control freak (or maybe not, really). Dan Lawton described that to the mark in some post, saying something like castanedans are suffering from a sort of brain condition that constantly requires that we look at ourselves.

Here is a pointwise reply to your letter.

>>> T: We are not interested in a forced conduct of life. If we are caught in something which is forced it's because we try to mold ourselves to an ideal. We are not indulging in escapisms either. Our lives were already full of that, as a matter of fact our whole society is geared towards it. Emotional challenges? Do you mean falling in love? Or sex? This seems to be one of the major issues that we all have. Please clarify exactly what you are referring to before I go off in the wrong direction. Again, we don't want to run away from any challenge. Our problem stems from choice.

Stender: It seems forced to me to cut of all ties with people from the past, people who has given invaluable help and support throughout life. But isnīt it to mold an ideal to spend a lot of time doing something in order to achieve a certain result. And then bend the meaning of many words to create a new and special nomenclature for something that are common to everyone Yes emotional challenges can be falling in love, or dealing with your tyrannical father while he is there. And not dealing in a revenge sort of way or in a sort of "I looked through you" way. No, but with sincere ease, smile and sympathy. The combination of love and sex is a particular powerful cocktail because it contains both exhaustion and engagement.

But if you can elucidate how to deal with sexual drive, then please do.

When you say choice, that could imply an assumption that we know what possibilities are there. That is what I suggest that we have not the faintest idea about.

Look, thanks a lot Theophilos for reading and replying, but I guess my underlying realization is that no living person can patent "the right way to die". I donīt think it is possible to follow someones "way". There is no way. The potential of an individual is unknown to himself . It is a gradual process and no factors or variables should be ignored. I believe life is a process of maturation.

Best regards Stender

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Re:AT A LOSS
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/3/99

I can follow the logg jam analogue, Daniel, but maybe that is a first order result. Say that you have become real good at sorting out the loggs and one day you have drifted downstream where the river is wider and calmer. One day the situation occurs where there is no jam but still a lot of energy fit to sort out log jams. That would be stagnation wouldnīt it ?

What I am asking is basically: Isnīt it stupid and arrogant to think we can reject challenges whose nature we donīt really know about ?

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the danger
From: Myrddin
Date: 12/3/99

I recognize the danger that Daniel talks of. I think it just comes down to the fact that it is almost impossable to transend our ideas that form our worlds and reach the silent source. When we started out on this path we all heard that bell deap inside us that said that this was the path, but it ended up to be a self-inhansing process instead of a way to find the core inside us that is NOT illusory. As I have said before this core has nothing to do with thinking about it. Its the prosses of finding the alternate modes of being, and choose: The reletive ideas we have about things, and whatever is bellow that, the essance, the silance. Unless we have the force of that silent controle, it is impossable to find our way past our arrogent self-inhansing ways. I think the name of the game is to become equall with all that is around us, to meld into a function of the infinit, not to stay a solitary pinical of righteousness. I think what has buged me from the begining about you guys, is that you are searching in other peoples ideas for the knowledge that is right in front of your nose. The only usefull knowledge is the knowledge we have earned for our selves. Carlos was the key to the possablities, but after you find and open the door, you must through the key away, because that mans touch hinders and destroys, it does not help. I myslef have begun the battle of ginving up my obssetion with him and his books. I challenge you all to do the same. The only knowlege is self knowledge. Stop triing to verify the possablities with that assholes misleading babeling. I think he just got tired of taking you seriouly and made mad fun of you till the day he died. Stop talking and thinking about carlos castaneda and start exploring the terreble awesomness, if you have the balls.

I'm sorry for the long windedness, I really am.

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Re: the danger
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/3/99

Let's see....Myrddin says...

"I think what has buged me from the begining about you guys, is that you are searching in other peoples ideas for the knowledge that is right in front of your nose. The only usefull knowledge is the knowledge we have earned for our selves. Carlos was the key to the possablities,"

Wait a minute. You came to the conclusion that Carlos was the key to the possibilities without investigating his ideas? Assuming that Carlos is other than yourself, then weren't you looking for knowledge in another's ideas rather than right in front of your nose?

Then what makes you different or better than "you guys?"

Lonnie "can you guess what has bugged me from the beginning?"

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Questions
From: Martin
Date: 12/3/99

I have a couple of questions which I have not seen addressed here. First, does anyone find it curious that Carlos successfully avoided being recorded in any manner for 35+ years and then the last year of his life he was videotaped very conspicuously, essentially documenting his physical decline? Also, everyone seems to assume that Carlos intended to "burn". From what I understand, Carlos said he never intended to burn from within, but had moved his AP from the position which facilitates this to another position. I believe he said that he was going to use a backdoor. Could this backdoor be entered through his poor health? Any light that anyone can shed on these two personal issues of mine?

Regards, Martin

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Re: Questions
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/4/99

The backdoor idea sounds like something concocted after his death. Before his death, during sunday classes, he regularly insisted that you had to burn from within, that there was no seperate spirit from the body, and that burning meant leaving entirely, even your clothes. He showed us his brown suit that he would take with him when he burned because you'd end up wearing it a long time.

About halfway through the sunday sessions Carlos tried to adopt another pretty girl by having her move in with him and the witches. She got bored and escaped. Carlos didn't know that. They tried to find out where she went, she and her family wouldn't give him any info, so he came up with a paranoid delusion that she'd been murdered by her boyfriend, and the whole family was conspiring to hide it. He was on that kick for a couple of months. It was during that time that he decided that there was a brown ball of energy, her dead spirit, that was following him around. He said that maybe you could die and your energy body could hang around in a dim state, not the same as burning, but at least you were somewhat there. He told us that if we died we should come to him and he'd show us where to go. This theory wasn't particularly new, it's Howard Lees explanation. Perhaps it's even a traditional chinese explanation. You can even find it in the witches dream, where the ghost of that woman hangs around, slowly disappating over the years.

He also told a story about someone who had taken care of him as a child who had died in the chinese martial arts manner, deliberately. He said the man pierced the vail, then exhaled and penetrated it.

These extra descriptions aren't out of wack with the statements in the book that your awareness disappates after death, sometimes very slowly. At an early lecture one of the witches claimed that if you buried yourself in a lead coffin you could keep your energy together for a little longer. Howard used to say it lasted about 500 years after death.

But Carlos never deviated from his insistance that you had to burn from within, completely, physically. If there was any idea about backdoors, it was probably in reference to his not going the same way don Juan did AFTER he burned, meaning that as a navigator he could go many different directions after burning and he would go a different one.

Come on! He died. Over in Tigre someone is claiming that witnesses to the death said that they were somewhere else energetically. That's not true. A single witness said that SHE was somewhere else energetically (which is a nice way of saying she was heartbroken), but that Carlos died in a very ordinary manner for someone with his illness. And that gets twisted around into some claim they were all in another universe when he died.

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Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/4/99

Daniel (not Lawton) writes:

" please,lets cut out the intellect battles. go to a zen site for that. some of you are wishing to know whats going on on the invitation only forum, well i bet it is people who realize the limitation of having to express yourself in neat little paragraphs, so instead of nitpicking inpertinant details to death, they try to get what your saying and discuss it with the intent of shining light where there is darkness"

I say, the more impertinent the detail the better. Here are a few impertinent details. Carlos died a sick old man; he did not escape the fate of the common man. In the last years of his life, he taught watered down movements to hundreds of gullible people who were taken with the stories and ideas in his books. Carlos was a brilliant story teller, an okay writer, and a successful con artist, among other things.

In terms of ideas, Carlos was not very original. Where he really excelled was in taking ideas from many sources and dressing them up and expressing them in ways no one else would ever have thought of.

Ultimately, Carlos's work was fiction. This simple fact(difficult for many to accept) really has no bearing on the validity or lack thereof of the ideas in his books--except that Carlos's testimony can't be taken as evidence in the matter. His testimony was fiction, fabrication.

The justification for these assertions of mine are to be found in hundreds of impertinent details that Corey and others have gone to considerable trouble to uncover and make available.

So when people write things that take some of Carlos's assertions for granted, I, for one, feel inclined to challenge those assertions. Not in order to prove once and for all that there's "no magic in the world", but rather to demystify the books and deflate some of the lies.

This often involves pointing out details and highlighting contradictions in what Carlos and others may say. Nitpicking, if you will.

There will be no light shone in this particular dark closet as long as people continue complacently to accept large amounts of what appears increasingly to be a huge load of horse shit.

Thank you for your time.

Lonnie

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Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever
From: moi
Date: 12/4/99

So Carlos Castaneda's work was fiction, you say, but what difference does it make? What difference does it make if there is a lineage with generations of teachings behind it, or if Carlos just made it all up? I'm confused by the way you use the word "fiction", when before that you say that he took his ideas from different sources. In that case is it fiction? Or it is just the "testimony" that is fiction? But that seems not to be very important to you? Let me ask you this, have you had a lot of friends in your life that you could life with for twenty-five years? I know I have not. If the only purpose Castaneda, Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar had was to make money and rip people off, what do you think kept them so close for so many years? Especially the first ten years, say? What was going on? Why didn't Carlos just claim to be a fiction writer working on a series of books about awareness? I personally think a lot more people would have bought the books if they were put out as fiction. I think a lot of people were put off reading them because Castaneda had such a weird reputation. And then he could have done that American Express commercial and made a million bucks for a day of his time. He could have portrayed himself as a Hollywood writer, gone to all the party's, probably had a lot more women when he was young and perhaps even more able to enjoy them. I would like to challenge you to go over to Nagual.net or any place where you can get a "quotes generator" that puts out "Castaneda Quotes". You look at all of them and then really think about the way Castaneda lived his life, think about how many years those same women stuck around him, hell, practically lived with him, on and off, in a rather modest house for twenty-five years - Why didn't Carlos just get married and have children and have affairs? Why did the women keep coming back to him? Why did they put up with each other? It's too easy to say that they were being supported. Think about real life situations and egos at work. I believe they had to have a connection to a deeper purpose than just wanting to be able to have a roof over their heads and go shopping when they felt like it to continue to be with Carlos for that many years. Also, how do you resolve in your mind the idea that *if* Castaneda was stupid enough to leave this paper trail etc. and "get caught" in so many "contradictions", how can you also presume to think that he himself was able to "make up" or "pick out" the information that *if* Don Juan did exist, it took *generations* to develop? How could little Carlos have done this all by his flaky self? That seems more like the contradiction, to me.

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Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/4/99

Moi responds to Lonnie's breathtakingly clear and concise explanation with the following muddle (which is a good thing, IMHO, because it shows that he/she is trying to sort through and process this stuff, even if it looks like they're flailing around a lot):

>>>>So Carlos Castaneda's work was fiction, you say, but what difference does it make? What difference does it make if there is a lineage with generations of teachings behind it, or if Carlos just made it all up?<<<<

Apparently for a number of "SoB"s it makes no difference at all--it's still grist for whatever fantasy lives they have constructed and insistently want to maintain based on this material. For most people in most contexts, however, there is a great deal of difference in nature and practical consequences between fiction and nonfiction. Fiction can be stimulating, inspirational and more "real" in many ways than nonfiction, but it is not historical fact that one can rely on in the way that one can rely, to some extent, historical fact. For example, if Castaneda did not leap into any Mexican gorge and find himself back in Westwood, it would mean that although he continually used this story to catch people's attention and/or to show what incredible feats he had achieved through "socery," he was really intellectually "masturbating" his brains out. If "don Juan" did not really exist, it may mean that people should stop idolizing a fictional character and reciting his supposed instructions, and rely on their own truths and experiences more. I'd give more examples, but that would simply be pedantic I think.

>>>>I'm confused by the way you use the word "fiction", when before that you say that he took his ideas from different sources. In that case is it fiction?<<<<

Yes, in that case it might be more precisely described as a fictional pastiche based on scraps of real ethnography and Asian and other spiritual practices, taken (and often distorted beyond recognition) from a variety of sources.

>>>>Let me ask you this, have you had a lot of friends in your life that you could life with for twenty-five years? I know I have not. If the only purpose Castaneda, Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar had was to make money and rip people off, what do you think kept them so close for so many years? Especially the first ten years, say? What was going on?<<<<

Although I am not yet 72, I have had close friends for over twenty years that I don't expect to be going out of my life anytime soon, but I don't think that's your real question. Some of us are working on answering the other questions you raise here, in part by tracking down and contacting people who knew them at various points during those 25 years. For the moment, however, it might be useful to get beyond "all or nothing" kinds of thinking. No one with any sense has said that the "only" purpose of these three was "to make money and rip people off." I think that was just a fortuitious side benefit that they may have taken more advantage of in later years, especially once the number of women Castaneda was personally supporting grew to the point that he needed to generate more income. If you will read some of the material on this site about gurus and narcissism (the excerpts from "Prophetic Charisma," for example) I think you will start to gain a sense of the psychology that might have been involved in these relationships. He was an exciting, dynamic person who was fun to be with and who spent most of his energy generating an intense fantasy life that involved those whom he came to dominate. Some of these women were 19 years old when he started to take over their lives (e.g., Taisha and Nury). He gave them more attention and made them feel more special than anyone they'd ever encountered; he was great fun to be with; and they probably believed in the whole myth as much as you do for a very long time.

>>>>Why didn't Carlos just claim to be a fiction writer working on a series of books about awareness? I personally think a lot more people would have bought the books if they were put out as fiction.<<<<

How many non-fiction writers make the kind of splash Castaneda made by writing "a series of books about awareness"? Castaneda became the best-selling "non-fiction" author for a decade during the seventies because he was claiming that his fantastical tales were the absolute truth, and he had a Ph.D. to back him up. If he had turned out these books as fiction, they might have done as well as the thousands of fictional/fantasy books out there that most of us have never heard of.

>>>>And then he could have done that American Express commercial and made a million bucks for a day of his time.<<<<

And give up his best gimmick--his fabled avoidance of pictures? What have you been smoking?

>>>>He could have portrayed himself as a Hollywood writer, gone to all the party's, probably had a lot more women when he was young and perhaps even more able to enjoy them.<<<<

Umm, he did. He partied at Esalen and elsewhere with the best of them. Next?

>>>>I would like to challenge you to go over to Nagual.net or any place where you can get a "quotes generator" that puts out "Castaneda Quotes". You look at all of them and then really think about the way Castaneda lived his life, think about how many years those same women stuck around him, hell, practically lived with him, on and off, in a rather modest house for twenty-five years - Why didn't Carlos just get married and have children and have affairs? Why did the women keep coming back to him? Why did they put up with each other? It's too easy to say that they were being supported. Think about real life situations and egos at work. I believe they had to have a connection to a deeper purpose than just wanting to be able to have a roof over their heads and go shopping when they felt like it to continue to be with Carlos for that many years.<<<<

I don't need to go to Nagual.net--I took more notes while this bunch was giving workshops and private sessions than anyone I know. I have been looking at them and analyzing them in connection with the other information that's turning up. And, BTW and FWIW, the majority of women he was involved with through the seventies and eighties did not stick around. Several did, however. Have you ever asked yourself why there are polygamous families still living in parts of the U.S. who brag about how great their lifestyle is. Many of the women involved in these relationships are well educated professionals, who are happy to be able to share domestic chores and be supported by other women. They tend to say that only one man in hundreds is capable of sustaining these kinds of families, but Castaneda, obviously, was one of those kind of men. And maybe he had to be that way, since the evidence regarding his sex life indicates that, as with most narcissists, he had major problems with intimacy and would not have lasted in a traditional monogamous relationship. And, yes, I think he did give them a sense that they had a "connection to a deeper purpose than just wanting to be able to have a roof over their heads and go shopping." He could generate "deeper purpose" at the drop of a hat, and was terribly seductive that way, like most narcissistic charismatic leaders.

>>>>Also, how do you resolve in your mind the idea that *if* Castaneda was stupid enough to leave this paper trail etc. and "get caught" in so many "contradictions", how can you also presume to think that he himself was able to "make up" or "pick out" the information that *if* Don Juan did exist, it took *generations* to develop? How could little Carlos have done this all by his flaky self? That seems more like the contradiction, to me.<<<<

I don't think the contradictions were necessarily "stupidity." His story does evidence a lot of arrogance, and decades of basically "getting away with it," so why shouldn't he continue to suddenly remember large chunks of previously "lost memories." His books were still getting published; and in later years, no matter what bizarre and contradictory stuff they came up with, the crowds for the workshops kept growing. That kind of success would probably encourage most of us to get a little sloppy after awhile. At any rate, I'm glad you're starting to weigh the new information and are seeking to make sense out of it, even if some of your presumptions and initial conclusions are pretty half baked.

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Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever
From: thelma
Date: 12/5/99

sorry to butt in by couldn't help it

moi wrote:

>>>>Why didn't Carlos just claim to be a fiction writer working on a series of books about awareness? I personally think a lot more people would have bought the books if they were put out as fiction.<<<<

Corey responded:

How many non-fiction writers make the kind of splash Castaneda made by writing "a series of books about awareness"?

assuming you mean fiction writers, how about Henry Miller, Plato, Aldous Huxley? just of the top of my head

great site btw love, thelma otis

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Re: reply to corey,andra,and whoever
From: diana
Date: 12/5/99

I totally agree with what moi said about how Castaneda probably could have made more money and been more "famous", if maybe less "infamous", IF he had written the books as fiction. Because almost everyone says that the books are superbly written books -- but most of the people that I know who read the first few of them have said to me that they were put off by, and so stopped buying the later books precisely because they are supposed to be about stuff that really happened, and that somehow makes it too "weird" to read about. But many of those same people loved the whole "Dune" thing by Herbert, and even loved "Fellowship of the Rings" by Tolkein...and while those books may not be about "awareness" exactly, the "wise old Indian, Don Juan" and Carlos' misadventures while trying to break on thru to the other side, I feel are at least as compelling and kind of comparable to Frodo's journey, or Paul Atreides. I'll bet if Castaneda had put out his work as fiction, we'd have more then one "major motion picture" by now, and Carlos would have had even more money from them then he made from some "tensegrity" videos.

By the way, did Carlos actually perform a lot of tensegrity for you people at the Sunday Sessions - or even later at the workshops, was he seen doing the longer series from memory? It just suddenly seems like an awful lot of work for someone in their seventies to be doing to make a fast buck somehow -- was anyone charged anything at the start, and, if it was free, for how long did it go on free? Did he make it almost every Sunday for a year? Two years? Or were there frequent interruptions where weeks and months would go by where he just wouldn't show up? Thanks for any info. d.

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Missing Info from Honest Firsthands
From: J. Stender
Date: 12/5/99

Diana asks: By the way, did Carlos actually perform a lot of tensegrity for you people at the Sunday Sessions -

Thatīs something which would be nice to have elaborated. How was Carlosīmovement art ? Was he any good, heartfelt and sensitive? Did he give individuals compassionate attention ? Was he smooth, creative and inspiring ? Could he "move your AP" by doing his movement art while you were watching. ( I have no experience with their seminars). Was his long forms nicer and more powerfully pointed than a ballet ? Could his movement art make you feel rain and thunder by just watching ?

The tensegrity material mentions words like elegans and grace. I look through the book and do half a hundred passes for a year but grace and elegance are not words that spring to mind ( I do know what graceful movement art is).

Regards Stender

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Re: Missing Info from Honest Firsthands
From: Daniel Lawton
Date: 12/6/99

>Thatīs something which would be nice to have elaborated. How was Carlosīmovement art ? Was he any good, heartfelt and sensitive?

It's a really hard question to answer, because we were all brainwashed to revere him. He was a great story teller, he told each story about 3 times in class, then moved on. He created the sense that something magical was just around the corner, continuously. But the magic never came. He'd tell us it hadn't worked, we had to try something else.

His stories were basically designed to embitter us against everything in the world except his teachings. He made fun of everything. Friends, family, having children, jobs, vacations, sex, any other religion or practice besides his. But the stories and jokes were well told and very appealing.

As far as his tensegrity form, since he was the deffinition of "good form", you can't say anything other than his form was perfect. But comparing it to Kylie's it was sloppy. He constantly forgot what he'd taught the day before, under the guise of having "seen" a change was needed. He did perform long forms, but they were seldom the same twice.

>Did he give individuals compassionate attention

The women, especially the pretty ones. I'm not joking. Most of the time he was rather harsh, misunderstood or cut off questions, and could be a really manipulative asshole. One time he was mad at Talia for some reason, and claimed she'd ruined herself by eating a few grapes with her cottage cheese. He said it would take 2 weeks for the sugar to wear off. He made up some stories about Ellis eating perscription mood alterers and harped on that for a few weeks. He was constantly ridiculing people in class, under the guise of destroying their self-importance. But mainly he was cruel. We just didn't see it that way because we bought in to the very typical cult myth, that the teacher was cruel for our benefit.

>? Was he smooth, creative and inspiring ?

Absolutely. And totally entertaining. The class was half stories and jokes. He created the continuous feeling that big things were about to happen. Despite my absolute certainty that he was a complete fake, with no don Juan whatsoever, I'd go to any lecture he gave if he were still here. I bet Corey would even show up.

By the way, as far as grace goes, his eyes were glazed over from cataracts, which he tried to explain away saying they weren't really cataracts because they went away at times (which is what cataracts can do). He claimed instead that the inorganic beings were spinning him at night, to try to capture him. He also suffered from diabetes, but claimed it was really the inorganic beings pulling on a thread attached to a weakness of his. And in the end he developed liver cancer. So there were many classes when he had trouble mustering the energy to do all the movements himself, although in the beginning I'd have to say he was in very good shape for someone 70 years old. But he didn't look young as he claimed. He looked 70. Same for the other members of his group. They all pretty much look their age and don't really exhibit youth as they claim. Carol Tiggs looks young, but if you look at her highschool picture you'll see she really does look her age, she just has a baby face.

>Could he "move your AP" by doing his movement art while you were watching.

No. Nothing ever happened outside the normal high and sensations one gets practicing any type of movement designed to give sensations of increased energy. Now watch out. There are a few people who have lately started to make up supernatural stories about big things happening years ago, but I knew them when and they added these things on later, to support cleargreen. I'm sure they even believe their own fabrications. Afterall, sorcery as taught by Carlos is the art of making up grandious stories about yourself and sticking to them so well that it's impossible to say they are simple fabrications. Having hung around so long it's natural that people would have learned to tap in to the cleargreen reward system and make up some supporting lies.

>Was his long forms nicer and more powerfully pointed than a ballet ? Could his movement art make you feel rain and thunder by just watching ?

No. He didn't even match an average martial arts teacher in a corner studio. And he couldn't hold a candle to Howard Lee, or any other experienced internal style teacher. Now he said that the old sorcerers were "hacks", meaning that they didn't really do flowing movments as we did, they encorporated them into simple movements like stretching one's shoulders. So I guess you could say that it isn't necessary to do them like a ballet if you still believe the sorcery stories.

  Replica Watches  Replica Watches

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reply to Diana
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/6/99

Diana commented and asked: >>>> I totally agree with what moi said about how Castaneda probably could have made more money and been more "famous", if maybe less "infamous", IF he had written the books as fiction. Because almost everyone says that the books are superbly written books -- but most of the people that I know who read the first few of them have said to me that they were put off by, and so stopped buying the later books precisely because they are supposed to be about stuff that really happened, and that somehow makes it too "weird" to read about. But many of those same people loved the whole "Dune" thing by Herbert, and even loved "Fellowship of the Rings" by Tolkein<<<<

FWIW, you guys are losing me entirely with this argument. The books were not great literature on the level of Henry Miller (as someone here recently suggested) or Herman Hesse--nor do they conjure up compelling huge worlds of fantasy like *Dune* or the Tolkein trilogy. What made them compelling was the possibility that they were real. Many of us stopped reading them after the first two or three because they were getting increasingly "unreal" and unbelieveable. But some, like me, bought the group's 90s propaganda that Bruce Wagner (in his '94 Details Magazine article) and the Witches sold us that there were other disciples of don Juan who could "confirm" Castaneda's experience. That led me to pick up the books again. I was still dubious until I saw the Witches in person, but their forceful personalities led me to believe that they had no reason not to be telling the truth.

Maybe you and the anonymous entity who calls him or herself "moi" would have eaten up each of Castaneda's books if they'd been clearly marked as fantasy, but I think you would have been in a non-bestselling minority. Their whole lure for me was that Castaneda was accurately describing the real life and magical world of a powerful shaman who actually existed. Hence the question of whether they were fiction or nonfiction, while apparently of little import to you, means everything to me.

But even if you're right that CC's books would have been bestsellers even as fiction, you're missing another big reason why Castaneda insisted to the end that they were completely nonfiction. If he were just a fiction writer, he wouldn't have been the ultimate authority figure produced by this amazing lineage, would he? The books set him up in a very clever way (since they make him seem so bumbling at the outset, which successfully convinced so many people who never met him that he really *was* a bumbling idiot, and therefore incapable of making up so much of his tale) to be the kind of unique and superior persona that a grandiose narcissist feels compelled to create. If you take a look at the material on narcissistic guru types, you'll see that this specialness and authority is key, and way more important than mere financial success.

Diana also opined:>>>>I'll bet if Castaneda had put out his work as fiction, we'd have more then one "major motion picture" by now, and Carlos would have had even more money from them then he made from some "tensegrity" videos. <<<<

Well, according to Castaneda himself, no less than Fellini and Dino de Laurentis beat a path to his door seeking the movie rights. The writer/director Sterling Silliphant also apparently had a don Juan project in the works for awhile, when his brother Mark was marrying Nury and hanging out with Castaneda's clan (which then included a few other women and men who have long since fallen by the wayside). Castaneda, ever the control freak, apparently put too many obstacles in the way of such projects, and ultimately never made a deal to sell the movie rights. And in the last several years of his life, he constantly dangled these rights as a big juicy carrot over the heads of Bruce Wagner and Tracy Kramer.

The fact that he ultimately ended up (see Summary of the Eagle's Trust on this site) giving those rights to Bruce and Tracy together with the non-movie business Elements Grant and Fabricio is rather bizarre, since it would seem to deprive Bruce of some incentive if he has to split the profits for his creative work with the likes of Fabricio and Grant. But they have another little problem ahead of them if they think they are going to continue to finance the group's Castaneda-derived lifestyles indefinitely from a hit don Juan movie: the SA truth squad is monitoring the progress of any movie deal and will be there to demand meetings with producers and studios to tell them the real deal about Castaneda and company should any of them actually fall for Tracy and Bruce's song and dance.

>>>>By the way, did Carlos actually perform a lot of tensegrity for you people at the Sunday Sessions - or even later at the workshops, was he seen doing the longer series from memory? It just suddenly seems like an awful lot of work for someone in their seventies to be doing to make a fast buck somehow -- was anyone charged anything at the start, and, if it was free, for how long did it go on free? Did he make it almost every Sunday for a year? Two years? Or were there frequent interruptions where weeks and months would go by where he just wouldn't show up?<<<<

Much of your question was already answered by the Introduction to the Sunday Sessions in the Notes section of this site, but Dan answered the rest of the question very thoroughly and accurately in my view. He is probably the best one to assess Castaneda's technique, BTW, since Dan spent many years studying a variety of martial arts, and was even attending the same karate tournaments in the early 70s that we now know Taisha and Florinda were at.

-----
...witness...
From: greggabi@aol.com
Date: 12/7/99

Hi Badger,

I saw Carlos do a fair amount of Tensegrity in private classes before there was the Sunday group, and in my eyes, he did have an elegance and grace... but not the kind that comes through rigid discipline... it was more of a kind of movement rather than a form of movement. Since I am not a rigid disciplinarian, I liked that.

I have NO martial arts training, except having seen a few Bruce Lee movies, and so am not claiming any technical expertise... just offering a description of what I saw.

Carlos did not seem to exert physical force or strength when he moved. It seemed that he was rather pushing something around, and when I did the passes I could feel that pushing around too. He almost never did a movement the same way twice... I found that refreshing... because neither did I. He was always changing things. I loved that, too.

The intention of movement is funny... it is filtered through our bodies in a zillion different ways, so any form so defined or learned, is someone else's form, not necessarily your form. There are zillions of schools of movement that reflect the crystalization of intentions of movement into forms by the bodies of the teachers. But if the form is grasped... the intention is lost.

Kylie filtered the movements through her body in a much different way, and I enjoyed her teaching at the seminars with the tacit understanding that it was not the goal to do the passes like her, but just to do the movements themselves.

So while I did tensegrity (and I did it a LOT for years) I never did it "well", but I enjoyed doing it, and learned what I need to learn.

From what Carlos said, and how I saw him do the passes, it seemed to me that exactness was not an issue, nor was the amount of passes learned, (even though I learned tons, like the rest). But it was learning a lesson of which the movements were just a prop.

Once you learn the intention of movement... ANY movement will do. You are free to apply it to ANY movement you do in this world.

Tensegrity is just a gimmick (and a good one, too) to teach about the intention... once learned, you can take the intention and let go of the gimmick.

The last seminar I attended was the last Carlos attended. I knew that he was the source of the novelty, and NOBODY else was going to be able to continue to provide that novelty. Cleargreen is now just an empty bag pretending to be full.

(opinion) I believe that Carlos came up with Tensegrity because all he saw around himself were pale urban sedentary types working at inside sit-down jobs...

...who needed SOMETHING to actually DO...

As far as moving energy to vital centers and stuff like that, Tensegrity is NO better than taking a good hike in the hills, so I'd rather take a hike, and at least see some beauty and breath some fresh air.

...and yes... even knowing what I know about Carlos' personal life... if he were still here, I would still be going to seminars to see and hear him simply because he was the funniest man I have ever known...

Greg

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Re: reply to Diana
From: diana
Date: 12/6/99

Corey, I don't know, you see it your way, and I see it mine. Maybe it'll always be an enigma.wrapped in a mystery stuffed inside a...whatever. But still, I have to ask you, don't you think that it's a bit of a contradiction to on the one hand say that Carlos had this guru/charisma/authority/specialness disease thing going on, and if the books were fiction he would NOT have been an *authority* - and then you say that he presented himself in the books as a bumbling idiot - I don't get how those two things go together. How could his "ego" TAKE people thinking about him as a bumbler IF he had that specialness disease thing REALLY going on? And I think there would have been trade-offs IF Don Juan did not exist and IF Carlos had a CHOICE about how to present the books...but for me, I think the books evolved from an actual "apprenticeship" of sorts...and I guess for me the explantion of how Carlos could have continued to bumble, which he did a lot of from what you at SA say - and I do believe that you are telling the truth FROM YOUR OWN POINT OF VIEW. But for me, I just think he was a "three-prong-nagual" and so he did not have what it took to both LEAD people and to be able to make things happen at WILL the way that Don Juan could. And I guess if I want to try and explore WHY on earth the spirit wanted to point out a person with such obvious inability's to continue to lead a lineage, or to put it another way, why the spirit wanted Don Juan's lineage to end, maybe I'll have to go over to ADC, but it's pretty "hairy" over there too from what I've recently seen -- Unless maybe something besides insults and "going in for the kill" become the wave of the future here, as Satan and crossdresser seem to be predicting. If you look at the numbers of the remote you'll see that Calixto IS "Satan" and I think that it is truly odd that he gets such pleasure out of preparing for "the kill" here...yeah, yeah, I know, he says that we Warriors are just askin' for it, hell, we are begging for it by saying we want to be treated like warriors, and in his misguided mind that means..well, you can see what he thinks it means by reading his post...I just totally agree with what Badger said about how all the stuff Don Juan told Carlos to do was stuff that had purpose specifically for CARLOS, and I think that Castaneda was trying his best to lead whoever he could to experience some of the wonders that he himself HAD experienced, but could not seem to call up for himself with any kind of control, or make manifest for anyone else with the grace and ease that Don Juan seemed to be able to do it. So maybe the best Carlos could do was to "see" a "Broken Energy Bar" (yeah, I know, how convenient can you get, right?!) and maybe when he said that Carol Tiggs was really gone for ten years, he meant that she was not "energetically available" and maybe when he said that "she was not in the Hills of New Mexico either", his intent was not to tell a simple lie, but to state SOMETHING that he saw going on "energetically" in a way that would tweak your awareness a bit, and perhaps open people up to experiencing the day to day events in life in a new context...But I know I say "maybe" too much, and I too am only, like "moi", sitting back in my armchair, dreaming a dream within a dream.

(Excuse me)reply to Diana

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From: J. Stender
Date: 12/7/99
Hi Diana,

I write to you because the goddess Diana is a heroine of mine and I was curious to hear that you erected a tent in your apartment (poor city dwellers).

We have a problem here on this page, namely that these nasty SA fellas has eroded our faith but not provided any alternative. The further question is whether we need an alternative or if we should simply see this as a possibility to get rid of some garbage and then get used to being even lighter. For my part, I have, with surprising ease suspended judgement of Carlos because what is written here is too hard on him, IMHO. When they have all the stuff said, I will carefully look it through and identify with uncle Carlos and then adjust my irrelevant opinions of his doings. As it is now, I have no doubt that he was dishonest in his presentation of himself and that leads to a lot of questions to his tales.

That said, when my faith in the sorcerers of ancient Mexico first were challenged (on this site) all my attention went to the actual worth of the teachings. Carlos and Co. made a business out of the fact that we a going to die. But if they donīt know how to do this....And this whole show of looking into thin air and say profound stuff in best New Age style (reports from workshops), I find pathetic (you can sell other peoples recordings of whalesong or recipies of herb-cookies, but not their flawed recipe on how to die).

Although it is none of my business I have answered some of your questions below.

>>>But still, I have to ask you, don't you think that it's a bit of a contradiction to on the one hand say that Carlos had this guru/charisma/authority/specialness disease thing going on, and if the books were fiction he would NOT have been an *authority* - and then you say that he presented himself in the books as a bumbling idiot - I don't get how those two things go together. How could his "ego" TAKE people thinking about him as a bumbler IF he had that specialness disease thing REALLY going on? <<<

No, not a contradiction. It is simple manipulation: cheating with the facade.

>>> And I think there would have been trade-offs IF Don Juan did not exist and IF Carlos had a CHOICE about how to present the books...but for me, I think the books evolved from an actual "apprenticeship" of sorts...and I guess for me the explantion of how Carlos could have continued to bumble, which he did a lot of from what you at SA say - and I do believe that you are telling the truth FROM YOUR OWN POINT OF VIEW. But for me, I just think he was a "three-prong-nagual" and so he did not have what it took to both LEAD people and to be able to make things happen at WILL the way that Don Juan could. <<<

No. You no longer believe that. You are stubborn and sad to leave a cherished faith behind. What else should you be here for ? If what I say is just remotely true then be with me for a moment. We are watching the fall and death of a big time faith we shared. During the course of that shared and baffling experience we watch the matters composing the faith with increased intensity. This forum and that intensity will supply you with companionship, resolution , knowledge, and guts. And during this process it is important to look further and imagine were you would have gone, had you not met Carlos in the first place.

Whishing you warmth and a light heart Stender

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Re: (Excuse me)reply to Diana
From: diana
Date: 12/7/99

J.? I have to tell you that you are wrong if you think that I don't believe that Carlos' adventures in Sonoraland were for the most part an account of an actual "apprenticeship". I wound up here because of a search engine and at the beginning of this site there was no discussion board up. I just looked at all the notes from lectures and workshops that I had not been to, and I got to read a lot of stuff about the witches that I never had any idea about. Then one day the discussion forum opened, and I guess it was just my "predilection" to post whatever I posted! Of course I have always been interested in being able to discuss Castaneda with other humans, as a lot of the people I know have barely even heard of Castaneda.

But to say that Castaneda was selling only the idea of how to die is not really the way I see it either. It makes me think of how so many people here, like "Satan", think that to be a warrior means to be unfriendly or to NEVER show a moment of mercy or compassion, or even not to ever LOVE! I don't know how they could get those ideas - it would be to me as if a football coach said to a player, okay NO SEX....before the game. And then the football players totally give up sex because the coach said NO SEX. But he only said no sex BEFORE THE GAME, and meant THE DAY BEFORE THE GAME. I mean I know that's a stupid example, but Don Juan was so CLEAR when he said "A Warrior LOVES...and puffs and sweats just like an "average man"...it was only the idea of the kind of stuff most humans do TODAY in the name of "LOVE" that I believe Don Juan was "against". The kind of "love" where one is jealous and possessive and wants what's "best" for THEMSELVES, where they want their boyfriend or girlfriend to always be around and available to make THEM happy and not lonely, the kind of love that leads to a 70 percent divorce rate - that's the kind of "love" that he thought was NOT love and one should steer clear of...While I don't think that Castaneda was about making ones "everyday life" "better", he WAS, IMHO, about leading a GOOD, STRONG, POWERFUL life, but not a life that would necessarily be "good" in the eyes of SOCIETY. He thought that man was here to perceive and to LEARN - that was mans "lot"...and death was your "advisor", the one to look to for advice on how to behave in ways that were the best use of energy here on this earth, for us perceivers who have an appointment with infinity waiting for us at the end of our allotted time here...I want to learn to "SEE", and if I think that I may learn something here that may help me, then I will stick it out and sort thru all the BS along the way. I don't think Carlos was some perfect person, but I do think that he had witnessed things, and seen wonders. And I know that from Carlos I got the idea to look for my hands in my dreams, and I know that I looked, and I found them. And then I was able to hold on to the images of my dreams for longer and longer periods of time. And just the other night, I suddenly "stepped right in" to a dream! It was wonderful. I do Tensegrity, and I feel AWED. My life has only been what I consider to be "improved" thru my knowing about Carlos Castaneda and his teachings. So I don't care if he married Annie Sprinkle, Charles Manson and the three stooges. And I don't care if he fucked all of them either, at the same time even, while his dog was watching. And I don't care if he put everything in the world down, and died like a dog to boot. To me, he was a special person, and for a special person, one should have only good words. diana.

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Re: (Excuse me)reply to Diana
From: Theophilos
Date: 12/8/99

Diana wrote:

" I wound up here because of a search engine and at the beginning of this site there was no discussion board up. "

Perhaps. I came upon this sight quite unexpectedly as well. What surprised me more than what I have read here was my reaction. I experienced tremendous "cognitive dissonance" for several days before I regained some balance. For now let's say that I beleive it was a rather fortuitous event occuring at a very appropriate moment. Or in TB terms, Infinity was pointing something out.

Then:

"I want to learn to "SEE", and if I think that I may learn something here that may help me, then I will stick it out and sort thru all the BS along the way"

I think that you See very well actually. For a while I practiced the not-doing of assuming that everything was fiction. I stopped Tensegrity, Recapitulation, and even my Dreaming practices. Then I went back and read Active Side of Infinity assuming that it was pure fiction. The result of all this was a strange jolt of energy, which actually increased Seeing.

It's important not to hold on to any belief, no matter how gratifying. All belief is really extra baggage. I was afraid that I would lose the valuable things that I had gained, but I didn't. What was valuable is still there. I only dropped some excess weight. Let's take this fortuitous event as a gift from infinity.

a fellow warrior t

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Re: reply to Diana
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/7/99

Diana asked: >>>>But still, I have to ask you, don't you think that it's a bit of a contradiction to on the one hand say that Carlos had this guru/charisma/authority/specialness disease thing going on, and if the books were fiction he would NOT have been an *authority* - and then you say that he presented himself in the books as a bumbling idiot - I don't get how those two things go together. How could his "ego" TAKE people thinking about him as a bumbler IF he had that specialness disease thing REALLY going on?<<<<

I seem to remember you asking this same sort of question before. Sorry if I didn't respond to you earlier.

Let me try to synthesize this into a more holisitic scenario for you.

Castaneda was a sophisticated, middle-aged storyteller of long-standing by the time he started writing his first book in the mid-sixties. He was sharp enough to know that if he had said that he himself was this great sorcerer with all these powers and insights, he would be laughed at. So he created an alter ego, if you will, with superhuman will, insight, awareness and the ability not only to travel into other dimensions but also to read minds. He also very likely met a few real shamans in Mexico or elsewhere, from whom he got the material on how to use the hallucinogenic substances that appears in his first couple books.

As a sophisticated storyteller, with a lot of insight about people, he knows that a highly self-deprecating storyteller is the most entertaining and beloved. If he sounds like an idiot, always asking the same question in the books, he is also less likely to be presumed to have the insights that he puts into the mouth of his fictional alter ego. Nonetheless, the whole effort generates for Castaneda the ultimate goal of all grandiose narcissists: an indestructable special and superior persona. I say this because he has don Juan choose him to take on his mantel as Nagual and as supreme authority on what this superhuman figure said and thought about everything. He makes don Juan so perfect that no one can question him, and then he makes himself into don Juan's sole spokesperson. And regardless of what the book-buying public (whom his trick shows his disdain for anyway) thinks about the cartoon "Castaneda," the real life, day-to-day Castaneda is an imperious, authoritarian, god-figure that pontificates on every subject within his own little clan, of whom he is the absolute and unquestioned authority. Among the people he knows, he *is* don Juan, and is obeyed with the reverence and unquestioned obedience that he describes himself in the books as having toward don Juan by the end.

It's a marvelous trick if you lack conscience and compassion (two qualities that narcissists do not possess), and one that Margaret Runyan claims in her book was her idea in the first place (see the Castaneda Early Years Chronology on this site).

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Corey
Date: 12/8/99

Diana asked: >>>>But still, I have to ask you, don't you think that it's a bit of a contradiction to on the one hand say that Carlos had this guru/charisma/authority/specialness disease thing going on, and if the books were fiction he would NOT have been an *authority* - and then you say that he presented himself in the books as a bumbling idiot - I don't get how those two things go together. How could his "ego" TAKE people thinking about him as a bumbler IF he had that specialness disease thing REALLY going on?<<<<

I had forgotten when I wrote you earlier, but while looking through my notes of the early workshops today while working on another topic, I came across another point that may help you synthesize the facts that you see as a contradiction here.

In the early workshops, starting in 1993, the Witches initially (who were the only ones on hand for the '93 and early '95 workshops) and then Castaneda himself referred to don Juan having "failed." Castaneda claimed that don Juan and his party had gotten stuck somewhere in the Second Attention, instead of having made it all the way to the "Third Attention."

In that first couple of years of workshops (and I gather from your comments previously that you didn't attend any), Castaneda asserted that with the aid of the two Scouts (which were a feature that "don Juan" never had), Castaneda and his party had found new ways to avoid don Juan's failure. He also denigrated don Juan for not being interested in helping people by sharing his knowledge as Castaneda was, and for being weighed down by a group that was less interested in abstract freedom (and more like the "Old Sorcerers") than don Juan was.

So in this respect, Castaneda was resolving the little "contradiction" set up by his own books by asserting, toward the end, his superiority to don Juan.

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Point
Date: 12/8/99

It is very difficult for me to believe that CC's criticism of DJ, if thats what it was, is truly understood by the SA people. Without direct experience of the Second or Third Attention, you can't really know if what CC is saying is a true observation or whether he is really dissing his teacher. Obviously the SA types, who have unequivocally stated that CC is totally full of it and that DJ didn't exist or that in any event CC made up most or all of it seems to eliminate you from any knowledgable criticism of what CC purported to have done or understood, other than your shared experiences with him. Particularly since you all protest loudly that most of what he talked about never really happened. Of course if you have lots of experience with the Second and Third Attention and that part is true based on your experience, I might be wrong.

On a more humanistic level, every student criticises his teacher at some point. It is part of the process and I can guarantee that it doesn't mean the student has lost all respect and love for the teacher. Elevating it to the status of some kind of betrayal or egomania is just more of the old disappointment coming out. Just as saying that Carlos having sex constitutes some kind of human rights violation (maybe you could call it " would be warrior rape" instead of date rape or something like it) or that because he made money publishing his books he is some kind of cosmic traitor to warriorship or sanity.

Other than Chris Rodgers and Calixto whose vitriolic spew does nothing, most of the other SA members are and do perform a valuable service for those who,inspite of all the protestations to the contrary, still believe that CC has something valuable to say to those who really want to live a warrior's life, no matter how many times it just does not seem to be working. You have truly challenged some long held assumptions that have caused me to reassess my whole understanding of what I beleived or think CC was doing. I appreciate that and in this kind of weird internet way feel somewhat connected to your paths. Once the emotive issues have calmed and the true critical intelligence actually manifests, what CC and co is doing well may have some real meaning. The same intuitive sense that attracts me to DJ attracts me to the analysis presented here. You raise hard issues that require hard thinking and the suspension of credulity. Please continue.

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Corey Donovan
Date: 12/9/99

Point wrote: >>>>You have truly challenged some long held assumptions that have caused me to reassess my whole understanding of what I beleived or think CC was doing. I appreciate that and in this kind of weird internet way feel somewhat connected to your paths. Once the emotive issues have calmed and the true critical intelligence actually manifests, what CC and co is doing well may have some real meaning. The same intuitive sense that attracts me to DJ attracts me to the analysis presented here. You raise hard issues that require hard thinking and the suspension of credulity. Please continue.<<<<

Thank you for your kind words regarding the aspects of this site that you have found useful. That's what the info here is intended for--so that people for whom this path has been important can factor in the information that did not become readily available until Castaneda's death (and which is still being compiled) and come to their own conclusions and ways of incorporating Castaneda's material into their lives.

Point also stated:>>>>It is very difficult for me to believe that CC's criticism of DJ, if thats what it was, is truly understood by the SA people. Without direct experience of the Second or Third Attention, you can't really know if what CC is saying is a true observation or whether he is really dissing his teacher. Obviously the SA types, who have unequivocally stated that CC is totally full of it and that DJ didn't exist or that in any event CC made up most or all of it seems to eliminate you from any knowledgable criticism of what CC purported to have done or understood, other than your shared experiences with him. Particularly since you all protest loudly that most of what he talked about never really happened. Of course if you have lots of experience with the Second and Third Attention and that part is true based on your experience, I might be wrong.<<<<

Here's my problem with your problem. The terms Second and Third Attention were coined by Castaneda. At various times he described them in different ways so as to include concepts that other people and traditions have described as "alternate realities" or "altered states" and the like, but he also included a lot of descriptions and features that were pretty unique to his writings (e.g., the black world where you age more quickly, the yellow sulphur world, and the wall of yellow fog that one has to pierce in order to enter the Second Attention).

I have certainly had altered state kinds of experiences that caused me to be willing to suspend judgment with respect to Castaneda's writings, but the *only* expert on what Castaneda meant by Second and Third Attention was Castaneda. So *no one* other than him (putting aside his damaged credibility as anything but a darned good storyteller) can authoritatively talk about having had much experience of either the Second or Third Attention. (And since the Third Attention was supposed to be a "one way" trip, I can guarantee you that no one on SA or anywhere else has spent much time there and lived to tell about it.) So it really doesn't work to put down people who legitimately point out the inconsistencies in Castaneda's writings and lectures by saying that we just don't know enough about the Second and Third Attention, because Castaneda very effectively set himself up as the only legitimate authority on those two domains. You might as well put a TM symbol after those phrases. For that reason, they are simply no good as a standard for measuring what anyone else has to say.

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Point
Date: 12/9/99

Based solely on the books, it was safe to assume that the Second and Third Attentions were part of the cosmology taught to Castenada by DJ so I find your contention that they were his sole invention a little difficult to completely accept. You can't unequivocally prove to anyone (except perhaps your cohorts) that he made them up anymore than I can prove he didn't; although you certainly have the advantage of me. I do understand that the basis of your complaint is that he did exactly that. I will also make the disclaimer that I can't match you on a factual basis as I haven't read some of the material in quite some time. This site has inspired me to re-read some of the stuff based on the experiences written about here. I never thought CC was telling the truth about everything but couldn't deny the emotional and intellectual impact his writings had on me. Did you as an associate or student really believe that CC would create the same experiences with or for you that he had with DJ? I find that level of expectation to be very difficult to understand although the attraction for that kind of situation was and still is compelling. I don't mean that question offensively. Life just seems to be too kick ass to think you can jump into alternate perceptions that seemed to be based on the personality mix of teacher and student and utterly unique. The come down from that would be monumental, which I think you have proven it is. I often thought that if that kind of thing were to happen to me in the literal sense that the disciplines would keep it from being such a monumental event that one would factor it into some kind of decipherable event in order not to go insane. I think I have had events like that but they seem so personal and indescribable that talking about them dilutes the true message that is inherent in the experience. If you have ever sat a zen sesshin you realize that the experience is virtually impossible to relate verbally, even to those who are doing the same thing. But it can shake your view of yourself and the world to the core. I am not a zen buddhist by the by.

One last disconnected thought. It has taken me years to read Castenada literally. I always viewed him metaphorically and as privy to a totally unique set of experiences that hasn't yet sorted itself out in a societal context. Even when I read him literally I think some of what he says is really just not true. I thought "The Active Side of Infinity" was his attempt to bring the mandates of warriorship into the world of conventional reality and some of that stuff sounds so preposterous no one could believe it; like the mink coat and car story. Still I laughed like crazy about it. If I tried that approach I would have so much work making it up to people it would take me a hundred lifetimes. I just wouldn't even consider it.

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/10/99

Point says:

"Based solely on the books, it was safe to assume that the Second and Third Attentions were part of the cosmology taught to Castenada by DJ so I find your contention that they were his sole invention a little difficult to completely accept."

Based solely on the books it is safe to assume that the Second and Third Attentions were part of the cosmology taught to the Character Castaneda in the books by the Character DJ in the books. So far there is no independent corroboration or evidence of any kind outside the books and the assertions of Castaneda (the man not the character) and his friends that DJ existed. Of course, if the books were accurate it's unlikely that there would be any such corroboration.

Nevertheless, either I'm missing something or you are going in circles. If we don't know for sure whether or not don Juan existed, then it seems a bit premature to say that the concept of the Second and Third Attentions were not Castaneda's sole inventions and to justify that assertion using the books, where it clearly says that he got these ideas from DJ.

The problem is that aside from the books and the assertions of Castaneda and his colleagues (and copycats) there is no independent account of DJ's existence (aside form the claims of people like Merilyn Tunneshende). So you're assuming what you're trying to establish--that the books describe real realms of awareness as taught by an old Indian sorcerer.

Here's a funny thought. Suppose we accept that the books can only be judged accurately by someone who has experienced the third attention. Now suppose that there is no such thing as the third attention. Then you have a situation such as follows: If somone has not experienced the third attention then he/she cannot accurately judge Castaneda's books. No one has ever experienced the third attention. If that is the case then the statement "If somone has not experienced the third attention then he/she cannot accurately judge Castaneda's books" is true, because it is a conditional with a false antecedent. A conditional with a false antecedent is always true, because a conditional only says IF X THEN Y. If X is false the statement is true whether Y is true or false. Thus it's possible for that statement to be true at the same time that there is a world full of people who are perfectly capable of evaluating Castaneda's work.

Ain't logic a trip?

"You can't unequivocally prove to anyone (except perhaps your cohorts) that he made them up anymore than I can prove he didn't; although you certainly have the advantage of me."

Continuing on our logical train of thought... To unequivocally prove anything requires an extremely stringent set of conditions--so stringent that in general only trivial categorical claims (e.g., all humans are mortal, Socrates is a human, therefore Socrates is mortal) and theorems within the framework of an axiomatic system can ever be proved unequivocally. So you're (trivially) right. Corey can't prove anything about Castaneda unequivocally (not even to his cohorts).

But he can make some very strong probabalistic arguments based on some very solid evidence and a few highly plausible assumptions that it is highly unlikely that don Juan was anything other than a fictional character. Of course it could turn out that we're wrong (after all, this conclusion is not certain, only highly probably). Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Later,

Lonnie

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Re: reply to Diana - a further note
From: Lonnie
Date: 12/11/99

From Point: "Your points are well taken."

Well, you should know :-)

"You are obviously more logically consistent than I am. So what in your view is the fundamental question? Did DJ exist or didn't he? That seems to be quite an important point that is largely unprovable as you logically point out. My continuing assumptions are that what CC is talking about are quality of life issues based on certain habitual perceptual patterns and misguided self interest, not logic pop quizzes."

I agree that logical pop quizzes are not the point. I just keep hearing so many of the same things over and over that I thought I'd mention some things that are consistently overlooked. First of all whether or not the world is magical (whatever that may mean to you) does not depend on the veracity of Carlos Castaneda and his writings. That something cannot be established or refuted with deductive certainty doesn't mean that it can't be evaluated in a reasonable way. The vast majority of our decisions are based on what we judge to be highly likely rather than what we know with certainty. If one doesn't like another's ideas it is very easy to try to discredit him personally rather than go to the extra work (and risk) of actually addressing them. This is not aimed at you; these are general observations.

Whether or not it's so important whether DJ existed sort of depends. I mean if I had spent any time flying around the bosque in the shape of a crow recently the point would be (for me) entirely moot. Of course, I could start messing around with Datura (it grows in abundance around here)--but, nah, I don't think so. So in the face of experiences that are somewhat less compelling (in the case of every single person I have spoken to) and much more open to interpretation than those described in the books, one steps backs and asks--what is the evidence that there really was a don Juan. If you read the chronologies (how terribly linear!) you might come to some view about that. Of course the chronologies don't prove anything in the same sense in which you can prove that in a Euclidean universe parallel lines never meet. But they make a pretty strong case, which says, essentially, there is as yet no independent corroboration that there ever was a don Juan and, further, there are inconsistencies in the chronology as reported by Castaneda versus what can be gleaned from the people who knew him at during the period when he was supposed to be studying with don Juan. Of course, if you believe the stories in the books of Vicente and Genaro using their doubles to be in two places at once then the chronologies won't be all that compelling to you.

Point

"SA's complaints are about how CC suckered people, seduced the naive, exploited people for money but even so was an entertaining ranconteur and story teller. SA says that CC was fundamentally a liar and a phoney. From an experiential pov, my thoughts are that for what CC to have represented to be "real" it must be based on experiential reality in order for them to be genuine. In other words, DJ must have existed for what CC taught to have any meaning to those of us who want to live some kind of warrior's life. If DJ existed and CC just misprepresented the teachings because he didn't quite get it is one issue. I can understand that. If he made it up it is another. Then it is just entertaining fiction. I mean this as something that someone experiences, not just whether the logic works. Pardon my obviousness, but reading about eating a meal doesn't affect me experientially in the same way that eating one does."

Well I think I've made it clear where I stand on that. I think the books are entertaining fiction that contain a mixture of ideas, some of which are beautiful and profound, others of which are downright poisonous. Then there's the gray area. Let's take one for example: having to believe. As the idea is presented in "Journey to Ixtlan" as a sort of hermeneutic rule of thumb. In the story of the cat who was being taken to be put down, the cat escapes. There is a moment of understanding that takes place between Carlos and the cat. He says that he doesn't know whether or not the cat survived on its own. Don Juan tells him that he "has to believe" that it did. In the face of uncertainty, you are free to believe the thing that lifts and supports your spirit rather than the thing that makes you feel weak and futile.

I agree with that idea. But here's how (in my perception) the idea is being used today. In the face of clear evidence that Carlos died you have to believe that it was some supreme stalking maneuver. In the face of people who knew Carol when she was supposedly in the second attention--not to mention a trail of documented diplomas, marriage and divorce certificates, and so on--you have to believe that Carol Tiggs is the nagual woman, somehow fused, now, with the Death Defier, passed through some "gateway to the dimensions" and spent ten years (local time) elsewhere....and on and on and on.

If you come to a point where you begin to find all this hard to swallow, then you are taken over by the flyers, sadly chained to your little linear world, obsessed with reductionist science, a puppet of the social order...and on and on and on and on.

Point:

"I believe the SA group had too high expectations, were embarrasingly naive and were totally materialistic about what CC was teaching. Asking for just one alternate reality experience to prove he was "right" is just futile. Why would they have believed it anyway? Neither are they the spokesman for the so called victims of Castenada just because they say so."

It seems that you are headed in the direction I just (above) described. It's not just a matter of say so. There is stuff you can check out for yourself. Also, have you considered that some of the so-called victims might be on the list?

"Experientially I believe that SA can't really be argued with; also experientially they didn't go far enough and their expectations were too high and unrealistic. Ultimately, we all have to make the decision for ourselves, with no corroboration from our friends and family, that we are on the warrior's path, whatever that is. I think this whole process was so much harder than anyone thought it would be that when the reality hit came it all looked like a big con. Maybe it is, but who actually is conning who is more the question. But that is my experience and I can't prove it. There is no more reason for me to think that SA's contentions are true than I can that Castenada's are. But I can say that CC's books open conceptual doorways and SA's comments shut them down."

Who knows? Maybe the stories in the books could happen. I don't see any harm in reading the books, doing a few passes, and imagining that it's all true. And it's also true that we modern humanoid types tend to expect to much out of too little in many cases. But if you are looking at undertaking a discipline that requires some 30 years to produce the extraordinary results which (if you're willing to be honest about it) were the reason you wanted to pursue the discipline in the first place, you might want a platform to start from that is a bit less shaky than the one provided by CC and company.

I disagree, by the way, that "SA's comments" shut down any conceptual doorways--for the reasons that I presented above.

Regards,

Lonnie

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