'There Will be No Scandals'
By David Worrell

Check out this old quote from the Details interview, where Bruce Wagner is "interviewing Castaneda":

"After thirty years, there is still no price on his head. He has no interest in gurus or guruism; there will be no turbo Bentleys, no ranches of turbaned devotees, no guest-edit of Paris Vogue. There will be no Castaneda Institute, no Center for Advanced Sorcery Studies, no Academy of Dreaming--no infomercials, mushrooms, or Tantric sex. There will be no biographies and there will be no scandals. When he's invited to lecture, Castaneda receives no fee and offers to pay his travel fare. The gate is usually a few dollars, to cover rental of the hall. All that is asked of attendees is their total attention."

This is the "man" who interested me in a new way of being. I used to think Castaneda was soooo special, in just the above way. For years, I'd planned to write an article called "Where is Carlos Castaneda?" I'd planned to write that article after his mysterious disappearance from the face of the earth, you see. But notice that this "man" above is long gone, and we know where too--and the above paragraph is now almost a parody because so many of those things mirror a jaded reality. Short of the guest-edit and the infomercials, pretty much all of the rest of it has "come due." There are the crowds of t-shirted devotees, there was Cleargreen, Inc., Toltec Artists, the Center for Enhanced Perception or whatever. There were the new cars, the drugs and the sex and the lies and the videotape and scandals and lawsuits and court battles . . . and through it all LOTS of money changing hands. . ..

Sheesh, I even played spin-meister for this dog and pony show. And there's a long laundry list of "issues" that just go on and on, things that don't feel right--too many things--many of which still have not been fully addressed, and everyone still tries to sweep them under the rug. Way too much has gone down for people to be acting like everything Castaneda said was gospel, but many still are. Others seem to be busy trying to scrape together some pathetic new farce to replace a majestic old one.

Well, this is about the third or fourth time I've seen this sort of thing in my life, so maybe I'm just getting too old for this shit. And every time I walk away from one of these "scenes"--every time--there's always a collection of yahoo's back there over my shoulder, telling me how they've seen the "home universe" or the "buddhas of the ages" or some such thing. Never fails. I'm starting to wonder if the human race is best characterized as a "bullshit factory," which, once in a while, almost by accident, uncovers a few things which aren't bullshit, only to immediately wrap those few things back up tightly in a nice warm blanket of fresh bullshit. Anyone that knows me knows that it's almost impossible to squeeze a truly cynical thought out of me, but . . . here comes one: maybe that's the whole process of life, about the time you finally figure out that everything people do is bullshit, you die. :-) Doesn't everybody know, bullshit also takes a lifetime? LOL.

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No, see that's just an amusing exaggeration. Perhaps a good definition of cynicism would be: an indulgent exaggeration, with a grain of truth . . .

On and off over the last decade I've done a fair amount of dreaming myself, and sure, a lot of it was really cool, and yet . . . in the end I'm having to ask myself if it's really that big a deal. Yes, it's plain one can become better and better at it, like anything else one is willing to put the time into and work at. But the delusion may lie in believing one is doing anything outside of one's own little world. It may well be rather like having your own virtual reality chamber or something, a way to model your own ideas and fantasies, you know, like the people on Star Trek have. In other words, dreaming may be the equivalent of an amazing, fun, and novel way to masturbate. Thus, perhaps it's a mistake to make it the main focus of one's life.

A woman came up to me in the street today, in the rain, crying real tears and pleading very emotionally and sincerely with me to give her some money for food because she'd just lost her home. I scrambled to give her everything I could get my hands on before the light changed, and barely stopped myself from driving back around to give her a fucking credit card or my car or something (often I won't give a beggar anything). My inner voice said to leave it, though. The strange thing that in the end scared me about it was that for some reason it was actually an exciting and pleasing experience for me. Strangely, it made me feel alive and vital, and it took me a while to figure out that it was because . . . it was the first time in what seemed like years that I could remember an adult human being being sincerely and emotionally honest and open with me. . ..