Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks to All Ye Bastards

I received a pleasing response from all you bastards out there, and now most of my Paper Tigers are gone. There are about 20 copies left, so since I don't plan on doing another print-run any time soon, your chance to grab one is rapidly receding into non-existence. (A couple of years from now, however, it may be selling for $500 on ebay.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Don Juan Was An Existential Detective

Here's some excerpts from an old interview with Carlos Castaneda that pertain nicely to SWEDA. Full Interview here.

CASTANEDA: Don Juan thinks that what he calls seeing is apprehending the world without any interpretation; it is pure wondering perception. Sorcery is a means to this end. To break the certainty that the world is the way you have always been taught you must learn a new description of the world--sorcery--and then hold the old and the new together. Then you will see that neither description is final. At that moment you slip between the descriptions; you stop the world and see. You are left with wonder; the true wonder of seeing the world without interpretation.

KEEN: Do you think it is possible to get beyond interpretation by using psychedelic drugs?

CASTANEDA: I don't think so. That is my quarrel with people like Timothy Leary. I think he was improvising from within the European membership and merely rearranging old glosses. I have never taken LSD, but what I gather from don Juan's teachings is that psychotropics are used to stop the flow of ordinary interpretations, to enhance the contradictions within the glosses, and to shatter certainty. But the drugs alone do not allow you to stop the world. To do that you need an alternative description of the world. That is why don Juan had to teach me sorcery.

KEEN: There is an ordinary reality that we Western people are certain is 'the' only world, and then there is is the separate reality of the sorcerer. What are the essential differences between them?

CASTANEDA: In European membership the world is built largely from what the eyes report to the mind. In sorcery the total body is used as a perceptor. As Europeans we see a world out there and talk to ourselves about it. We are here and the world is there. Our eyes feed our reason and we have no direct knowledge of things. According to sorcery this burden on the eyes in unnecessary. We know with the total body.

KEEN: Western man begins with the assumption that subject and object are separated. We're isolated from the world and have to cross some gap to get to it. For don Juan and the tradition of sorcery, the body is already in the world. We are united with the world, not alienated from it.

CASTANEDA: That's right. Sorcery has a different theory of embodiment. The problem in sorcery is to tune and trim your body to make it a good receptor. Europeans deal with their bodies as if they were objects. We fill them with alcohol, Bad food, and anxiety. When something goes wrong we think germs have invaded the body from outside and so we import some medicine to cure it. The disease is not a part of us. Don Juan doesn't believe that. For him disease is a disharmony between a man and his world. The body is an awareness and it must be treated impeccably.


KEEN: Do you think don Juan lives in this state of awareness most of the time?

CASTANEDA: Yes. He lives in magical time and occasionally comes into ordinary time. I live in ordinary time and occasionally dip into magical time.

KEEN: Anyone who travels so far from the beaten paths of consensus must be very lonely.

CASTANEDA: I think so. Don Juan lives in an awesome world and he has left routine people far behind. Once when I was with don Juan and his friend don Genaro I saw the loneliness they shared and their sadness at leaving behind the trappings and points of reference of ordinary society. I think don Juan turns his loneliness into art. He contains and controls his power, the wonder and the loneliness, and turns them into art. His art is the metaphorical way in which he lives. This is why his teachings have such a dramatic flavor and unity. He deliberately constructs his life and his manner of teaching.


CASTANEDA: Don Juan used psychotropic plants only in the middle period of my apprenticeship because I was so stupid, sophisticated and cocky. I held on to my description of the world as if it were the only truth. Psychotropics created a gap in my system of glosses. They destroyed my dogmatic certainty. But I paid a tremendous price. When the glue that held my world together was dissolved, my body was weakened and it took months to recuperate. I was anxious and functioned at a very low level.

KEEN: Does don Juan regularly use psychotropic drugs to stop the world?

CASTANEDA: No. He can now stop it at will. He told me that for me to try to see without the aid of psychotropic plants would be useless. But if I behaved like a warrior and assumed responsibility I would not need them; they would only weaken my body.


KEEN: You now minimize the importance of the psychedelic experience connected with your apprenticeship. And you don't seem to go around doing the kind of tricks you describe as the sorcerer's stock-in-trade. What are the elements of don Juan's teachings that are important for you? Have you been changed by them?

CASTANEDA: For me the ideas of being a warrior and a man of knowledge, with the eventual hope of being able to stop the world and see, have been the most applicable. They have given me peace and confidence in my ability to control my life. At the time I met don Juan I had very little personal power. My life had been very erratic. I had come a long way from my birthplace in Brazil. Outwardly I was aggressive and cocky, but within I was indecisive and unsure of myself. I was always making excuses for myself. Don Juan once accused me of being a professional child because I was so full of self-pity. I felt like a leaf in the wind. Like most intellectuals, my back was against the wall. I had no place to go. I couldn't see any way of life that really excited me. I thought all I could do was make a mature adjustment to a life of boredom or find ever more complex forms of entertainment such as the use of psychedelics and pot and sexual adventures. All of this was exaggerated by my habit of introspection. I was always looking within and talking to myself. The inner dialogue seldom stopped. Don Juan turned my eyes outward and taught me to accumulate personal power.

I don't think there is any other way to live if one wants to be exuberant.


KEEN: In the existential tradition, discussions of responsibility usually follow discussion of death.

CASTANEDA: Then don Juan is a good existentialist. When there is no way of knowing whether I have one more minute of life. I must live as if this is my last moment. Each act is the warrior's last battle. So everything must be done impeccably. Nothing can be left pending. This idea has been very freeing for me. I am here talking to you and I may never return to Los Angeles. But that wouldn't matter because I took care of everything before I came.

KEEN: This world of death and decisiveness is a long way from psychedelic utopias in which the vision of endless time destroys the tragic quality of choice.

CASTANEDA: When death stands to your left you must create your world by a series of decisions. There are no large or small decisions, only decisions that must be made now. And there is no time for doubts or remorse. If I spend my time regretting what I did yesterday I avoid the decisions I need to make today.


KEEN: There seem to be many parallels between existential philosophy and don Juan's teachings. What you have said about decision and gesture suggests that don Juan, like Nietzsche or Sartre, believes that will rather than reason is the most fundamental faculty of man.

CASTANEDA: I think that is right. Let me speak for myself. What I want to do, and maybe I can accomplish it, is to take the control away from my reason. My mind has been in control all of my life and it would kill me rather than relinquish control. At one point in my apprenticeship I became profoundly depressed. I was overwhelmed with terror and gloom and thoughts about suicide. Then don Juan warned me this was one of reason's tricks to retain control. He said my reason was making my body feel that there was no meaning in life. Once my mind waged this last battle and lost, reason began to assume its proper place as a tool of the body.

KEEN: "The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of" and so does the rest of the body.

CASTANEDA: That is the point. The body has a will of its own. Or rather, the will is the voice of the body. That is why don Juan consistently put his teachings in dramatic form. My intellect could easily dismiss his world of sorcery as nonsense. But my body was attracted to his world and his way of life. And once the body took over, a new and healthier reign was established.


CASTANEDA: It has been this element of engagement in the world that has kept me following the path which don Juan showed me. There is no need to transcend the world. Everything we need to know is right in front of us, if we pay attention. If you enter a state of nonordinary reality, as you do when you use psychotropic plants, it is only to draw back from it what you need in order to see the miraculous character of ordinary reality. For me the way to live--the path with heart--is not introspection or mystical transcendence but presence in the world. This world is the warrior's hunting ground.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Buy My Book You Bastards

Only four copies been sold so far. And some of you guys still think I'm a Somebody in this Town!?

All copies are signed and come with a free JK DNA sample.

SWEDA Mythic Narrative Series, No.1

Order it today at this blog site.

Over there >>>>

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010


Here's a transcript of my last exchange with john de ruiter, for those who are interested:

Jason: Hello, John. My name is Jason. We met once in London. A big part of me didn’t want to come here tonight. I think you know why. I feel like knowing you has cost me everything. But, there’s no going back, now that I do know you. So I’ve been asking myself, what do I want to ask John? Why do I want to speak to John? What does my person want here when my person knows that there’s nothing here for it. It seems like the only reason I would want to speak to you is for some sort of pain relief, even though I know that there’s not going to be any of that. So then the only other thing I can think is that I want a personal connection to you or I want to discover if there is a personal connection, if such a thing it possible, or if it matters. I had an absent father who was not present and, so there’s a big hole in my life and you were big enough to fill that hole. You have visited me in my dreams, you have taken me into your own realms, and so I feel that in a sense like I’m yours, but I know it’s not about you the person, or you the man, but a way that you embody. And I don’t know if this is leading to a question or not I’m just… Maybe I’d like if possible for you to ask a question because I feel that I trust you more than I trust myself to ask the right question, if that’s possible.

(5 minute silence)

John: You have been awakened, awakened to the profound reality within. It moves you, by your own awareness in it ~ it apprehends you. You know it’s bigger than all of the self that you’re accustomed to. More than your self, it’s more than your person and your life. You’ve been awakened to greater reality within. Once awakened to that you are also called to that. You have yet to apprehend that within that has already apprehended you. You have yet to surrender to your own deeper, real knowledge within. You see into much more than what your self is of and what your life is of. There won’t be, as you know, any rest for you until you are surrendered and completely at rest in all that within that you know the truth of. You already know that your surface existence doesn’t belong to your surface existence. It belongs to your knowing and to your seeing. This that your knowing isn’t an interesting category within yourself that you can bring into your life to add greater meaning. This that your knowing and seeing and in touch with within is what you come from. It is what you completely belong to. Everything that’s yours belongs to the same that you belong to.

Jason: I do know this. I’ve known it for a long time but knowing and understanding are not the same, and I knew it for many years but I didn’t understand it and so I tried to make it mine and I tried to make it an interesting category in my life and I tried to turn myself into The One, or the Messiah, or the Anti-Christ, pulled it down into my person and it became a great distortion, a false awakening. And now I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. It seems like I’m not supposed to do anything, but it also feels like I’m waiting for something and what I’m waiting for is, whatever words I gave it would still be completely abstract, and so whatever it is that’s most real for me is you. So then it feels like I’m waiting for you, or that I’m waiting on you, or that you’re waiting on me. I.. so again this personal, this need to make it personal. Am I waiting for something? Is there anything that I need to do?

(three minute silence)

John: This within that you’re awakened to, as you know, doesn’t come from your self. Meaning then, that your response to it isn’t going to be about your self. It’s going to be all about what you know within, this already is. It isn’t going to be about your person or your life. Your lack of understanding of what your calling within is all about doesn’t hinder your surrender to it. You don’t need further understanding for you to surrender to, belong to, enter and be this that calls you within. Understanding of what you know the truth of within doesn’t come before to be turned into it. For you to figure it out first from a distance, it will only reinforce and solidify that distance. What closes the distance within is the response in your heart to this. There is, if there is any waiting, it is the waiting of your own heart’s agreement that you know the truth of, not a mental agreement ~ a full heart agreement, a full heart surrender. Real knowledge within is all in your heart, no longer being separate from what you know the truth of with your whole heart given to real knowledge. Your own soul, with all of your heart, to be loving the implications. The implications within yourself, your person and your life, of your turning into what you know. All of your forms will be occupied with waves of change instead of being aligned to likes and dislikes. As awareness you’ll be aligned to knowing. When you’re aligned to knowing then it is meaning that you are. Being that that meaning is. With all of your forms being there to access it.

Jason: When you say forms do you mean forms of action or what exactly?

John: Form of your being, form of your self, form of your person, the form of your whole life all belonging to you. Meaning there will be no disagreement anywhere within with meaning and knowing.

Jason: When you use the word ‘knowledge’ do you mean something different from when you use the word “knowing’?

John: Knowledge is what meaning knowing has.

Jason: So when you speak of knowledge you’re speaking of self-knowledge, of my person?

John: Not of your person, not even of your self. Knowledge of that that’s deeper than both and it’s within you. As soon as what you first are moves, as soon as meaning moves you have real knowledge. You’re aware of it in your self and in your person. It doesn’t make any difference at all what you’re being. That knowledge within first is. Despite anything that you’re being in your self this knowledge within is. It doesn’t change. It isn’t subject to your self, it isn’t subject to anything that you’re being, it isn’t subject to your life, it isn’t for anything that you’ve been living for, it isn’t for anything that you’ve been living as, it simply is there within you. Your reaction to it or your separation from it doesn’t change it. This first knowledge within is incorruptible. You can cover it but you can’t alter it. It resonates clear through anything you put on top of it. This knowing is you. You are waiting for you to agree with you. The you that you’re accustomed to within your self is you as awareness- separate from that within that you first are- you separate from you. A split of awareness manifesting as a split in your heart. What you give your heart to isn’t the same as the deepest that you know the truth of in your heart. In your heart you’re holding out from you own heart, from your own deeper heart. The split continues into all of your self, within all of your person.

Jason: Thank you, John.

John: What are you going to do?

Jason: I’m going to agree with my self.

John: And that won’t be making meaningful decisions. It will be meaning making decisions. Your decisions as meaning will be uncharacteristic to what self you had. You will be that way. You’re entire self will change. The very patterning of your self won’t remain the same. You’ll be meaning that has a being. A meaning with being that has a self. A meaning-being-self in person moving through life, doing from within that that you first are. You won’t be governed anymore by emotions and will, feeling. Meaning-you, Meaning-knowing will be covering, integrating everything that you haven’t integrated yet. A massive clean, clear growing up of the innermost outwards manifesting an entire life. Being that which you are born for. Meaning the full, complete coming into you.

Jason: I see a flower opening.

John: It will petal your life instead of want and need doing so. You’ll be meeting every threshold in your self that you’ve been running away from. You’ll be healing every line within, every line of knowing that you’ve crossed. In a living way you’ll be healing yourself. You’ll be setting your self beautifully right.

Jason: I couldn’t have done it without you, John.

John: You’ll be as awareness, freeing yourself of bondage of unreason, freeing your self of the habitual misuse of reason. You’ll be freeing your self of the addiction to the misuse of reason. You’ll be setting your mind right. You’ll be thinking as reasonableness. You’ll be thinking with the sensitivity that love has. Your mind and your deep heart will be by you made to be congruent. Softness of heart with a sharp mind. Openness of heart with the will brought to one fine point, moved by meaning.

Jason: When you speak of the sharp mind I think of a sword, and I think of Christ saying that he brought the sword and not peace, and I think of how I’ve been a warrior for my whole adult life, until recently, when I felt it was time to put down my arms and surrender. Am I still a warrior?

(ten minute silence)

Jason: Thank you, John.