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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 10,662
Loc: On the Border
The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda
    #7010838 - 06/05/07 06:39 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Here is a decided anti-Castaneda article from Salon Magazine that I found. While I think it is slanted, it does give some interesting interpretations of Carlos Castaneda and his "friends". Once again take it as fact or as fiction or not at all....it is mostly just thoughtful entertainment.


http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/04/12/castaneda/

The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda

The godfather of the New Age led a secretive
group of devoted followers in the last decade of
his life. His closest "witches" remain missing,
and former insiders, offering new details,
believe the women took their own lives.

By Robert Marshall

Apr. 12, 2007


For fans of the literary con, it's been a great
few years. Currently, we have Richard Gere
starring as Clifford Irving in "The Hoax," a film
about the '70s novelist who penned a faux
autobiography of Howard Hughes. We've had the
unmasking of James Frey, JT LeRoy/Laura Albert
and Harvard's Kaavya Viswanathan, who plagiarized
large chunks of her debut novel, forcing her
publisher, Little, Brown and Co., to recall the
book. Much has been written about the slippery
boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, the
publishing industry's responsibility for
distinguishing between the two, and the potential
damage to readers. There's been, however, hardly
a mention of the 20th century's most successful
literary trickster: Carlos Castaneda.

If this name draws a blank for readers under 30,
all they have to do is ask their parents. Deemed
by Time magazine the "Godfather of the New Age,"
Castaneda was the literary embodiment of the
Woodstock era. His 12 books, supposedly based on
meetings with a mysterious Indian shaman, don
Juan, made the author, a graduate student in
anthropology, a worldwide celebrity. Admirers
included John Lennon, William Burroughs, Federico Fellini and Jim Morrison.

Under don Juan's tutelage, Castaneda took peyote,
talked to coyotes, turned into a crow, and
learned how to fly. All this took place in what
don Juan called "a separate reality." Castaneda,
who died in 1998, was, from 1971 to 1982, one of
the best-selling nonfiction authors in the
country. During his lifetime, his books sold at least 10 million copies.

Castaneda was viewed by many as a compelling
writer, and his early books received
overwhelmingly positive reviews. Time called them
"beautifully lucid" and remarked on a "narrative
power unmatched in other anthropological
studies." They were widely accepted as factual,
and this contributed to their success. Richard
Jennings, an attorney who became closely involved
with Castaneda in the '90s, was studying at
Stanford in the early '70s when he read the first
two don Juan books. "I was a searcher," he
recently told Salon. "I was looking for a real
path to other worlds. I wasn't looking for metaphors."

The books' status as serious anthropology went
almost unchallenged for five years. Skepticism
increased in 1972 after Joyce Carol Oates, in a
letter to the New York Times, expressed
bewilderment that a reviewer had accepted
Castaneda's books as nonfiction. The next year,
Time published a cover story revealing that
Castaneda had lied extensively about his past.
Over the next decade, several researchers, most
prominently Richard de Mille, son of the
legendary director, worked tirelessly to
demonstrate that Castaneda's work was a hoax.

In spite of this exhaustive debunking, the don
Juan books still sell well. The University of
California Press, which published Castaneda's
first book, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui
Way of Knowledge," in 1968, steadily sells 7,500
copies a year. BookScan, a Nielsen company that
tracks book sales, reports that three of
Castaneda's most popular titles, "A Separate
Reality," "Journey to Ixtlan" and "Tales of
Power," sold a total of 10,000 copies in 2006.
None of Castaneda's titles have ever gone out of
print -- an impressive achievement for any author.

Today, Simon and Schuster, Castaneda's main
publisher, still classifies his books as
nonfiction. It could be argued that this label
doesn't matter since everyone now knows don Juan
was a fictional creation. But everyone doesn't,
and the trust that some readers have invested in
these books leads to a darker story that has
received almost no coverage in the mainstream press.

Castaneda, who disappeared from the public view
in 1973, began in the last decade of his life to
organize a secretive group of devoted followers.
His tools were his books and Tensegrity, a
movement technique he claimed had been passed
down by 25 generations of Toltec shamans. A
corporation, Cleargreen, was set up to promote
Tensegrity; it held workshops attended by
thousands. Novelist and director Bruce Wagner, a
member of Castaneda's inner circle, helped
produce a series of instructional videos.
Cleargreen continues to operate to this day,
promoting Tensegrity and Castaneda's teachings
through workshops in Southern California, Europe and Latin America.

At the heart of Castaneda's movement was a group
of intensely devoted women, all of whom were or
had been his lovers. They were known as the
witches, and two of them, Florinda Donner-Grau
and Taisha Abelar, vanished the day after
Castaneda's death, along with Cleargreen
president Amalia Marquez and Tensegrity
instructor Kylie Lundahl. A few weeks later,
Patricia Partin, Castaneda's adopted daughter as
well as his lover, also disappeared. In February
2006, a skeleton found in Death Valley, Calif.,
was identified through DNA analysis as Partin's.

Some former Castaneda associates suspect the
missing women committed suicide. They cite
remarks the women made shortly before vanishing,
and point to Castaneda's frequent discussion of
suicide in private group meetings. Achieving
transcendence through a death nobly chosen, they
maintain, had long been central to his teachings.

Castaneda was born in 1925 and came to the United
States in 1951 from Peru. He'd studied sculpture
at the School of Fine Arts in Lima and hoped to
make it as an artist in the United States. He
worked a series of odd jobs and took classes at
Los Angeles Community College in philosophy,
literature and creative writing. Most who knew
him then recall a brilliant, hilarious
storyteller with mesmerizing brown eyes. He was
short (some say 5-foot-2; others 5-foot-5) and
self-conscious about having his picture taken.
Along with his then wife Margaret Runyan (whose
memoir, "A Magical Journey With Carlos
Castaneda," he would later try to suppress) he became fascinated by the occult.

According to Runyan, she and Castaneda would hold
long bull sessions, drinking wine with other
students. One night a friend remarked that
neither the Buddha nor Jesus ever wrote anything
down. Their teachings had been recorded by
disciples, who could have changed things or made
them up. "Carlos nodded, as if thinking
carefully," wrote Runyan. Together, she and
Castaneda conducted unsuccessful ESP experiments.
Runyan worked for the phone company, and
Castaneda's first attempt at a book was an
uncompleted nonfiction manuscript titled "Dial Operator."

In 1959, Castaneda enrolled at UCLA, where he
signed up for California ethnography with
archaeology professor Clement Meighan. One of the
assignments was to interview an Indian. He got an
"A" for his paper, in which he spoke to an
unnamed Native American about the ceremonial use
of jimson weed. But Castaneda was broke and soon
dropped out. He worked in a liquor store and
drove a taxi. He began to disappear for days at a
time, telling Runyan he was going to the desert.
The couple separated, but soon afterward
Castaneda adopted C.J., the son Runyan had had
with another man. And, for seven years, he worked
on the manuscript that was to become "The Teachings of Don Juan."

"The Teachings" begins with a young man named
Carlos being introduced at an Arizona bus stop to
don Juan, an old Yaqui Indian whom he's told "is
very learned about plants." Carlos tries to
persuade the reluctant don Juan to teach him
about peyote. Eventually he relents, allowing
Carlos to ingest the sacred cactus buds. Carlos
sees a transparent black dog, which, don Juan
later tells him, is Mescalito, a powerful
supernatural being. His appearance is a sign that
Carlos is "the chosen one" who's been picked to receive "the teachings."

"The Teachings" is largely a dialogue between don
Juan, the master, and Carlos, the student,
punctuated by the ingestion of carefully prepared
mixtures of herbs and mushrooms. Carlos has
strange experiences that, in spite of don Juan's
admonitions, he continues to think of as
hallucinations. In one instance, Carlos turns
into a crow and flies. Afterward, an argument
ensues: Is there such a thing as objective
reality? Or is reality just perceptions and
different, equally valid ways of describing them?
Toward the book's end, Carlos again encounters
Mescalito, whom he now accepts as real, not a hallucination.

In "The Teachings," Castaneda tried to follow the
conventions of anthropology by appending a
50-page "structural analysis." According to
Runyan, his goal was to become a psychedelic
scholar along the lines of Aldous Huxley. He'd
become disillusioned with another hero, Timothy
Leary, who supposedly mocked Castaneda when they
met at a party, earning his lifelong enmity. In
1967, he took his manuscript to professor
Meighan. Castaneda was disappointed when Meighan
told him it would work better as a trade book
than as a scholarly monograph. But following
Meighan's instructions, Castaneda took his
manuscript to the University of California Press'
office in Powell Library, where he showed it to
Jim Quebec. The editor was impressed but had
doubts about its authenticity. Inundated by good
reports from the UCLA anthropology department,
according to Runyan, Quebec was convinced and
"The Teachings" was published in the spring of 1968.

Runyan wrote that "the University of California
Press, fully cognizant that a nation of
drug-infatuated students was out there, moved it
into California bookstores with a vengeance."
Sales exceeded all expectations, and Quebec soon
introduced Castaneda to Ned Brown, an agent whose
clients included Jackie Collins. Brown then put
Castaneda in touch with Michael Korda, Simon and
Schuster's new editor in chief.

In his memoir, "Another Life," Korda recounts
their first meeting. Korda was told to wait in a
hotel parking lot. "A neat Volvo pulled up in
front of me, and the driver waved me in," Korda
writes. "He was a robust, broad-chested, muscular
man, with a swarthy complexion, dark eyes, black
curly hair cut short, and a grin as merry as
Friar Tuck's ... I had seldom, if ever, liked
anybody so much so quickly ... It wasn't so much
what Castaneda had to say as his presence -- a
kind of charm that was partly subtle
intelligence, partly a real affection for people,
and partly a kind of innocence, not of the naive
kind but of the kind one likes to suppose saints,
holy men, prophets and gurus have." The next
morning, Korda set about buying the rights to
"The Teachings." Under his new editor's guidance,
Castaneda published his next three books in quick
succession. In "A Separate Reality," published in
1971, Carlos returns to Mexico to give don Juan a
copy of his new book. Don Juan declines the gift,
suggesting he'd use it as toilet paper. A new
cycle of apprenticeship begins, in which don Juan
tries to teach Carlos how to "see."

New characters appear, most importantly don
Juan's friend and fellow sorcerer don Genaro. In
"A Separate Reality" and the two books that
follow, "Journey to Ixtlan" and "Tales of Power,"
numerous new concepts are introduced, including
"becoming inaccessible," "erasing personal history" and "stopping the world."

There are also displays of magic. Don Genaro is
at one moment standing next to Carlos; at the
next, he's on top of a mountain. Don Juan uses
unseen powers to help Carlos start his stalled
car. And he tries to show him how to be a warrior
-- a being who, like an enlightened Buddhist, has
eliminated the ego, but who, in a more
Nietzschean vein, knows he's superior to regular
humans, who lead wasted, pointless lives. Don
Juan also tries to teach Carlos how to enter the
world of dreams, the "separate reality," also
referred to as the "nagual," a Spanish word taken
from the Aztecs. (Later, Castaneda would shift
the word's meaning, making it stand not only for
the separate reality but also for a shaman, like
don Juan and, eventually, Castaneda himself.)

In "Journey to Ixtlan," Carlos starts a new round
of apprenticeship. Don Juan tells him they'll no
longer use drugs. These were only necessary when
Carlos was a beginner. Many consider "Ixtlan,"
which served as Castaneda's Ph.D. thesis at UCLA,
his most beautiful book. It also made him a
millionaire. At the book's conclusion, Carlos
talks to a luminous coyote. But he isn't yet
ready to enter the nagual. Finally, at the end of
"Tales of Power," don Juan and don Genaro take
Carlos to the edge of a cliff. If he has the
courage to leap, he'll at last be a full-fledged
sorcerer. This time Carlos doesn't turn back. He jumps into the abyss.

- - - - - - - - - - - -


All four books were lavishly praised. Michael
Murphy, a founder of Esalen, remarked that the
"essential lessons don Juan has to teach are the
timeless ones that have been taught by the great
sages of India." There were raves in the New York
Times, Harper's and the Saturday Review.
"Castaneda's meeting with Don Juan," wrote Time's
Robert Hughes, "now seems one of the most
fortunate literary encounters since Boswell was introduced to Dr. Johnson."

In 1972, anthropologist Paul Riesman reviewed
Castaneda's first three books in the New York
Times Book Review, writing that "Castaneda makes
it clear that the teachings of don Juan do tell
us something of how the world really is."
Riesman's article ran in place of a review the
Times had initially commissioned from Weston La
Barre, one of the foremost authorities on Native
American peyote ceremonies. In his unpublished
article, La Barre denounced Castaneda's writing
as "pseudo-profound deeply vulgar pseudo-ethnography."

Contacted recently, Roger Jellinek, the editor
who commissioned both reviews, explained his
decision. "The Weston La Barre review, as I
recall, was not so much a review as a furious ad
hominem diatribe intended to suppress, not
debate, the book," he wrote via e-mail. "By then
I knew enough about Castaneda, from discussions
with Edmund Carpenter, the anthropologist who
first put me on to Castaneda, and from my reading
of renowned shamanism scholar Mircea Eliade in
support of my own review of Castaneda in the
daily New York Times, to feel strongly that 'The
Teachings of Don Juan' deserved more than a
personal put-down. Hence the second commission to
Paul Riesman, son of Harvard sociologist David
Riesman, and a brilliant rising anthropologist.
Incidentally, in all my eight years at the NYTBR,
that's the only occasion I can recall of a review being commissioned twice."

Riesman's glowing review was soon followed by
Oates' letter to the editor, in which she argued
that the books were obvious works of fiction.
Then, in 1973, Time correspondent Sandra Burton
found that Castaneda had lied about his military
service, his father's occupation, his age and his
nation of birth (Peru not Brazil).

No one contributed more to Castaneda's debunking
than Richard de Mille. De Mille, who held a Ph.D.
in psychology from USC, was something of a
freelance intellectual. In a recent interview, he
remarked that because he wasn't associated with a
university, he could tell the story straight.
"People in the academy wouldn't do it," he
remarked. "They'd be embarrassing the
establishment." Specifically the UCLA professors
who, according to de Mille, knew it was a hoax
from the start. But a hoax that, he said,
supported their theories, which de Mille summed
up succinctly: "Reality doesn't exist. It's all what people say to each other."

In de Mille's first exposé, "Castaneda's
Journey," which appeared in 1976, he pointed to
numerous internal contradictions in Castaneda's
field reports and the absence of convincing
details. "During nine years of collecting plants
and hunting animals with don Juan, Carlos learns
not one Indian name for any plant or animal," De
Mille wrote. The books were also filled with
implausible details. For example, while
"incessantly sauntering across the sands in
seasons when ... harsh conditions keep prudent
persons away, Carlos and don Juan go quite
unmolested by pests that normally torment desert hikers."

De Mille also uncovered numerous instances of
plagiarism. "When don Juan opens his mouth," he
wrote, "the words of particular writers come
out." His 1980 compilation, "The Don Juan
Papers," includes a 47-page glossary of
quotations from don Juan and their sources,
ranging from Wittgenstein and C.S. Lewis to
papers in obscure anthropology journals.

In one example, de Mille first quotes a passage
by a mystic, Yogi Ramacharaka: "The Human Aura is
seen by the psychic observer as a luminous cloud,
egg-shaped, streaked by fine lines like stiff
bristles standing out in all directions." In "A
Separate Reality," a "man looks like a human egg
of circulating fibers. And his arms and legs are
like luminous bristles bursting out in all
directions." The accumulation of such instances
leads de Mille to conclude that "Carlos's
adventures originated not in the Sonoran desert
but in the library at UCLA." De Mille convinced
many previously sympathetic readers that don Juan
did not exist. Perhaps the most glaring evidence
was that the Yaqui don't use peyote, and don Juan
was supposedly a Yaqui shaman teaching a "Yaqui
way of knowledge." Even the New York Times came
around, declaring that de Mille's research
"should satisfy anyone still in doubt."

Some anthropologists have disagreed with de Mille
on certain points. J.T. Fikes, author of "Carlos
Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the
Psychedelic Sixties," believes Castaneda did have
some contact with Native Americans. But he's an
even fiercer critic than de Mille, condemning
Castaneda for the effect his stories have had on
Native peoples. Following the publication of "The
Teachings," thousands of pilgrims descended on
Yaqui territory. When they discovered that the
Yaqui don't use peyote, but that the Huichol
people do, they headed to the Huichol homeland in
Southern Mexico, where, according to Fikes, they
caused serious disruption. Fikes recounts with
outrage the story of one Huichol elder being murdered by a stoned gringo.

Among anthropologists, there's no longer a
debate. Professor William W. Kelly, chairman of
Yale's anthropology department, told me, "I doubt
you'll find an anthropologist of my generation
who regards Castaneda as anything but a clever
con man. It was a hoax, and surely don Juan never
existed as anything like the figure of his books.
Perhaps to many it is an amusing footnote to the
gullibility of naive scholars, although to me it
remains a disturbing and unforgivable breach of ethics."

After 1973, the year of the Time exposé,
Castaneda never again responded publicly to
criticism. Instead, he went into seclusion, at
least as far as the press was concerned (he still
went to Hollywood parties). Claiming he was
complying with don Juan's instruction to become
"inaccessible," he no longer allowed himself to
be photographed, and (in the same year the
existence of the Nixon tapes was made public) he
decided that recordings of any sort were
forbidden. He also severed ties to his past;
after attending C.J.'s junior high graduation and
promising to take him to Europe, he soon banished his ex-wife and son.

And he made don Juan disappear. When "The Second
Ring of Power" was published in 1977, readers
learned that sometime between the leap into the
abyss at the end of "Tales of Power" and the
start of the new book, don Juan had vanished,
evanescing into a ball of light and entering the
nagual. His seclusion also helped Castaneda, now
in his late 40s, conceal the alternative family
he was starting to form. The key members were
three young women: Regine Thal, Maryann Simko and
Kathleen "Chickie" Pohlman, whom Castaneda had
met while he was still active at UCLA. Simko was
pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology and was known
around campus as Castaneda's girlfriend. Through
her, Castaneda met Thal, another anthropology
Ph.D. candidate and Simko's friend from karate
class. How Pohlman entered the picture remains unclear.

In 1973, Castaneda purchased a compound on the
aptly named Pandora Avenue in Westwood. The
women, soon to be known both in his group and in
his books as "the witches," moved in. They
eventually came to sport identical short, dyed
blond haircuts similar to those later worn by the
Heaven's Gate cult. They also said they'd studied with don Juan.

In keeping with the philosophy of "erasing
personal history," they changed their names:
Simko became Taisha Abelar; Thal, Florinda
Donner-Grau. Donner-Grau is remembered by many as
Castaneda's equal in intelligence and charisma.
Nicknamed "the hummingbird" because of her
ceaseless energy, she was born in Venezuela to
German parents and claimed to have done research
on the Yanomami Indians. Pohlman was given a
somewhat less glamorous alias: Carol Tiggs.
Donner-Grau and Abelar eventually published their own books on sorcery.

The witches, along with Castaneda, maintained a
tight veil of secrecy. They used numerous aliases
and didn't allow themselves to be photographed.
Followers were told constantly changing stories
about their backgrounds. Only after Castaneda's
death did the real facts about their lives begin
to emerge. This is largely due to the work of three of his ex-followers.

In the early '90s, Richard Jennings, a Columbia
Law graduate, was living in Los Angeles. He was
the executive director of Hollywood Supports, a
nonprofit group organized to fight discrimination
against people with HIV. He'd previously been the
executive director of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian
Alliance Against Defamation. After reading an
article in Details magazine by Bruce Wagner about
a meeting with Castaneda, he became intrigued. By
looking on the Internet, he found his way to one
of the semi-secret workshops being held around
Los Angeles. He was soon invited to participate
in Castaneda's Sunday sessions, exclusive classes
for select followers, where Jennings kept copious
notes. From 1995 to 1998 he was deeply involved
in the group, sometimes advising on legal
matters. After Castaneda's death, he started a
Web site, Sustained Action, for which he compiled
meticulously researched chronologies, dating from
1947 to 1999, of the lives of Patricia Partin and the witches.

Another former insider is Amy Wallace, author of
13 books of fiction and nonfiction, including the
best-selling "Book of Lists," which she
co-authored with her brother David Wallechinksy
and their father, novelist Irving Wallace, also a
client of Korda's. (Amy Wallace has contributed
to Salon.) She first met Castaneda in 1973, while
she was still in high school. Her parents took
her to a dinner party held by agent Ned Brown.
Castaneda was there with Abelar, who then went
under the name Anna-Marie Carter. They talked
with Wallace about her boarding school. Many
years later, Wallace became one of Castaneda's
numerous lovers, an experience recounted in her
memoir, "Sorcerer's Apprentice." Wallace now
lives in East Los Angeles, where she's working on a novel about punk rock.

Gaby Geuter, an author and former travel agent,
had been a workshop attendee who hoped to join
the inner circle. In 1996 she realized she was
being shut out. In an effort to find out the
truth about the guru who'd rejected her, she,
along with her husband, Greg Mamishian, began to
shadow Castaneda. In her book "Filming
Castaneda," she recounts how, from a car parked
near his compound, they secretly videotaped the
group's comings and goings. Were it not for
Geuter there'd be no post-1973 photographic
record of Castaneda, who, as he aged, seemed to
have retained his impish charm as well as a full
head of silver hair. They also went through his
trash, discovering a treasure trove of documents,
including marriage certificates, letters and
credit card receipts that would later provide
clues to the group's history and its behavior during Castaneda's final days.

During the late '70s and early '80s, Jennings
believes the group probably numbered no more than
two dozen. Members, mostly women, came and went.
At the time, a pivotal event was the defection of
Carol Tiggs, who was, according to Wallace,
always the most ambivalent witch. Soon after
joining, she tried to break away. She attended
California Acupuncture College, married a fellow
student and lived in Pacific Palisades.
Eventually, Wallace says, Castaneda lured her back.

Castaneda had a different version. In his 1981
bestseller, "The Eagle's Gift," he described how
Tiggs vanished into the "second attention," one
of his terms for infinity. Eventually she
reappeared through a space time portal in New
Mexico. She then made her way to L.A., where they
were joyously reunited when he found her on Santa
Monica Boulevard. In homage to her 10 years in
another dimension, she was now known as the "nagual woman."

Wallace believes this was an incentive to get
Tiggs to rejoin. According to Wallace and
Jennings, one of the witches' tasks was to
recruit new members. Melissa Ward, a Los Angles
area caterer, was involved in the group from 1993
to 1994. "Frequently they recruited at lectures,"
she told me. Among the goals, she said, was to
find "women with a combination of brains and
beauty and vulnerability." Initiation into the
inner family often involved sleeping with
Castaneda, who, the witches claimed in public appearances, was celibate.

In "Sorcerer's Apprentice," Wallace provides a
detailed picture of her own seduction. Because of
her father's friendship with Castaneda, her case
was unusual. Over the years, he'd stop by the
Wallace home. When Irving died in 1990, Amy was
living in Berkeley, Calif. Soon after, Castaneda
called and told her that her father had appeared
to him in a dream and said he was trapped in the
Wallace's house, and needed Amy and Carlos to free him.

Wallace, suitably skeptical, came down to L.A.
and the seduction began in earnest. She recounts
how she soon found herself in bed with Castaneda.
He told her he hadn't had sex for 20 years. When
Wallace later worried she might have gotten
pregnant (they'd used no birth control),
Castaneda leapt from the bed, shouting, "Me make
you pregnant? Impossible! The nagual's sperm
isn't human ... Don't let any of the nagual's
sperm out, nena. It will burn away your
humanness." He didn't mention the vasectomy he'd had years before.

The courtship continued for several weeks.
Castaneda told her they were "energetically
married." One afternoon, he took her to the
sorcerer's compound. As they were leaving,
Wallace looked at a street sign so she could
remember the location. Castaneda furiously
berated her: A warrior wouldn't have looked. He
ordered her to return to Berkeley. She did. When
she called, he refused to speak to her.

The witches, however, did, instructing Wallace on
the sorceric steps necessary to return. She had
to let go of her attachments. Wallace got rid of
her cats. This didn't cut it. Castaneda, she
wrote, got on the phone and called her an
egotistical, spoiled Jew. He ordered her to get a
job at McDonald's. Instead, Wallace waitressed at
a bed and breakfast. Six months later she was allowed back.

Aspiring warriors, say Jennings, Wallace and
Ward, were urged to cut off all contact with
their past lives, as don Juan had instructed
Carlos to do, and as Castaneda had done by
cutting off his wife and adopted son. "He was
telling us how to get out of family obligations,"
Jennings told me. "Being in one-on-one
relationships would hold you back from the path.
Castaneda was telling us how to get out of
commitments with family, down to small points
like how to avoid hugging your parents directly."
Jennings estimates that during his four years
with the group, between 75 and 100 people were
told to cut off their families. He doesn't know how many did.

For some initiates, the separation was brutal and
final. According to Wallace, acolytes were told
to tell their families, "I send you to hell."
Both Wallace and Jennings tell of one young woman
who, in the group's early years, had been ordered
by Castaneda to hit her mother, a Holocaust
survivor. Many years later, Wallace told me, the
woman "cried about it. She'd done it because she
thought he was so psychic he could tell if she
didn't." Wallace also describes how, when one
young man's parents died soon after being cut
off, Castaneda singled him out for praise,
remarking, "When you really do it, don Juan told
me, they die instantly, as if you were squashing
a flea -- and that's all they are, fleas."

Before entering the innermost circle, at least
some followers were led into a position of
emotional and financial dependence. Ward
remembers a woman named Peggy who was instructed
to quit her job. She was told she'd then be given
cash to get a phone-less apartment, where she
would wait to hear from Castaneda or the witches.
Peggy fled before this happened. But Ward said
this was a common practice with women about to be
brought into the family's core.

Valerie Kadium, a librarian, who from 1995 to
1996 took part in the Sunday sessions, recalls
one participant who, after several meetings,
decided to commit himself fully to the group. He
went to Vermont to shut down his business, but on
returning to L.A., he was told he could no longer
participate; he was "too late." He'd failed to
grasp the "cubic centimeter of chance" that, said
Kadium, Castaneda often spoke of. Jennings had to
quit his job with Hollywood Supports; his work
required him to interact with the media, but this
was impossible: Sorcerers couldn't have their pictures taken.

But there were rewards. "I was totally affected
by these people," Jennings told me. "I felt like
I'd found a family. I felt like I'd found a
path." Kadium recalls the first time she saw
Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl onstage --
she saw an aura around her, an apricot glow.
Remembering her early days with the group, she
remarked, "There was such a sweetness about it. I
had such high hopes. I wanted to feel the world more deeply -- and I did."

Although she was later devastated when Castaneda
banished her from the Sunday sessions, telling
her "the spirits spit you out," she eventually
recovered, and now remembers this as the most
exciting time of her life. According to all who
knew him, Castaneda wasn't only mesmerizing, he
also had a great sense of humor. "One of the
reasons I was involved was the idea that I was in
this fascinating, on the edge, avant garde,
extraordinary group of beings," Wallace said.
"Life was always exciting. We were free from the tedium of the world."

And because, as Jennings puts it, Castaneda was a
"control freak," followers were often freed from
the anxiety of decision-making. Some had more
independence, but even Wallace and Bruce Wagner,
both of whom were given a certain leeway, were
sometimes, according to Wallace, required to have
their writing vetted by Donner-Grau. Jennings and
Wallace also report that Castaneda directed the
inner circle's sex lives in great detail.

The most difficult part, Wallace believes, was
that you never knew where you stood. "He'd pick
someone, crown them, and was as capable of
kicking them out in 48 hours as keeping them 10
years. You never knew. So there was always
trepidation, a lot of jealousy." Sometimes
initiates were banished for obscure spiritual
offenses, such as drinking cappuccino (which
Castaneda himself guzzled in great quantities).
They'd no longer be invited to the compound.
Phone calls wouldn't be returned. Having been
allowed for a time into a secret, magical family,
they'd be abruptly cut off. For some, Wallace
believes, this pattern was highly traumatic. "In
a weird way," she said, "the worst thing that can
happen is when you're loved and loved and then
abused and abused, and there are no rules, and
the rules keep changing, and you can never do
right, but then all of a sudden they're kissing
you. That's the most crazy-making behavioral
modification there is. And that's what Carlos
specialized in; he was not stupid."

Whether disciples were allowed to stay or forced
to leave seems often to have depended on the
whims of a woman known as the Blue Scout. Trying
to describe her power, Ward recalled a "Twilight
Zone" episode in which a little boy could look at
people and make them die. "So everyone treated
him with kid gloves," she said, "and that's how
it was with the Blue Scout." She was born
Patricia Partin and grew up in LaVerne, Calif.,
where, according to Jennings, her father had been
in an accident that left him with permanent brain
damage. Partin dropped out of Bonita High her
junior year. She became a waitress, and, at 19,
married an aspiring filmmaker, Mark Silliphant,
who introduced her to Castaneda in 1978. Within
weeks of their marriage she left Silliphant and
went to live with Castaneda. She paid one last
visit to her mother; in keeping with the nagual's
instructions, she refused to be in a family
photograph. For the rest of her life, she never spoke to her mother again.

Castaneda renamed Partin Nury Alexander. She was
also "Claude" as well as the Blue Scout. She soon
emerged as one of his favorites (Castaneda
officially adopted her in 1995.) Followers were
told he'd conceived her with Tiggs in the nagual.
He said she had a very rare energy; she was
"barely human" -- high praise from Castaneda.
Partin, a perpetual student at UCLA and an
inveterate shopper at Neiman Marcus, was
infantilized. In later years, new followers would
be assigned the task of playing dolls with her.

In the late '80s, perhaps because book sales had
slowed, or perhaps because he no longer feared
media scrutiny, Castaneda sought to expand.
Jennings believes he may have been driven by a
desire to please Partin. Geuter confirms that
Castaneda told followers that the Blue Scout had
talked him into starting Cleargreen. But she also
suggests another motivation. "He was thinking
about what he wanted for the rest of his life,"
Geuter told me. "He always talked about 'going
for the golden clasp.' He wanted to finish with something spectacular."

Castaneda investigated the possibility of
incorporating as a religion, as L. Ron Hubbard
had done with Scientology. Instead, he chose to
develop Tensegrity, which, Jennings believes, was
to be the means through which the new faith would
spread. Tensegrity is a movement technique that
seems to combine elements of a rigid version of
tai chi and modern dance. In all likelihood the
inspiration came from karate devotees Donner-Grau
and Abelar, and from his years of lessons with
martial arts instructor Howard Lee. Documents
found by Geuter show him discussing a project
called "Kung Fu Sorcery" with Lee as early as
1988. The more elegant "Tensegrity" was lifted
from Buckminster Fuller, for whom it referred to
a structural synergy between tension and
compression. Castaneda seems to have just liked the sound of it.

A major player in promoting Tensegrity was
Wagner, whose fifth novel, "The Chrysanthemum
Palace," was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner
prize (his sixth, "Memorial," was recently
released by Simon and Schuster). Wagner hadn't
yet published his first novel when he approached
Castaneda in 1988 with the hope of filming the
don Juan books. Within a few years, according to
Jennings and Wallace, he became part of the inner
circle. He was given the sorceric name Lorenzo
Drake -- Enzo for short. As the group began to
emerge from the shadows, holding seminars in high
school auditoriums and on college campuses,
Wagner, tall, bald and usually dressed in black,
would, according to Geuter and Wallace, act as a
sort of bouncer, removing those who asked
unwanted questions. (Wagner declined requests for
an interview.) In 1995 Wagner, who'd previously
been wed to Rebecca De Mornay, married Tiggs.
That same year his novel "I'm Losing You" was
chosen by the New York Times as a notable book of
the year. John Updike, in the New Yorker,
proclaimed that Wagner "writes like a wizard."

In the early '90s, to promote Tensegrity,
Castaneda set up Cleargreen, which operated out
of the offices of "Rugrats" producer and
Castaneda agent (and part-time sorcerer) Tracy
Kramer, a friend of Wagner's from Beverly Hills
High. Although Castaneda wasn't a shareholder,
according to Geuter, "he determined every detail
of the operation." Jennings and Wallace confirm
that Castaneda had complete control of
Cleargreen. (Cleargreen did not respond to
numerous inquiries from Salon.) The company's
official president was Amalia Marquez (sorceric
name Talia Bey), a young businesswoman who, after
reading Castaneda's books, had moved from Puerto
Rico to Los Angeles in order to follow him.

At Tensegrity seminars, women dressed in black,
the "chacmools," demonstrated moves for the
audience. Castaneda and the witches would speak
and answer questions. Seminars cost up to $1,200,
and as many as 800 would attend. Participants
could buy T-shirts that read "Self Importance
Kills -- Do Tensegrity." The movements were meant
to promote health as well as help practitioners
progress as warriors. Illness was seen as a sign
of weakness. Wallace recalls the case of Tycho,
the Orange Scout (supposedly the Blue Scout's
sister). "She had ulcerative colitis," Wallace
told me. "She was trying to keep it a secret
because if Carlos knew you were sick he'd punish
you. If you went for medical care, he'd kick you
out." Once Tycho's illness was discovered,
Wallace said, Tycho was expelled from the group.

- - - - - - - - - - - -


If Castaneda's early books drew on Buddhism and
phenomenology, his later work seemed more
indebted to science fiction. But throughout,
there was a preoccupation with meeting death like
a warrior. In the '90s, Castaneda told his
followers that, like don Juan, he wouldn't die --
he'd burn from within, turn into a ball of light, and ascend to the heavens.

In the summer of 1997, he was diagnosed with
liver cancer. Because sorcerers weren't supposed
to get sick, his illness remained a tightly
guarded secret. While the witches desperately
pursued traditional and alternative treatments,
the workshops continued as if nothing was wrong
(although Castaneda often wasn't there). One of
the witches, Abelar, flew to Florida to inspect
yachts. Geuter, in notes taken at the time,
wondered, "Why are they buying a boat? ... Maybe
Carlos wants to leave with his group, and
disappear unnoticed in the wide-open oceans."

No boats were purchased. Castaneda continued to
decline. He became increasingly frail, his eyes
yellow and jaundiced. He rarely left the
compound. According to Wallace, Tiggs told her
the witches had purchased guns. While the nagual
lay bedridden with a morphine drip, watching war
videos, the inner circle burned his papers. A
grieving Abelar had begun to drink. "I'm not in
any danger of becoming an alcoholic now," she
told Wallace. "Because I'm leaving, so -- it's
too late." Wallace writes: "She was telling me,
in her way, that she planned to die."

Wallace also recalls a conversation with Lundahl,
the star of the Tensegrity videos and one of the
women who disappeared: "If I don't go with him,
I'll do what I have to do," Wallace says Lundahl
told her. "It's too late for you and me to remain
in the world -- I think you know exactly what I mean."

In April 1998, Geuter filmed the inner circle
packing up the house. The next week, at age 72,
Castaneda died. He was cremated at the Culver
City mortuary. No one knows what became of his
ashes. Within days, Donner-Grau, Abelar, Partin,
Lundahl and Marquez had their phones disconnected
and vanished. A few weeks later, Partin's red
Ford Escort was found abandoned in Death Valley's Panamint Dunes.

Even within the inner circle, few knew that
Castaneda was dead. Rumors spread. Many were in
despair: The nagual hadn't "burned from within."
Jennings didn't learn until two weeks later, when
Tiggs called to tell him Castaneda was "gone."
The witches, she said, were "elsewhere."

In a proposal for a biography of Castaneda, a
project Jennings eventually chose not to pursue,
he writes that Tiggs "also told me she was
supposed to have 'gone with them,' but 'a
non-decision decision' kept me here." Meanwhile,
the workshops continued. "Carol also banned
mourning within Cleargreen," Jennings writes, "so
its members hid their grief, often drowning it in
alcohol or drugs." Wallace, too, recalls a lot of
drug use: "I don't know if they tried to OD so
much as to 'get there.' Get to Carlos." Jennings
himself drove to the desert and thought about committing suicide.

The media didn't learn of Castaneda's death for
two months. When the news became public,
Cleargreen members stopped answering their
phones. They soon placed a statement, which
Jennings says was written by Wagner, on their Web
site: "For don Juan, the warrior was a being ...
who embarks, when the time comes, on a definitive
journey of awareness, 'crossing over to total
freedom' ... warriors can keep their awareness,
which is ordinarily relinquished, at the moment
of dying. At the moment of crossing, the body in
its entirety is kindled with knowledge ... Carlos
Castaneda left the world the same way that his
teacher, don Juan Matus did: with full awareness."

Many obituaries had a curious tone; the writers
seemed uncertain whether to call Castaneda a
fraud. Some expressed a kind of nostalgia for an
author whose work had meant so much to so many in
their youth. Korda refused comment. De Mille, in
an interview with filmmaker Ralph Torjan,
expressed a certain admiration. "He was the
perfect hoaxer," he told Torjan, "because he never admitted anything."

Jennings, Wallace and Geuter believe the missing
women likely committed suicide. Wallace told me
about a phone call to Donner-Grau's parents not
long after the women disappeared. Donner-Grau had
been one of the few allowed to maintain contact
with her family. "They were weeping," Wallace
said, "because there was no goodbye. They didn't
know what had happened. This was after decades of being in touch with them."

Castaneda's will, executed three days before his
death, leaves everything to an entity known as
the Eagle's Trust. According to Jennings, who
obtained a copy of the trust agreement, the
missing women have a considerable amount of money
due to them. Deborah Drooz, the executor of
Castaneda's estate, said she has had no contact
with the women. She added that she believes they are still alive.

Jennings believes Castaneda knew they were
planning to kill themselves. "He used to talk
about suicide all the time, even for minor
things," Jennings told me. He added that Partin
was once sent to identify abandoned mines in the
desert, which could be used as potential suicide
sites. (There's an abandoned mine not far from
where her remains were found.) "He regularly told
us he was our only hope," Jennings said. "We were
all supposed to go together, 'make the leap,'
whatever that meant." What did Jennings think it
meant? "I didn't know fully," he said. "He'd
describe it in different ways. So would the
witches. It seemed to be what they were living
for, something we were being promised."

The promise may have been based on the final
scene in "Tales of Power," in which Carlos leaps
from a cliff into the nagual. The scene is later
retold in varying versions. In his 1984 book,
"The Fire From Within," Castaneda wrote: "I
didn't die at the bottom of that gorge -- and
neither did the other apprentices who had jumped
at an earlier time -- because we never reached
it; all of us, under the impact of such a
tremendous and incomprehensible act as jumping to
our deaths, moved our assemblage points and assembled other worlds."

Did Castaneda really believe this? Wallace thinks
so. "He became more and more hypnotized by his
own reveries," she told me. "I firmly believe
Carlos brainwashed himself." Did the witches?
Geuter put it this way: "Florinda, Taisha and the
Blue Scout knew it was a fantasy structure. But
when you have thousands of eyes looking back at
you, you begin to believe in the fantasy. These
women never had to answer to the real world.
Carlos had snatched them when they were very young."

Wallace isn't sure what the women believed.
Because open discussion of Castaneda's teachings
was forbidden, it was impossible to know what
anyone really thought. However, she told me,
after living so long with Castaneda, the women
may have felt they had no choice. "You've cut off
all your ties," she said. "Now you're going to go
back after all these decades? Who are you going
to go be with? And you feel that you're not one
of the common herd anymore. That's why they killed themselves."

On its Web site, Cleargreen maintains that the
women didn't "depart." However, "for the moment
they are not going to appear personally at the
workshops because they want this dream to take wings."

Remarkably, there seems to have been no
investigation into at least three of the
disappearances. Except for Donner-Grau, they'd
all been estranged from their families for years.
For months after they vanished, none of the other
families knew what had happened. And so,
according to Geuter, no one reported them
missing. Salon attempted to locate the three
missing women, relying on public records and
phone calls to their previous residences, but
discovered no current trace of them. The Los
Angeles Police Department and the FBI confirm
that there's been no official inquiry into the
disappearances of Donner-Grau, Abelar and Lundahl.

There is, however, a file open in the Marquez
case. This is due to the tireless efforts of Luis
Marquez, who told Salon that he first tried to
report his sister missing in 1999. But the LAPD,
he said, repeatedly ignored him. A year later, he
and his sister Carmen wrote a letter to the
missing-persons unit; again, no response.
According to Marquez, it wasn't until Partin's
remains were identified that the LAPD opened a
file on Amalia. "To this day," he told me, "they
still refuse to ask any questions or visit
Cleargreen." His own attempts to get information
from Cleargreen have been fruitless. According to
Marquez, all he's been told is that the women are
"traveling." Detective Lydia Dillard, assigned to
the Marquez case, said that because this is an
open investigation, she couldn't confirm whether
anyone from Cleargreen had been interviewed.

In 2002, a Taos, N. M., woman, Janice Emery, a
Castaneda follower and workshop attendee, jumped
to her death in the Rio Grande gorge. According
to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Emery had a head
injury brought on by cancer. One of Emery's
friends told the newspaper that Emery "wanted to
be with Castaneda's people." Said another: "I
think she was really thinking she could fly off."
A year later, a skeleton was discovered near the
site of Partin's abandoned Ford. The Inyo County
sheriff's department suspected it was hers. But,
due to its desiccated condition, a positive
identification couldn't be made until February
2006, when new DNA technology became available.

Wallace recalls how Castaneda had told Partin
that "if you ever need to rise to infinity, take
your little red car and drive it as fast as you
can into the desert and you will ascend." And,
Wallace believes, "that's exactly what she did:
She took her little red car, drove it into the
desert, didn't ascend, got out, wandered around and fainted from dehydration."

Partin's death and the disappearance of the other
women isn't Castaneda's entire legacy. He's been
acknowledged as an important influence by figures
ranging from Deepak Chopra to George Lucas.
Without a doubt, Castaneda opened the doors of
perception for numerous readers, and many
workshop attendees found the experience deeply
meaningful. There are those who testify to the
benefits of Tensegrity. And even some of those
who are critical of Castaneda find his teachings
useful. "He was a conduit. I wanted answers to
the big questions. He helped me," Geuter said.
But for five of his closest companions, his
teachings -- and his insistence on their literal
truth -- may have cost them their lives.

Long after Castaneda had been discredited in
academia, Korda continued to insist on his
authenticity. In 2000, he wrote: "I have never
doubted for a moment the truth of his stories
about don Juan." Castaneda's books have been
profitable for Simon and Schuster, and according
to Korda, were for many years one of the props on
which the publisher rested. Castaneda might have
achieved some level of success if his books had
been presented, as James Redfield's "Celestine
Prophecy" is, as allegorical fiction. But
Castaneda always insisted he'd made nothing up.
"If he hadn't presented his stories as fact,"
Wallace told me, "it's unlikely the cult would
exist. As nonfiction, it became impossibly more dangerous."

To this day, Simon and Schuster stands by Korda's
position. When asked whether, in the face of
overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the
publisher still regarded Castaneda's books as
nonfiction, Adam Rothenberg, the vice president
for corporate communication, replied that Simon
and Schuster "will continue to publish Castaneda
as we always have." Tensegrity classes are still
held around the world. Workshops were recently
conducted in Mexico City and Hanover, Germany.
Wagner's videos are still available from
Cleargreen. According to the terms of Castaneda's
will, book royalties still help support a core
group of acolytes. On Simon and Schuster's Web
site, Castaneda is still described as an
anthropologist. No mention is made of his fiction.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


Edited by Huehuecoyotl (06/05/07 06:48 AM)


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7010841 - 06/05/07 06:45 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

If one were to take this as fact this could easily be referenced back to my instability thread, however, based on what I know of the facts they are only partially represented here.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7010867 - 06/05/07 07:43 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

I don't know enough about the man to come to any conclusion... but thanks for the reading material.


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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OfflineBooby
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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Psychoactive1984]
    #7010875 - 06/05/07 07:53 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

They say a person is defined by the company they keep. That makes me illuminated.

In other words, some people around here glow in the dark. :smile:


--------------------
Let it not be remembered
That mycelium eats detritus and dies
But that life in all it's glory
Counts mycelium to be on it's side.


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Invisiblespiritualemerg
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Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 366
Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7010886 - 06/05/07 08:06 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Your post reminds me very much of this one: You know that you actually ARE enlightened.... In particular, Carlos Castenada's story reminds me very much of the story of Bhagwan Rajneesh, also known as Osho. It also bears some resemblance to the accounts of former students of Andrew Cohen [Reference the 'What Enlightenment?' link.]

All in all, a good read.


.


--------------------
~ Kindness is cheap.  It's unkindness that always demands the highest price.

Blogs: Spiritual Emergency | Spiritual Recovery | Voices of Recovery | A Jungian Approach to Psychosis


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7011297 - 06/05/07 11:52 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Admirers
included John Lennon, William Burroughs, Federico Fellini  Jim Morrison and Icelander.


It's nice to finally see my name in print next to my old friend Jimmy.!

Carlos was a hoot for sure. It will be hard to separate fact from fiction here as most of this is peoples opinions of whatever "really" happened.

I for one quit caring long ago. I found the basic principles presented by Castaneda sound through practice. I loved the format in which they were presented as I have always been a sucker for magick and mystery and Shamanism. These books have inspired me on my life path and that is all I need to know and all that is important for me.

I have a certain admiration for Carlos even if he was totally flawed. He was able to pull off a great coyote trick on the modern world. He remained controversial to this day. People love him or hate him.

And remember what Don Juan always said. "It's unimportant.":D


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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OfflineKinematics
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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7011437 - 06/05/07 12:40 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Regardless of what anyone has said good or bad, I have found the books of his I have read as imperative in helping shape my spiritual beliefs, the improvement of my life and my way of thinking as a result of reading his material.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7011685 - 06/05/07 02:27 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

"I was a searcher. I was looking for a real path to other worlds. I wasn't looking for metaphors."





Amen.


--------------------


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7011694 - 06/05/07 02:29 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

:mushroom2:


--------------------


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7011890 - 06/05/07 03:29 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

OrgoneConclusion said:
Quote:

"I was a searcher. I was looking for a real path to other worlds. I wasn't looking for metaphors."





Amen.




And what have you found in your search?


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7011929 - 06/05/07 03:44 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Looked under the sofa cushions and found a bobby pin, a raisin, some lint and 38 cents.


--------------------


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7011949 - 06/05/07 03:49 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Get to it McGuyver.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7011999 - 06/05/07 04:06 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

that is all I need to know and all that is important for me




What is important to me that it is highly unlikely that any of his several milliom readers ever performed bilocation or transformed into a crow or called upon an interdimensional ally.

Remember that the Yaquis are a beaten-down people living in exterme poverty.

The main lesson I have learned is that people are hungry for magic and will believe any nonsense at all if well-packaged - and sometimes even when it is shoddily packaged (see Bush, WMD, Hussein & 9/11).


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7012239 - 06/05/07 05:18 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

...and my name comes right after yours on that list. I gave you that spot based on seniority.

There are always those that would worship Castaneda or revile him...based on how the few known facts are slanted, but I too was inspired and have found much relevant information in his books. I am not attached to seeing him as a great "nagual" as even the most enlightened among us bow to self importance to one degree or another. Actually I think one of don Juan's premises was to recognize that as humans we are inherently flawed and accept that. I ALSO think that much of the unstable behavior that he and some of his "followers" displayed was due to the lack of stability that this philosophy engenders by necessity. I have also learned to consider a source for what it is worth and this view was presented by "the media" after all. If they can't construe something as lurid or base they are not interested, though I did enjoy the article.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


Edited by Huehuecoyotl (06/05/07 05:39 PM)


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7012299 - 06/05/07 05:37 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Remember that the Yaquis are a beaten-down people living in exterme poverty.




This tells me that your familiarity with the series is minimal.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7012396 - 06/05/07 06:09 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

A true statement about an oppressed people tells you of my reading history? :confused:


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7012545 - 06/05/07 06:51 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

You were indicating that since Yaquis were repressed that their magical traditions were useless, but if you knew the series you would know that don Juan being a Yaqui was irrelevant to his adopted tradition which was not from the Yaqui people.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7012696 - 06/05/07 07:21 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Also...I have experienced bi-location and I am a Castaneda reader. I do not know why it happened or if it was real, but it happened after ingesting about 1000mcgs of LSD. I did perceive it, however.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7012846 - 06/05/07 07:55 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

OrgoneConclusion said:
Quote:

that is all I need to know and all that is important for me




What is important to me that it is highly unlikely that any of his several milliom readers ever performed bilocation or transformed into a crow or called upon an interdimensional ally.

Remember that the Yaquis are a beaten-down people living in exterme poverty.

The main lesson I have learned is that people are hungry for magic and will believe any nonsense at all if well-packaged - and sometimes even when it is shoddily packaged (see Bush, WMD, Hussein & 9/11).




Well so what if the yaquis are poor and beaten down? Is every Yaqui poor and beaten down?

So what if most people will buy into anything? Does that mean everyone will buy into anything?

All black and white and doesn't tell you anything. That's the trouble with putting everything into black and white.


--------------------
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" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7012862 - 06/05/07 07:59 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

OrgoneConclusion said:
A true statement about an oppressed people tells you of my reading history? :confused:




Out of curiosity exactly how many of the Castaneda books have you read?


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7013280 - 06/05/07 10:08 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Seven. So much for inner site.

I threw in an innocent non sequitur as a test and you and Hue bit like a hungry bass on a fat worm.

You serious and powerful sorcerer's sure know how to give me a good belly laugh. Nothing like some controlled folly. :rofl2:


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7013293 - 06/05/07 10:11 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

I threw in an innocent non sequitur as a test and you and Hue bit like a hungry bass on a fat worm.




Yeah, right. That sounds like the the stuff DeMille published in his book debunking Castaneda, and I suspect that is where you got the point you were trying to make. By the way...I have never used the term sorcerer, shaman, nagual, or magician in reference to myself and I do not consider that I would ever have a snowballs chance in hell at becoming one...IF they exist, but there is no flaw in using ideas that work for ones self effectively.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7013319 - 06/05/07 10:16 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Huehuecoyotl said:
Also...I have experienced bi-location and I am a Castaneda reader. I do not know why it happened or if it was real, but it happened after ingesting about 1000mcgs of LSD. I did perceive it, however.




Hmmm, let's anaylyze this. A threshold dose of LSD is around 25-50 mcg. The famed Orange Sunshine was reportedly 125 mcg. So you took about 6 to 10 times the normal dosage and your experience was more likely due to:

A. A book you read.

B. Taking many times the normal dosage of the most powerful hallucinogen ever developed.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7013349 - 06/05/07 10:21 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I agree there could have been many causes, but it did occur. I did have the perception, and it had a lasting impact on my view of the world. I understand the fallacy of considering drug experiences as real, but perceptions are real in the context that they are perceptions. I have also had contact with drug induced entities. I also understand that they were drug induced, but the perception occurred nevertheless.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7013401 - 06/05/07 10:31 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Finally, before I left that evening, I had to ask him, "Did I really fly,
don Juan?" "That is what you told me. Didn't you?" "I know, don Juan. I
mean, did my body fly? Did I take off like a bird?" "You always ask me
questions I cannot answer. You flew. That is what the second portion of the
devil's weed is for. As you take more of it, you will learn how to fly
perfectly. It is not a simple matter. A man flys with the help of the second
portion of the devil's weed. That is all I can tell you. What you want to
know makes no sense. Birds fly like birds and a man who has taken the
devil's weed flies as such ." "As birds do?" "No, he flies as a man who has
taken the weed." "Then I didn't really fly, don Juan. I flew in my
imagination, in my mind alone. Where was my body?" "In the bushes," he
replied cuttingly, but immediately broke into laughter again. "The trouble
with you is that you understand things in only one way. You don't think a
man flies; and yet a brujo can move a thousand miles in one second to see
what is going on. He can deliver a blow to his enemies long distances away.
So, does he or doesn't he fly?" "You see, don Juan, you and I are
differently oriented. Suppose, for the sake of argument, one of my fellow
students had been here with me when I took the devil's weed. Would he have
been able to see me flying?" "There you go again with your questions about
what would happen if . . . It is useless to talk that way. If your friend,
or anybody else, takes the second portion of the weed all he can do is fly.
Now, if he had simply watched you, he might have seen you flying, or he
might not. That depends on the man." "But what I mean, don Juan, is that if
you and I look at a bird and see it fly, we agree that it is flying. But if
two of my friends had seen me flying as I did last night, would they have
agreed that I was flying?" "Well, they might have. You agree that birds fly
because you have seen them flying. Flying is a common thing with birds. But
you will not agree on other things birds do, because you have never seen
birds doing them. If your friends knew about men flying with the devil's
weed, then they would agree." "Let's put it another way, don Juan. What I
meant to say is that if I had tied myself to a rock with a heavy chain I
would have flown just the same, because my body had nothing to do with my
flying." "If you tie yourself to a rock," he said, "I'm afraid you will have
to fly holding the rock with its heavy chain."




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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7013403 - 06/05/07 10:32 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Yeah, right. That sounds like the the stuff DeMille published in his book debunking Castaneda, and I suspect that is where you got the point you were trying to make.



Wrong again. Never read the Demille book. Try to get one right when deciphering me.

Quote:

By the way...I have never used the term sorcerer, shaman, nagual, or magician in reference to myself and I do not consider that I would ever have a snowballs chance in hell at becoming one...



No, but Castaneda did - and they were allegedly written as somewhat of a How-to book, not merely metaphorical entertainment. And if a devout follower like yourself has little chance, then what does that tell us of the book's methods? Either the author was a poor transmitter or he was making stuff up.

As the efficacy ot utilizing bits and pieces in your life - that is all fine. But the books main core was sorcery.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7013443 - 06/05/07 10:39 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Never read the Demille book.




I was mistaken then. I was thinking of Swami. In a discussion about a year ago he brought up DeMille's name in reference to erroneous data he believed was in the Castaneda books.

Quote:

But the books main core was sorcery.




I personally believe that such a thing may be possible, but to pick it up from a book would be ridiculous. Now my definition of a sorcerer and yours would differ. I see the sorcerer as an expert interpreter and utilizer of non-rational experience. Now, if I use what I find that is useful then I am not necessarily trying to claim that crown, but merely looking for ideas. Some of the ideas in Castaneda's books I cannot relate to...such as jumping off of a 2000 foot cliff and dreaming myself elsewhere. I will hold off on that one...


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7013498 - 06/05/07 10:51 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

I was mistaken then. I was thinking of Swami.



0 for 3.

Quote:

In a discussion about a year ago he brought up DeMille's name in reference to erroneous data he believed was in the Castaneda books.




A Google search brings the DeMille name up which is different than actively searching out and buying/borrowing and reading his book.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7014668 - 06/06/07 06:49 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

A Google search brings the DeMille name up which is different than actively searching out and buying/borrowing and reading his book.




My conclusion was based on the fact that this name was once presented to me as evidence of Castaneda's misrepresentation. If you haven't read it then there isn't much to say about it.


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"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7014978 - 06/06/07 11:03 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

OrgoneConclusion said:
Seven. So much for inner site.

I threw in an innocent non sequitur as a test and you and Hue bit like a hungry bass on a fat worm.

You serious and powerful sorcerer's sure know how to give me a good belly laugh. Nothing like some controlled folly. :rofl2:




I responded to your post. When you don't like or have a response to the post then you switch tactics. Very skillful of you.;)


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #7014983 - 06/06/07 11:06 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)


I was mistaken then. I was thinking of Swami. In a discussion about a year ago he brought up DeMille's name in reference to erroneous data he believed was in the Castaneda books.


oops :grin:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7015002 - 06/06/07 11:11 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

As the efficacy ot utilizing bits and pieces in your life - that is all fine.


This is all that matters. This point has always seemed to bypass you. All spiritual and religious writing is mostly fictional IMO. The trick is having the discernment to find something there that is not. Some people never develope this skill and some (like me) develope it partially.:monkeydance:


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7015533 - 06/06/07 02:52 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

This point has always seemed to bypass you.




Not at all. However the CORE of the books is on sorcery and to my knowledge not a single reader has been able to duplicate the outrageous feats claimed. If I buy a book on carpentry, I ACTUALLY want to learn carpentry. And I expect a book labelled non-fiction to basically be non-fiction.

Your defense reminds me of watching the 'chi' videos. A defender might say, "OK, he really can't do magic, but notice how clean his dojo is and how respectful his students are." Nice, but not central.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7015565 - 06/06/07 03:06 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Disagree.

The central points which are repeated ad nauseam in the books are, losing self importance, using death as an adviser, choosing a path with heart, accepting responsibility for yourself. These are the core ideas IMO. Nobody would buy a book just stating these basic ideas. :rofl2: Nobody wants to do them. Anyone expecting even to look into the more far fetched ideas he presents would have to have mastered the preliminaries of the so called warriors way. Nobody does that of course. In fact most people it seems are looking for any excuse to not be responsible for the state they find themselves in. Know what I mean?


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7015609 - 06/06/07 03:20 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

The central points which are repeated ad nauseam in the books




And seem to require a 'fresh' thread in P&S covering the books every 4 months. *yawn*

Quote:

In fact most people it seems are looking for any excuse to not be responsible for the state they find themselves in. Know what I mean?



Not exactly. Are the Tsunami victims of 2004 not actually victims and responsible for losing home and family? No, wait. You must be talking about emotions. Are humans responsible for having biologically evolved in a certain way to have feelings that other creatures don't?

If the line of responsibility cannot be drawn with any clarity between attitude and circumstance, perhaps it is also fiction. Whip a dog daily when it is a pup and it will either be mean and viscious or fearful and withdrawn, but NEVER happy & balanced. What does that tell us about external influence?


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7015672 - 06/06/07 03:40 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Or disciplined and respectful. All depends on how you whip and if your training it properly. You skew the results to make it seem as if a negative is bound to occur as a result of external influences.


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"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7015691 - 06/06/07 03:47 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Yeah, I'm talking about emotions; although those surviving Tsunami "victims" will still have to make choices on how to deal with what has happened. Some will give up and bemoan their fate and others will move ahead with purpose.

What does that tell us about external influence?

It tells me it's there. Now it's up to me to attempt to change whatever I am able and to find a way to offset the rest. Otherwise I just sit around and whine about my miserable fate while life passes me by.

Dogs and humans don't have the same mental abilities so the comparison isn't really valid.

I draw my own line between attitude and circumstance. Each of us does as life isn't black and white. The best choice for me is to accept life as it presents itself as best I can. Whining and carrying a grudge against life didn't work out that well for me. It took everything and made it flat and lonely. I might have stayed that way but my cubic centimeter of chance popped up one day and I grabbed it.:lol:


--------------------
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" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7015708 - 06/06/07 03:55 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Some will give up and bemoan their fate and others will move ahead with purpose.



Some men are born with great physical strength and others are weak and sickly; some are talented with numbers; some with art and so forth, yet all of us are 'supposed' to have equal emotional strength?

Quote:

Dogs and humans don't have the same mental abilities so the comparison isn't really valid.



But it is. People beaten as children are more prone to violence and to beating their own children.

Quote:

I might have stayed that way but my cubic centimeter of chance popped up one day and I grabbed it.



My 'chance' is a little larger than a cubic centimeter. :penis: Your MMV...






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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: OrgoneConclusion]
    #7015871 - 06/06/07 04:38 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Some men are born with great physical strength and others are weak and sickly; some are talented with numbers; some with art and so forth, yet all of us are 'supposed' to have equal emotional strength?


Doubtful. Not all strong men are equal, not all sickly are equally sick. Not all have equal math talent and not all artists are equally talented. You make the best of what you have. It's almost always more than we tell ourselves.

But it is. People beaten as children are more prone to violence and to beating their own children.

No it isn't. While children abused are prone to violence not all go that route. Some find a way to re pattern themselves. They become at least up to comparative standards, healthy.

My 'chance' is a little larger than a cubic centimeter. Your MMV...


Prove it.


--------------------
"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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OfflineHakim0777
aka RACKBONE!!!
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Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Icelander]
    #7018039 - 06/07/07 05:07 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

oh it is on!


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Offlinecavemate_A
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Registered: 11/18/06
Posts: 97
Last seen: 14 years, 15 days
Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: Hakim0777]
    #7117275 - 07/02/07 01:56 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

the conversation reminds me of people in philosophy class.

i read that entire article, it was very informative. didn't know what a womanizing, sly liar Carlos was. i still respect him for all of that. i learned that "mysterious type" men get a lot of pussy.


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Invisibletruekimbo2
Cya later, friends.
Male User Gallery

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 9,234
Loc: ny Flag
Re: The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda [Re: cavemate_A]
    #7117875 - 07/02/07 05:30 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

if don juan were reading this post, he'd say that you're letting orgone steal your energy...

hahaha, by the way, i can't believe i actually read the whole initial post...


--------------------
You can check the last post in my journal for contact info.


Edited by truekimbo2 (07/02/07 05:31 AM)


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