Carlos Castenada

dant

The Living Force
Awesome, Kenlee!

Your explanation is much more clearer to me and to those who might not be
able understand what Mouravieff wrote (it's too technical, some say) and it
may shed more light towards those who have a little more difficulty getting
through esoteric science "jargon" and that of Mouravieff (and others).

I think it may be more helpful for readers if the poster can add additional
comments (as to their personal understandings or to clarify further) when
posting quotes from sources without comment.

Again, thank you for sharing your insights/comments!

Dan
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I was watching this video sott posted .
http://www.sott.net/article/260736-Dr-Colin-Ross-interview-What-is-mind-control

Interview with colin Ross. Most of the stuff is already covered here. What peaked my curiousity is castaneda fraud and the host pretty much putting castaneda stuff in CIA court via Richard De Mille , furst, Barbara Myerhoff connections and castaneda is classified subject for CIA. Thought WoW!
 

Arwenn

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Hi guys,

I know that Casteaneda's books are referenced here on the forum, and regarded as essential reading, especially with regards to the Predator. I've started to read his first book, but for some reason, felt a bit uncomfortable in myself whilst reading it (maybe because of its slight New Age flavour?).

His personal life seems to have been quite disparate to what he writes about. There is much controversy surrounding the authenticity of Don Juan. I think his source whether real or not, was corrupted eventually, thorough his ego, and the very thing he wrote about regarding the predators mind took over his life. The womanizing, the apparent elevation of himslf to status of 'guru' and his subsequemt cultic following (mainly by women, mind you), the suicides etc-this man was not walking the walk and was quite possibly a psychological (if not a sexual) deviant. There are some interesting links to follow (-sustainedaction.org as mentioned, and websites by Corey Donovan who had met with him) in terms of those who critique the veracity of his claims, and those who defend it (the Tensegrity group)

All the more reason to be very perspicacious when reading his stuff. FWIW
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Well, you never get such an impression from reading his works.
The books are filled with subtle humor, insight and as you mentioned comes very close to the material presented on this site.
Besides, controversy always surrounds such people. We can see that from Gurdjieff, but also Laura.
Could be disinformation, but then again I cannot confirm that.
 

Arwenn

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Anthony said:
Well, you never get such an impression from reading his works.
The books are filled with subtle humor, insight and as you mentioned comes very close to the material presented on this site.
Besides, controversy always surrounds such people. We can see that from Gurdjieff, but also Laura.
Could be disinformation, but then again I cannot confirm that.

I agree with his books having insight, or it would not be recommended reading. And you are right, controversy abounds with those who chose the path of awakening those who are ready. The thing with Laura and co., is that they appear to walk the walk, they present the Cs information as a reference point for further research, (wanting for us to ask intelligent questions and find our own wisdom, & learn to be discerning for ourselves) rather than as gospel.
 

Nienna

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Arwenn said:
Anthony said:
Well, you never get such an impression from reading his works.
The books are filled with subtle humor, insight and as you mentioned comes very close to the material presented on this site.
Besides, controversy always surrounds such people. We can see that from Gurdjieff, but also Laura.
Could be disinformation, but then again I cannot confirm that.

I agree with his books having insight, or it would not be recommended reading.

Actually, only two of his books are recommended reading here. The Fire From Within and The Active Side of Infinity. Those are the two books that most relate to the 4th Way and seem to describe the same things as what Gurdjieff talks about in his books. As far as we know, he even read Gurdjieff before he wrote any of his books. He did get lost along the way, though.
 
A

Archaea

Guest
After reading this thread I thought I'd post some snippets from the C sessions about Don Juan and Castaneda.

From Session 25 February 1995 (http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,26009.msg310047.html#msg310047):

Q: (BP) Is the work of Carlos Castaneda historically accurate as far as what he says about Don Juan?

A: Yes.

Q: (T) Cool!

And from Session 23 August 2001 (http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,18638.msg176200.html#msg176200):

Q: (L) Was there really a guy named Don Juan Matus who was the teacher of Carlos Castaneda?
A: Close.
Q: (L) Was he a "composite person" as some have suggested?
A: Yes.
Q: (L) Was he a composite of several people who Carlos actually knew, as in 3rd density humans?
A: Yes.

Personally I think that a lot of the mystical mumbo jumbos in the Castaneda books are real, and that there is a completely different cognitive system involved. I also think that a key component in the transformation to this new cognitive system is removing self importance. This means to me that self importance is a corner stone in the structure of our daily world, and it prevents us from being able to understand, comprehend or experience the unknown.

I think this is one of the traps of the Castaneda books. A person, such as myself, can read one of these books, think to themselves "wow, I understand some of this, I can't believe Castaneda is grappling so hard with some of these concepts." Then when trying to use these concepts in the 'world of daily affairs' finds that they are outside most other peoples cognitive systems, that person might feel like they are smarter, or have more knowledge than other people. This is the self importance, which keeps the person firmly implanted in 'the world of daily affairs' and prevents them from fully transitioning to the new cognitive system.

I also think there are other traps in the Castaneda books, but these are more like sorcerer's traps, which a person transitioning from 'the' cognitive system to the 'other' cognitive system could fall into. For example, the concept of inorganic beings being an integral part of developing the dreaming body. This is clearly wrong in my mind, it's kind of like when the C's said that humans don't need help evolving, i.e. I don't think we need help developing our dreaming bodies.
 

Zadius Sky

The Living Force
I don't think this thread mentions Patterson's biography of Castenada, which was being discussed here:

Patterson - The Life & Teachings of Carlos Castaneda

Personally, I'd recommend this book, which was an eye-opening read, and there was one thing that was highly evident is Patterson's discovery of the connections between Gurdjieff's teachings and that of Castaneda's. From this book, there is a chapter entitled "Ideas And Sources," which shortly revealed that mentioned connection, and the author showed a list of the similarities in ideas between the two teachings. While there is main difference between the two men's works, both of them "aim to awaken one from the dream of ordinary life" (p. 91). It was a possible, before having read this book, that Castaneda may have derived from Gurdjieff's teachings and reformulated it from a "sorcery" perspective in his books.
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
Another book on Castaneda is Castaneda‎’s Journey: The Power and the Allegory by Richard de Mille. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1978 (Second Edition).

De Mille suggests that Castaneda probably spent more time burrowing in the library stacks at UCLA than out in the Sonoran Desert to find the sources for his books. Also de Mille suggests that even if Castaneda did not meet all the sorcerers exactly as described in the books, Castaneda nevertheless became something of a sorcerer himself in getting his work accepted as a PhD dissertation, and then in finding a much larger audience for it among the wider public. De Mille does not dismiss Castaneda's work as being without any value, but thinks any value in the stories come across in an allegorical or mythic form, rather than from their literal truth.
As we have seen in previous chapters, one of Castaneda’s prime talents is an ability to find, select, transform, marshall and present other people’s ideas without letting the sources show. I have uncovered so many of these sources by now that I am beginning to wonder if anything at all can be correctly attributed to Castaneda.
- page 93.

“I dream my books,” Castaneda told Gwyneth Cravens. “In the afternoon I go through the notebooks with all my field notes in them and translate them into English. Then I sleep in the early evening and dream what I want to write. When I wake up, I can work all night. Everything has arranged itself smoothly in my head, and I don’t need to rewrite. My regular writing is actually very dry and labored.”
- page 102.

More than anything else, Castaneda is a writer – one who cares little for style but much for content, a story-teller who tricks us into learning, a fantasist on a pedagogical mission, a mythmaker who has made himself a myth.
- page 103.

Playing various roles in life as well as in books, Castaneda adapted to the needs of time and place. His performance as colorless pedant qualified him as a sober, trustworthy student at the University. More important, if he had little or no imagination, he could hardly have invented don Juan.

His power over his reader proceeds from allegory. Describing one thing under the guise of another, philosophy as anthropology, separate as boss reality, daydreams as facts, he appeals to the reader’s hunger for myth, magic, ancient wisdom, noble savages, true reality, self-improvement, other worlds, or imaginary playmates. The allegory protects him and teaches us. For him it is the only way to live. For us it is the only way to know him.
- pages 142-143.

Sometimes belief or intention makes things happen in the ordinary world without psychosomatic or other mechanical mediation. The separate reality merges with the boss reality.

Castaneda’s literary magic can be viewed in the same way. The words that come out of his mouth or typewriter are charged with an essence that makes things happen in both separate and boss realities. Some of these things may be beneficial. He is not lying, we can say, because the meaning we get from his allegory is more important than his secret preparations. [. . .] He is not lying because he is careless of being found out, making his tales progressively more preposterous, leaving clues that betray their synthetic eclecticism. Finally he is not lying because the story is more real to him than the paper on which it is printed. [. . .] When eventually recognized as other-saying, Castaneda’s allegory still retains its power. Our commitment to his reality charges it with life. Sorcery turns out to have a social context after all.
- pages 143-144.
 
A

Archaea

Guest
Hmmm... That's interesting stuff. I read the Patterson thread and I agree with the idea that Castaneda went through an accent and then went into a decent, where he became bent more towards STS and more self important. I also have a question about some of these books:

According to these books, can you tell me where Castaneda got his material regarding seeing energy, forming the dreaming body, silencing the mind, and magical passes?

So, for example, does G talk about some of that stuff in his books?

I'm interested in his sources for these subjects because I'd like to learn more about them, as well as getting as close as I can to the 'objective' truth.
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
A later publication by de Mille, The Don Juan Papers (1980), which I haven't seen, apparently gives a list of possible precedents in earlier literature for some of Castaneda's ideas. It is mentioned in this web article:
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.
- _http://www.salon.com/2007/04/12/castaneda/

The similarity of the descriptions of seeing the human aura or energy field as an egg shape in Castaneda's writings and in earlier writings by Yogi Ramacharaka is also described in De Mille's Castaneda's Journey:
The human aura, wrote William Walker Atkinson, is shaped like an egg. [quote from William Walker Atkinson, also known as Ramacharaka:] "To the psychic vision it appears to be 'streaked' by numerous fine lines extending like stiff bristles from the body outward. In normal health and vitality these 'bristles' stand out stiffly, while in cases of impaired vitality of poor health they droop like the soft hair on an animal, and in some cases present the appearance of a ruffled coat of hair, the several 'hairs' standing out in all directions. . . ". [quote from Castaneda:] "Fibers, like white cobwebs," don Juan said, "Very fine threads that circulate from the head to the navel. Thus a man looks like an egg of circulating fibres. And his arms and legs are like luminous bristles, bursting out in all directions."
[. . .]
Though Atkinson's popular occult books were published by the dozen in Chicago, he used the pseudonym "Yogi Ramacharaka." When Castaneda's students at Irvine pointed out the parallel between don Juan's luminous egg and "Ramacharaka's" oval aura, Castaneda "made the intriguing speculation that American Indian sorcery might have originated in Asia."
- de Mille, Castaneda's Journey (Second Edition, 1978, page 94.)
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
In a more general sense, I think there is a whole genre of books that present some kind of system or pathway to knowledge, of greater or lesser value, or of no value at all, in the context of a story that is presented as literally true, but which in reality is largely or entirely fictional. By presenting something as true, what might otherwise seem like just mediocre science-fiction or fantasy writing can acquire a lustre in which it seems more intriguing or compelling. I think the Ringing Cedars series by Vladimir Megre would be a recent example. Personally I am not ruling out that Castaneda did meet and learn from some actual people or intelligences of some form, but I think reading De Mille’s book Castaneda's Journey gave me a more balanced view of how much or how little of Castaneda’s books can be taken at face value.
 

lostinself

Jedi Master
regarding De Mille's publications, here's an article aiming to debunk them:

_http://archive.org/details/Castaneda-DebunkingDeMille

according to the author, De Mille's books are heavily biased and very superficial in dealing with Castaneda's works. he gives a number of examples of DM's stretched interpretations. he also provides some testimionials from people who knew Castaneda in person at the time he was having contacts with Don Juan. all quoted people state Castaneda seemed sincere then and there was no sign of a hoax in the making.

i haven't read De Mille's books, nor the whole "Journey to Ixtlan" series, so i'm unable to assess how valid the article really is.
 
A

Archaea

Guest
Thanks Mal7, I think I might have seen the Don Juan Papers at the the library, the book is quite large so if it is there I'm not going to read the whole thing, but I'm keen to check out the glossary of the things which Castaneda may have ripped off.

I also am not ready to say that Castaneda didn't meet someone or a group of people and learned about this stuff, but I personally am leaning towards the idea that the names and places in the books are fictional. I think Castaneda may have done this in order to respect other peoples privacy, but I have no proof of this, and it's not really any of my business anyway. ;)

Regardless of how true the events in the books are, I'm interested in finding out more about the concepts presented in the books, and it seems to me that if there is an objective truth behind some of these ideas then the glossary in the Don Juan Papers seems like a good place to look for more information. some of the concepts I'm interested in learning more about, and where they came from if Castaneda ripped them off are:

  • The warrior idea
  • Using death as an adviser
  • Self importance
  • The assemblage point
  • Controlled folly

Well, pretty much all the concepts in the books. :P

I'll have a look at the library tomorrow and post anything I find here.
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
lostinself said:
regarding De Mille's publications, here's an article aiming to debunk them:

_http://archive.org/details/Castaneda-DebunkingDeMille

according to the author, De Mille's books are heavily biased and very superficial in dealing with Castaneda's works. he gives a number of examples of DM's stretched interpretations. he also provides some testimionials from people who knew Castaneda in person at the time he was having contacts with Don Juan. all quoted people state Castaneda seemed sincere then and there was no sign of a hoax in the making.

i haven't read De Mille's books, nor the whole "Journey to Ixtlan" series, so i'm unable to assess how valid the article really is.

Thank you for that, I am having a look at the article now. I won't get into examining every point in it, as it is only 25 pages long and if anyone is particularly interested (I don't think I am. . . :) ) they can have a look at the whole article, and De Mille's books, and Castaneda's books. . .

Part of De Mille's methodology was to put into a timeline everything that Castaneda and Don Juan did, as far as it could be determined from the novels, and then to look for inconsistencies, such as things that are first described as happening before something else, and then later after that something else, or changes in Don Juan's personality or manner as presented in the same time periods (although this can be negated by assuming Don Juan was capable of assuming all different kinds of personalities in quick succession).

This methodology of putting things on a timeline seems like a good investigative method me. Some of the individual points De Mille make are weak and would be better discarded, but I think the cumulative effect of all the other points still makes a reasonable case, though not necessarily "beyond reasonable doubt", for De Mille's position that the surface reality presented in the stories (i.e. the actual characters, when and where they met, what they did, what they said) is fictional.

Here is another quote from Castaneda's Journey about a possible source. I include this one not as further evidence of Castaneda's possible plagiarism of ideas, but on the other hand as an example of what I think is a weak point from De Mille. The matter of which ear was spoken into, left or right, could just be a coincidence, rather than something derived from western psychology:

Human beings, speculated Joseph Bogen, may have two distinct minds, a propositional, speaking mind typically lateralized in the left brain, and in the right brain an appositional mind whose functions we can barely guess. In don Juan's terms, the left brain would speak about the tonal, the right brain would intuit the nagual. Why, then, does death stand on the left? Because the nerves that carry sensations cross over to the opposite side of the brain before reaching the perceptual areas. For the same anatomical reason, well known to former City College psychology students but not to stone-age wizards, the naguallian Genaro whispered into Carlos's left ear, the tonallian don Juan into his right.
- De Mille, Castaneda's Journey, page 95.

The following passage from the "Debunking De Mille" article, alleging racism on De Mille's part, had me flying back to De Mille's Castaneda's Journey to see what Desper was talking about:

This section of "Carlos-One And Carlos-Two" [one of the appendices in Castaneda's Journey] ends with a viciously racist
parody by de Mille of how that La Catalina might have verbally threatened Castaneda if they had encountered each other face to face. Passages like this - which are spread throughout Castaneda's Journey - make the task of disproving de Mille's arrogant hypotheses something like swimming in sewage.
- James L. Desper, "Debunking De Mille", page 6.

Here is the passage from De Mille he is referring to:

It is only a serialist's preparation for the next episode, a cliffhanger that makes us hungry for another book. Tune in to my next nonordinary volume and hear 'la Catalina' say: "Oye muchaho! If you theenk thees blackbirding, boar-dodging, car-stalking, sky-sailing, road-hopping, doorway-standing stuff ees bad, just wait three years till I eempersonate don Juan."
- De Mille, Castaneda's Journey, page 171.

That seems to me merely an inept attempt to present a Spanish accent by using a lot of double Es, rather than being "viciously racist". [The "blackbirding" refers to when a woman appeared as a marauding blackbird in Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan, and "sky-sailing" to when she appeared as a sailing silhouette.]
 
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