Good evening. Tonight brings the last of our series of four interviews with our old friend, Professor Ludwig von Helsing, currently at work on his latest offering, “You Can’t Source A Sorcerer”.
Professor, tonight we are going to subtly shift gears, and apply the ideas we have been discussing to a subject of great interest to all who were deeply affected by the works of Carlos Castaneda. Why did he leave us?
Professor von Helsing: It was time for him to go. I don’t know why it was time. Carlos Castaneda may not have understood why it was time. But I have every reason to believe that it was time, and that in leaving he acquiesced to Intent.
MC: What makes you think his number was up?
PVH: We are all acquiescing, all the time. Only our ignorance prevents us from seeing it.
MC: But sorcerers command Intent, don’t they?
PVH: Very few if any humans are masters of Intent. Although he claimed that one member of his party, Silvio Manuel, was such a being, don Juan Matus never claimed such mastery himself. Neither did the Nagual Carlos Castaneda. Intent is a force we acquiesce to, not one we control. But this does not imply that intending is beyond the grasp of anyone. We all do it, all the time. It’s a question of style. Impeccability is behavior that arises from having a glimpse of what you are acquiescing to, and going with it.
MC: Being a conduit for Intent.
PVH: The more a being is acting for Intent, is in alignment with Intent, is doing what the world wants to happen next, the more powerful that being is. This is no paradox, because all of your power has always belonged to the world. When I talk about “the world”, I am not really talking about Earth, or Gaia. To be sure, the sorcerers believe that Earth is an aware being. But its awareness is part of the nagual. This is what I mean by “the world”: the nagual, the sum of everything that is. Sorcerers name our very limited perception of the nagual the first attention, the tonal, the everyday world as we know it. The nagual transcends the first attention. And of course we’ve already said that to transcend is to expand and include into something greater than the sum of the parts. Intent can be thought of as the force that causes the nagual to manifest, to come into being, from moment to moment.
MC: We are acting for Intent….”the kingdom of God is within you”.
PVH: Think of the cells of your own body. Does the body as a whole want every cell striking out on its own, or is there an organization, a strategy, which compels those cells to stay more or less in line? Is it necessary for the cell to know the strategy? Does the nerve in your finger tip need to know why the hand is reaching out to touch? Or is its task simply to gather information as best it can? Human beings, in their vital search for meaning, make a bid for power. If in so doing they ally themselves with the world as a whole, they fulfill their purpose. They help the world find the meaning it seeks. They add their iota of energy to that grand mysterious flow of energy through the Universe. If instead they engage in contrary, selfish behavior, if they try to usurp the command and control of the strategy, they can become ever so slightly misaligned with Intent. But even so they must acquiesce. Stalkers regard the greatest of these selfish usurpers as little tiranitos.
MC: Because their powers are miniscule compared to the flow of Intent? Because what the world wants, the world gets?
PVH: Yes, what they want is insignificant compared to what the world wants. History is full of examples.
MC: Such as?
PVH: There was once played a very famous baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants–part of a “subway series”. The game decided the league championship, and was won by a come-from-behind home run in the bottom of the ninth inning–the “shot heard round the world.” A certain radio announcer’s play-by-play of that miraculous win–“The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”–has become part of the American lexicon, replayed time and again in montages representing the last century. Students of the game have noticed that people internally hear that announcement when recalling the play, even if they were actually at the ballpark, not listening to the radio at all. It has become part of the memory. At this time the media was not as consolidated as it is today, so there were a number of concurrent broadcasts of the game. The Dodgers had their own network, as did the Giants, and naturally the fans had allegiances and animosities with these well-known announcers. Yet even people who were listening to other broadcasts “remember” that famous call. What’s fascinating is that it turns out that an avid Dodger fan so badly wanted to hear the hated Giants’ announcer concede defeat that he decided to tape record it. This is the only audio record of this famous call, and the reason it has survived to become part of history.
MC: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it! We acquiesce in spite of ourselves.
PVH: Here’s a scientific metaphor. Let’s picture the force of Intent graphically in the same manner we symbolize the physical forces, gravity and light, and so on…as a sine wave moving through space. Now, modern day engineers find that the faster they are able to propagate electronic signals through physical materials, the more the problem of signal integrity crops up–that is, is the signal that went into a device the same signal that comes out? Are all of the changes the intended ones?
MC: You’re either the signal or you’re the noise, the static…
PVH: Yes, human actions are only able to achieve minimal distance from the pure wave of Intent. They ride upon that wave, and are carried by it–they may even surf it! You are on the wave or else being perturbed by the wave as it passes.
MC: Lead, follow, or get out of the way!
PVH: Life lived on the wave is more elegant and powerful than otherwise. Warriors call life lived on the wave impeccability. All of the great teachers impart their deepest lessons not just in words, but through their acts. They show you someone on signal, aligned with Intent, impeccable. Carlos Castaneda was no different.
MC: Can you give us an example?
PVH: I could only relate to you my interpretation of incidents that proved to be deep lessons for me. This is true even though I didn’t always recognize this at the time. And it is still entirely unclear to my reason that there was any “intentionality” involved at all, in the sense of purposeful manipulation of events by any intelligence, human or otherwise. Yet my “body”, the other aspect of my being, was shown something. These are the tenuous hooks upon which navigators of infinity have to hang their useless hopes. It may have meant nothing at all–and yet….
MC: But shouldn’t you share your experience with others? Isn’t that what Carlos and the others did?
PVH: I don’t know that I “should”. Obviously, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that anyone “should”. But what do we gain by sharing? Warriors want to avoid the sort of sharing that is really only seeking agreement in the eyes of the onlooker. This agreement supports our self-importance. It solidifies the position of the Self. Our Selves are only important when we are operating in the agreed upon space of the everyday world, where there are social transactions, where things are shared for a price. Warriors believe that this kind of sharing, while sometimes interesting and nice, is not necessary. As solitary aware beings, we’ve already shared our every moment with the world, with every other part of the world that was in that moment with us. It cannot be overemphasized that humankind’s sense of separation from the world is utterly false. The world doesn’t stop and start at our skin. We are connected with those who’ve shared our moments in the most fundamental way, through matter, through energy, through experience. Through being. This is true sharing.
MC: Yet each one’s vantage point is unique.
PVH: And a warrior must learn to treasure that uniqueness, rather than constantly feeling compelled to validate one’s experience through social agreement. My interactions with the sorcerers were so subtle and unempirical that I must decide on their meaning without the help or interference of anyone else. This is the nature of experience that takes place outside the agreed parameters of social interaction and of science.
MC: “Mystical” experience. The second attention…
PVH: Exceptionally aware beings need the utmost detachment and sobriety to avoid being carried away or fooled by such experience. And it strikes me that a most appropriate statement of this warriors’ mood is “let it be.” Don’t be indifferent, but be detached. Lose your illusions–see things for what they are. Let them be what they are. Witness them. Possession is not the name of the game. Analysis (and analysis is only an attempt to possess intellectually) is not the name of the game. Exceptionally aware beings are not interested in playing “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Exceptionally aware beings are unbiased witnesses to Infinity. And because they are unbiased, they are certain of what they have witnessed. Not because they are never wrong, but because they have done their best to witness honestly–they are living the myth, they have no doubt, they have lost the need for agreement.
MC: So what have you assimilated after all this time about the passing of Carlos Castaneda?
PVH: That doing our best IS acquiescing. Our best and what the world wants to happen next are the same thing!
MC: I can freely admit that I have an affinity for that position. But how does that relate to the passing of Carlos Castaneda?
PVH: There are those who believe that Carlos Castaneda’s fate is incidental to the myth of sorcery, and those who insist that the myth must be validated by the evidence of his fate. No doubt some of the former are speaking from blind faith, which, as we’ve seen, is not the warrior’s way. But I feel that certainly all of the latter have violated an agreement which was clearly negotiated upon our first introduction to don Juan Matus long ago–we agreed that there are attentions, total worlds, that are not subject to everyday interpretation, the first attention. Insisting on inspecting those attentions from the perspective of the first attention is, as Carlos Castaneda often joked, “mental masturbation”—present company included.
MC: Ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby!
PVH: Precisely. Myths can only be tried by fire, by living them. Myths become lies when they are not lived strategies, but dogmatic stories. Instead of meeting reality through the myth, reality is squeezed into any shape needed to fit a routine approximation of the supposed rules.
MC: We alter our perception…we turn a blind eye.
PVH: Think of the zoo. Humankind takes wild beautiful creatures and puts them in cages. Makes them safe and accessible. They want to experience firsthand the world’s awesome beauty, but on their own terms. They are willing to sacrifice the freedom of others for the sake of their own unfreedom. They worship the meaning rather than living it. Their lives become a pointless exercise. They seek the solace of the idea, the belief, that their lives have meaning that transcends their time in the world. The less thought-out, the less honest, the less truly felt the meaning they strive for, the more blinded they must be. And the more desperately they will defend that unlived meaning.
MC: My country, right or wrong!
PVH: One of humankind’s favorite illusions is what psychologists call transference. We assign magical powers to another, in the hope that by allying ourselves with them they will protect us, lift us up. This is what most people mean by romantic “love”, and it explains the reverence we hold for our teachers and the adulation we pour out on our cultural icons, our “stars”. We make them special, and then our attachment to them, whether close or admiring from afar, makes us special as well. Carlos Castaneda left us with a practical demonstration of the power the illusion of transference has over us, and how little it had over him.
MC: Carlos left us without a guru.
PVH: He told us over and over again that this was not his function. He warned us not to glorify him. As he put it, he didn’t want us to enshrine his huaraches. Carlos Castaneda was not “Big Daddy”. And of course we, by which I mean the bulk of the Tensegrity practitioners, insisted upon glorifying him anyway, and were impressed and filled with loving admiration for his humility. We thrilled at any little notice by or personal contact with our hero. The overwhelming and unconscious reliance we all have on the illusion of transference was beyond our power to set aside.
MC: So Carlos purposely left us in doubt. He tried to break the transference.
PVH: Ruthlessly. By which I don’t infer evil intention, only the willingness to do whatever’s necessary. Carlos Castaneda didn’t need your belief in him–the myth he was living said that all he had to do to authenticate that myth was live the myth in front of you. For Carlos Castaneda, living the myth was necessary and sufficient. He never wanted you to be responsible for following his rules; didn’t want you to walk like him or dress like him, didn’t want you sitting at his feet with adoring eyes, didn’t want you to kiss his photograph, didn’t want you to mourn his passing or pray for his intercession. Carlos Castaneda wanted to offer you the chance to be you, really you, for the first time in your life. Because he had been given the chance to remember himself. Someone had shown him that it could be done.
MC: But wasn’t the source of his concern for us altruism? Compassion?
PVH: Carlos Castaneda wanted what the world wants. He was living an ancient myth. The myth stated that having been offered, undeserved, the chance to have a chance at living the warrior’s way, the Nagual as an expression of gratitude offers others that same chance. Carlos Castaneda was the Nagual, not because he was some holy avatar, but because he gave us the myth of the warrior, the chance to have a chance. In so doing he left us in the myth’s debt–just as he had once been.
MC: And showed us how to repay our debt…
PVH: By living the myth in the real world. By authenticating it. By making it so. And in so doing, and only by so doing, showing others that it can be done.
MC: But the manner in which Carlos and the others are offering that “chance to have a chance” is somewhat of a style shift from the lineage of don Juan Matus, isn’t it?
PVH: Until recently, to be sure, the activities of the warriors of the lineage were more clandestine and exclusive. This was a matter of survival for much of history. Now the direst consequence of being a self-proclaimed sorcerer, at least in the Western world, is derisive laughter. Recent Naguals were of the belief that all technique was only the means to an end–the redistribution of one’s own energy. They also believed that the time for secrecy was ended. They knew that their myth mirrored creation in the fact that it represents a flow of energy, not a static, unchanging code. They gave Carlos Castaneda the task of deciding what happened next. Which of course meant only one thing to a sorcerer–tracking Intent, agreeing with what the world wanted to happen next. Carlos Castaneda and his cohorts made a decision of mythic proportions. They decided to end don Juan’s lineage in a poetically metaphorical fashion–they gave the lineage a chance to have a chance. By passing it to a new generation of warriors, who have a modern challenge– complete self-sufficiency. In so doing, I believe, they acquiesced. The world’s command is adapt or die. In other words, evolution.
MC: We’ve got to come into our own without any assistance from Big Daddy….
PVH: Coming into our own means taking responsibility for being here. The world is out there, and in here– we are part of it. There is a wealth of perceptual information about the world there for the taking, a world of knowledge. What matters is your own connection with knowledge.
MC: Woody Allen said that if God must test us, he would have preferred a written exam. OK, so if we’re all self-sufficient, how do Cleargreen and Tensegrity fit into all of this?
PVH: Cleargreen is tracking the flow of energy that is the myth of the warrior. But the point those marvelous beings constantly make is that every practitioner is an equally important and mysterious part of that flow. We are alone in a crowd. We are self-sufficient together.
Tensegrity demonstrates the masterful handling of the myth of the warrior by Carlos Castaneda and his cohorts. Even as we speak I am struck by the elegance of the solution hit upon by those warriors for “closing the lineage with a golden clasp”. You see, no secret was made of the fact that Tensegrity was a radical shift from the way the magical passes had been historically taught. What had been four distinct lines of hereditary knowledge, four sets of individualized instruction, were transformed into a single homogeneous unit. The first task of the Tensegrity practitioner is to validate for oneself that the magical passes do in fact affect one’s energy.
MC: You can’t expect the FDA to issue guidelines about them.
PVH: To be a student of Tensegrity is to take responsibility for validating the power of the magical passes through one’s own experience. The second, more advanced task of a Tensegrity practitioner is to use one’s own connection with knowledge in order to use the magical passes to best effect with one’s own energy. To take them back to a more individualized state. To align them with the current flow of energy. Taken together, these tasks clean, tune, train our connection with knowledge. Only a warrior, an exceptionally aware being, could hope to achieve these tasks. Thus each student of Tensegrity joins the attempt to evolve the myth of the Naguals’ lineage into the myth of the self-sufficient warrior, lives the changing myth of the warrior. They learn to track energy. To listen to their own connection with knowledge.
MC: But to paraphrase Richard Pryor, how do we know whether the impressive voice inviting us into the dark alley is indeed the Voice of God, or just a couple of brothers with a baseball bat?
PVH: Well, that’s exactly what we’ve been talking about, isn’t it? The warrior’s dilemma is that there is nothing to rely on but one’s inner knowledge. Since it is imperfect, reliance upon such knowledge makes us bound to fail. All we can do is be as undeluded, as aware, as possible. We have to use the connection we have with knowledge, a connection that is more than mental, that engages all aspects of our being. And we are responsible for that connection, its clarity. No one else can make that connection for us. Nor would a warrior want them to. When you are following the rules, you are following. Warriors take responsibility for knowing what’s what.
MC: So you’re saying that we have to have enough faith in our bodily knowledge to act upon it. This would be easier if I could conceptualize what bodily knowledge is…
PVH: We already rely on our bodily knowledge all the time. We know when our friend is sad, our boss displeased, our lover amorous. Our mental description of these things follows and attempts to explain our awareness of them, it doesn’t generate our awareness of them. Some aspects of our connection with knowledge are called “instincts”, as if that term explained anything. But we have experience of the phenomena, so we are able to accept explanations that don’t really explain anything…we say, “I know what you mean”.
MC: Albert Einstein said, ” It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” Some things are better felt than talked about. But are we talking about some sort of hippie sensibility? If it feels good, do it? And if our actions shake up the “squares”, so much the better?
PVH: Warriors are not proselytizers nor exhibitionists. Stalkers become invisible not by dematerializing, but by walking through crowds unnoticed. They are well mannered. They do not impose themselves on others. Warriors aim to be appropriately available. That is, they only go where they are invited. Social manners are the current level of humankind’s striving to reach this state. Many who see that manners alone are not enough, or that some will use manners hypocritically, allow this disillusionment to sour them on the very idea of manners. And of course, situations arise which demand that manners be set aside. But this is no contradiction, only an indication that being appropriately available transcends manners. And again, this means that being appropriately available includes manners into something greater–waiting to be invited by the world.
MC: But what about don Genaro? As much as I love the stories about him, he could hardly be called refined…what with his defecation making the mountains tremble.
PVH: That was an act of power, to awaken Carlos Castaneda to the fact that “Genaro” was in fact his double, and thus incapable of defecating.
MC: Not because he was careless of those around him…
PVH: Warriors are not inconsiderate of others. They don’t want to be inconsiderate of anything–they want to consider the world. They are tracking energy, looking at all of the available clues about how to proceed.
They must consider everything. Warriors are attempting to gather more of the available information, not ignore what they already have–for instance, that acting rudely attracts attention. But they are also ruthless, which means that once a decision is made every necessary step will be taken to carry it out–even if it is rude.
After all, there are times when one wants to attract attention. Such ruthlessly accomplished actions must then be based upon sober consideration of the available intelligence.
MC: And the clues won’t necessarily be reading the auras around people or conversations with spirit animals…
PVH: The Nagual Carol Tiggs warned us not to expect lightning from her tits. The indications of the flow of energy are mostly the same experiences which were always available to your overall awareness but outside your specific consciousness, what you are paying attention to at the moment. Even in the first attention we can see the blindness that results from the narrowing focus of the specific consciousness. That is, if you’ve ever bumped your head or stubbed your toe, you’ve experienced it.
MC: You knew the chair was there, but you kicked it anyway. You weren’t “paying attention”.
PVH: One way of looking at sorcery is as the task of reclaiming the knowledge that is already available to us–“claiming knowledge as power”. The path of enhanced awareness is not a set of rules, or a magic formula, or a scientific theory. It is waking up. We want to know beforehand whether sorcery is “true”; we want to be convinced. But that’s entirely beside the point.
MC: Your need to “know” is working against you.
PVH: Controlled folly, the art of impeccability, the task of aligning oneself with Intent, demands that you not know. Your hope must be a useless hope, not an ironclad guarantee. That is for the death deniers, not exceptionally aware beings. I said before that another way of saying controlled folly was intelligent faith. Now I’d like to refine that and call it earned faith.
MC: As opposed to–what, misguided faith?
PVH: As we have seen, there is great power in faith. In modern times we have witnessed people like the Nazi SS and fanatics of all stripes using that power in awesomely destructive ways. And we have seen that most people use faith as a screen against the true nature of their existence. The problem with this sort of faith from a warriors’ point of view is that it is a matter of personal belief. Warriors are beings who are exceptionally aware of the folly of personal belief. Yet warriors realize that all anyone has to base our decisions upon is our own understanding of what should happen next. Warriors attempt to ground their acts in the impersonal cues available to us from the world, because this strategy will allow us to minimize the effects of our personal folly. Therefore a warrior is one who endlessly attempts to ensure that they are acting not out of personal interests but at the invitation of the world. The warrior must earn the ability to trust one’s own connection with Intent by removing the personal from their motivation.
MC: This sounds like the Eastern belief that spiritual beings must lose their desire…but I think a problem most Westerners have with this idea is, are we then to do nothing?
PVH: This is a delicate semantic issue–what do we mean by “we”? Should the “we” that believes in self-righteousness, that deserves respect and justice, that needs to be loved and valued, do nothing? Warriors would answer in the affirmative. But if “we” refers to our true selves, completely integrated bits of the world, then we can certainly act–but as agents of the world, at the world’s prompting.
MC: So the question is, how do I assess in my own awareness whether any given spur to action arises from the world’s prompting or from self-interest? I “have to believe” that I am proceeding correctly, which for a warrior means–what?
PVH: It means that one has honestly done one’s best to act selflessly. It means listening to all of the inputs that are available to us, and disregarding those inputs that arise from selfishness. It is fundamentally a problem of identity. Again, the world neither begins nor ends at our skin. We are nothing but the world. So long as beings believe themselves separate from the world, they effectively screen off the invitations of the world. Listening to one’s connection with knowledge is merely re-integrating oneself with the world, humbly accepting that we are each but infinitesimal bits of a larger entity. Once one has accomplished this re-integration, has properly identified their being with that of the world, then one can listen to the self– because the self is the world.
MC: So this re-integration with the world means that more of the information the world has to offer is available to our specific consciousness.
PVH: Yes, but warriors also act upon that information. They accomplish that re-integration not just mentally or spiritually, but with all of their being.
MC: But how does one do that?
PVH: Picture any way in which you wish your life were different. What will be the one undeniable facet of that desired state? That you will be in that moment, doing it, living it. Think of a movie star. They can read a script and think it has great possibilities, the role of a lifetime. They may have great faith in, or merely a desire to test, their abilities to pull off that role. So they learn the lines, they audition, and so on. But when the director says “Action!” they have to become that role, to play that part to the hilt. Anything less and the audience will know that it’s just play acting. Re-integrating oneself with the world, losing the Self and its feelings of importance, also requires that total effort, that complete identification with the role. Otherwise the world will know you’re faking. This is stalking. Warriors choose their roles carefully, and never accept roles that enslave, which cannot be dropped at a moment’s notice. This is controlled folly.
MC: “Don’t dream it, be it.” But you seem to be saying that we should agree with the world’s wishes. I thought don Juan talked about getting agreements from the world.
PVH: Agreement is a two-way street. Warriors are beings with passion for the world. They attempt to be what the world wants them to be, to be good company for the world. Warriors know that if they want to be invited to the party, they have to bring the party with them. They do this by fearlessly seeking out the meanings the world points out to them through its agreements. If someone is feeling lonely, bitter, angry, jealous, bored, in a word, self-important, the world is not agreeing with them nor they with the world. On the other hand, when one’s life is full of joy, affection, and awe, the world agrees. Thus the warriors’ path is an endless effort to bring more knowledge of Intent, the wishes of the world, into our lives. We can only do this by being appropriately available, by patiently waiting to be invited, and then soberly accepting the world’s invitations with all the passion of our being. How you find your passions, how you follow them is the question you were put here to answer. The key is to stay on target, and not settle for less. In other words, to have an unbending intent to romance the world.
MC: And your final thoughts on the Nagual Carlos Castaneda?
PVH: Carlos Castaneda was an invitation from the world, the nagual. We can accept that invitation only by living the myth of the warrior. In so doing, and only in so doing, we invite the beings who share our world to join that myth in the moment that is coming into our awareness just now.
PVH: But in any event, bon voyage!