(Encounters with the Nagual)
In another conversation, Carlos said that our reason is a byproduct of the foreign mind, and that we shouldn’t trust it. For someone with my mental make-up, this was very difficult to accept.
When I asked him about this, he explained that what sorcerers reject is not the capacity of reason to reach conclusions, but the way it is imposed on our life as if it is the only alternative.
“Rationality makes us feel like a solid block, and we begin to grant the greatest importance to concepts like ‘reality’. When we face unusual situations, like those which assault the sorcerer, we tell ourselves: ‘It is not reasonable’, and it seems we have said everything there is to say.
“The world of our mind is dictatorial, but fragile. After some years of continuous use, the self becomes so heavy that it is just common sense to give it a rest in order to continue ahead.
“A warrior fights to break the description of the world which has been injected into him, in order to open up a space for new things. His war is against the self. For that purpose, he tries to be permanently aware of his potential. Since the content of perception depends on the position of the assemblage point, a warrior tries with all his might to loosen the fixation of that point. Instead of creating a cult out of his speculations, he pays attention to certain premises of the path of sorcerers.
“Those premises say that, in the first place, only a high level of energy can enable one to deal adequately with the world. And second: Rationality is a consequence of the fixation of the assemblage point in the position of reason, and that point moves when we achieve internal silence. Third: In our luminous field, there are other positions every bit as pragmatic as rationality. Fourth: When we achieve a point of view which includes reason as well as its twin center, silent knowledge, concepts like truth and lies stop being operative, and it becomes patently clear that man’s true dilemma is to have energy, or not have it.
“Sorcerers reason in a different way to ordinary people. For them, to anchor attention is insanity, and to make it flow is common sense. They call the fixing of the assemblage point in non-habitual areas ‘seeing ‘. Staying sane is imperative, but they have found out that rationality is not always sane. To stay sane is a voluntary act, while to be reasonable is just to fix our attention on an area of collective consent.”
“Are sorcerers opposed to reason, then?”
“I have already told you: They are opposed to its dictatorship. They know the center of reason can take us very far. Absolute reason is merciless, it doesn’t stop halfway; that’s why people are afraid of it. When we are able to focus on it with inflexibility, it generates an obligation to be impeccable, because not to be so is not reasonable. To do things with impeccability is to do all that is humanly possible, and a little more. Therefore, reason also takes you to a movement of the assemblage point.
“To act within the precepts of the warrior’s path, you need clarity of purpose, the courage to take on the task, and an unbending intent. If you look around, you will see that most people ‘of reason’ are not, in fact, located in that center, but on its periphery.”
“Because they lack energy. Their holes prevent them from having any objectivity. Their attention always fluctuates, and because of that their perception is hybrid, it is ambiguous. They drift like a rudderless boat in the current, at the mercy of their emotions and without a clear view of either shore – the bank of pure reasoning on one side, the bank of the abstract on the other.
“What is required of a modern warrior is a condition of sustained energy gain, until his attention can flow between reason and silent knowledge. When moving in that way, he is more sane than ever,
and yet he is not a rational being. From whichever position he assumes, he will always be sighting the other side, and his vision acquires perspective and depth. Sorcerers describe this condition as ‘being double1 or ‘losing the mind’.
“We can arrive at silent knowledge in exactly the same way as our teachers taught us to arrive at reason: By induction. It is like controlling both sides of a bridge. From one side, you can see reason like a net of agreements, which transforms collective interpretations into common sense through the customs of concern. From the other side, you can sense silent knowledge as an unfathomable, creative darkness which extends beyond the threshold of non-pity. Upon crossing this threshold, the ancient sorcerers arrived at the source of pure understanding.
“To be double is to make a connection with oneself, to flow between two points. It is something practically indescribable, but an apprentice experiences it as soon as he saves enough energy. Starting from there, he learns how to deal with reason like a free being, neither reverent nor abject. He acquires what don Juan called ‘intensity’; that is, the capacity to store information in a perceptual block.”
I found the concept of ‘intensity’ totally obscure. I asked him to explain it further.
He answered that perception is composed of content and intensity. Extreme situations, like a sharp awareness of danger, proximity of death, or the effect of power plants, generate great intensity. A sorcerer learns how to store those experiences in the movement of the assemblage point.
He added that what is proposed by the way of knowledge is a change of values in how we understand our social interaction as a species, pulling our energy out from everyday life and concentrating it on situations which require that intensive way of living.
“It is about returning man to marvel, to power, to what he has dreamt about; to reconnect him with astonishment and the capacity to create. That rupture is the only thing which can liberate our luminosity from our perceptual uniformity.”