The Black Magicians
(Tales of Power)
“You like the humbleness of a beggar,” he said softly. “You bow your head to reason.”
“I always think that I’m being tricked,” I said. “That’s the crux of my problem.”
“You’re right. You are being tricked,” he retorted with a disarming smile. “That cannot be your problem. The real crux of the matter is that you feel that I am deliberately lying to you, am I correct?”
“Yes. There is something in myself that doesn’t let me believe that what’s taking place is real.”
“You’re right again. Nothing of what is taking place is real.”
“What do you mean by that, don Juan?”
“Things are real only after one has learned to agree on their realness. What took place this evening, for instance, cannot possibly be real to you, because no one could agree with you about it.”
“Do you mean that you didn’t see what happened?”
“Of course I did. But I don’t count. I am the one who’s lying to you, remember?”
Don Juan laughed until he coughed and choked. His laughter was friendly even though he was making fun of me.
“Don’t pay too much attention to all my gibberish,” he said reassuringly. “I’m just trying to relax you and I know that you feel at home only when you’re muddled up.”
His expression was deliberately comical and we both laughed. I told him that what he had just said made me feel more afraid than ever.
“You’re afraid of me?” he asked.
“Not of you, but of what you represent.”
“I represent the warrior’s freedom. Are you afraid of that?”
“No. But I’m afraid of the awesomeness of your knowledge. There is no solace for me, no haven to go to.”
“You’re again confusing issues. Solace, haven, fear, all of them are moods that you have learned without ever questioning their value. As one can see, the black magicians have already engaged all your allegiance.”
“Who are the black magicians, don Juan?”
“Our fellow men are the black magicians. And since you are with them, you too are a black magician. Think for a moment. Can you deviate from the path that they’ve lined up for you? No. Your thoughts and your actions are fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. I, on the other hand, brought you freedom. Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible. So, fear your captors, your masters. Don’t waste your time and your power fearing me.”