(The Fire from Within by Carlos Castaneda)
Don Juan discontinued his explanation of the mastery of awareness for several months after my bout with the allies. One day he started it again. A strange event triggered it.
Don Juan was in northern Mexico. It was late afternoon. I had just arrived at the house he kept there, and he immediately had me shift into heightened awareness. And I had instantly remembered that don Juan always came back to Sonora as means of renewal. He had explained that a nagual, being a leader who has tremendous responsibilities, has to have a physical point of reference, a place where an amenable confluence of energies occurs. The Sonoran desert was such a place for him.
On entering into heightened awareness, I had noticed that there was another person hiding in the semidarkness inside the house. I asked don Juan if Genaro was with him. He replied that he was alone, that what I had noticed was one of his allies, the one that guarded the house.
Don Juan then made a strange gesture. He contorted his face as if he were surprised or terrified. And instantly the frightening shape of a strange man appeared at the door of the room where we were. The presence of the strange man scared me so much that I actually felt dizzy. And before I could recuperate from my fright, the man lurched at me with a chilling ferocity. As he grabbed my forearms, I felt a jolt of something quite like a discharge of an electric current.
I was speechless, caught in a terror I could not dispel. Don Juan was smiling at me. I mumbled and groaned, trying to voice a plea for help, while I felt an even greater jolt.
The man tightened his grip and tried to throw me backward on the ground. Don Juan, with no hurry in his voice, urged me to pull myself together and not fight my fear, but roll with it.
“Be afraid without being terrified,” he said. Don Juan came to my side and, without intervening in my struggle, whispered in my ear that I should put all my concentration on the midpoint of my body.
Over the years, he had insisted that I measure my body to the hundredth of an inch and establish its exact midpoint, lengthwise as well as in width. He had always said that such a point is a true center of energy in all of us.
As soon as I had focused my attention on that midpoint, the man let go of me. At that instant I became aware that what I had thought was a human being was something that only looked like one. The moment it lost its human shape to me, the ally became an amorphous blob of opaque light. It moved away. I went after it, moved by a great force that made me follow that opaque light.
Don Juan stopped me. He gently walked me to the porch of his house and made me sit down on a sturdy crate he used as a bench.
I was terribly disturbed by the experience, but even more disturbed by the fact that my paralyzing fear had disappeared so fast and so completely.
I commented on my abrupt change of mood. Don Juan said that there was nothing strange about my volatile change, and that fear did not exist as soon as the glow of awareness moved beyond a certain threshold inside man’s cocoon.
He then began his explanation. He briefly outlined the truths about awareness he had discussed: that there is no objective world, but only a universe of energy fields which seers call the Eagle’s emanations. That human beings are made of the Eagle’s emanations and are in essence bubbles of luminescent energy; each of us is wrapped in a cocoon that encloses a small portion of these emanations. That awareness is achieved by the constant pressure that the emanations outside our cocoons, which are called emanations at large, exert on those inside our cocoons. That awareness gives rise to perception, which happens when the emanations inside our cocoons align themselves with the corresponding emanations at large.
“The next truth is that perception takes place,” he went on, “because there is in each of us an agent called the assemblage point that selects internal and external emanations for alignment. The particular alignment that we perceive as the world is the product of the specific spot where our assemblage point is located on our cocoon.”
He repeated this several times, allowing me time to grasp it. Then he said that in order to corroborate the truths about awareness, I needed energy.
“I’ve mentioned to you,” he continued, “that dealing with petty tyrants helps seers accomplish a sophisticated maneuver: that maneuver is to move their assemblage points.”
He said that for me to have perceived an ally meant that I had moved my assemblage point away from its customary position. In other words, my glow of awareness had moved beyond a certain threshold, also erasing my fear. And all this had happened because I had enough surplus energy.
Later that night, after we had returned from a trip into the surrounding mountains, which had been part of his teachings for the right side, don Juan had me shift again into heightened awareness and then continued his explanation. He told me that in order to discuss the nature of the assemblage point, he had to start with a discussion of the first attention.
He said that the new seers looked into the unnoticed ways in which the first attention functions, and as they tried to explain them to others, they devised an order for the truths about awareness. He assured me that not every seer is given to explaining. For instance, his benefactor, the nagual Julian, could not have cared less about explanations. But the nagual Julian’s benefactor, the nagual Elias, whom don Juan was fortunate enough to meet, did care. Between the nagual Elias’s detailed, lengthy explanations, the nagual Julian’s scanty ones, and his own personal seeing, don Juan came to understand and to corroborate those truths.
Don Juan explained that in order for our first attention to bring into focus the world that we perceive, it has to emphasize certain emanations selected from the narrow band of emanations where man’s awareness is located. The discarded emanations are still within our reach but remain dormant, unknown to us for the duration of our lives.
The new seers call the emphasized emanations the right side, normal awareness, the tonal, this world, the known, the first attention. The average man calls it reality, rationality, common sense.
The emphasized emanations compose a large portion of man’s band of awareness, but a very small piece of the total spectrum of emanations present inside the cocoon of man. The disregarded emanations within man’s band are thought of as a sort of preamble to the unknown, the unknown proper consisting of the bulk of emanations which are not part of the human band and which are never emphasized. Seers call them the left-side awareness, the nagual, the other world, the unknown, the second attention.
“This process of emphasizing certain emanations,” don Juan went on, “was discovered and practiced by the old seers. They realized that a nagual man or a nagual woman, by the fact that they have extra strength, can push the emphasis away from the usual emanations and make it shift to neighboring ones. That push is known as the nagual’s blow.”
Don Juan said that the shift was utilized by the old seers in practical ways to keep their apprentices in bondage. With that blow they made their apprentices enter into a state of heightened, keenest, most impressionable awareness; while they were helplessly pliable, the old seers taught them aberrant techniques that made the apprentices into sinister men, just like their teachers.
The new seers employ the same technique, but instead of using it for sordid purposes, they use it to guide their apprentices to learn about man’s possibilities.
Don Juan explained that the nagual’s blow has to be delivered on a precise spot, on the assemblage point, which varies minutely from person to person. Also, the blow has to be delivered by a nagual who sees. He assured me that it is equally useless to have the strength of a nagual and not see, as it is to see and not have the strength of a nagual, in either case the results are just blows. A seer could strike on the precise spot over and over without the strength to move awareness. and a non-seeing nagual would not be able to strike the precise spot.
He also said that the old seers discovered that the assemblage point is not in the physical body, but in the luminous shell, in the cocoon itself. The nagual identifies that spot by its intense luminosity and pushes it, rather than striking it. The force of the push creates a dent in the cocoon and it is felt like a blow to the right shoulder blade, a blow that knocks all the air out of the lungs.
“Are there different types of dents?” I asked.
“There are only two types,” he responded. “One is a concavity and the other is a crevice; each has a distinct effect. The concavity is a temporary feature and produces a temporary shift – but the crevice is a profound and permanent feature of the cocoon and produces a permanent shift.”
He explained that usually a luminous cocoon hardened by self-reflection is not affected at all by the nagual’s blow. Sometimes, however, the cocoon of man is very pliable and the smallest force creates a bowl-like dent ranging in size from a small depression to one that is a third the size of the total cocoon; or it creates a crevice that may run across the width of the egglike shell, or along its length, making the cocoon look as if it has curled in on itself.
Some luminous shells, after being dented, go back to their original shape instantly. Others remain dented for hours or even days at a time, but they revert back by themselves. Still others get a firm, impervious dent that requires another blow from the nagual on a bordering area to restore the original shape of the luminous cocoon. And a few never lose their indentation once they get it. No matter how many blows they get from a nagual they never revert back to their egglike shapes.
Don Juan further said that the dent acts on the first attention by displacing the glow of awareness. The dent presses the emanations inside the luminous shell, and the seers witness how the first attention shifts its emphasis under the force of that pressure. The dent, by displacing the Eagle’s emanations inside the cocoon, makes the glow of awareness fall on other emanations from areas that are ordinarily inaccessible to the first attention.
I asked him if the glow of awareness is seen only on the surface of the luminous cocoon. He did not answer me right away. He seemed to immerse himself in thought. After perhaps ten minutes he answered my question; he said that normally the glow of awareness is seen on the surface of the cocoon of all sentient beings. After man develops attention, however, the glow of awareness acquires depth. In other words, it is transmitted from the surface of the cocoon to quite a number of emanations inside the cocoon.
“The old seers knew what they were doing when they handled awareness,” he went on. “They realized that by creating a dent in the cocoon of man, they could force the glow of awareness, since it is already glowing on the emanations inside the cocoon, to spread to other neighboring ones.”
“You make it all sound as if it’s a physical affair,” I said. “How can dents be made in something that is just aglow?”
“In some inexplicable way, it is a matter of a glow that creates a dent in another glow,” he replied. “Your flaw is to remain glued to the inventory of reason. Reason doesn’t deal with man as energy. Reason deals with instruments that create energy, but it has never seriously occurred to reason that we are better than instruments: we are organisms that create energy. We are a bubble of energy. It isn’t farfetched, then, that a bubble of energy would make a dent in another bubble of energy.”
He said that the glow of awareness created by the dent should rightfully be called temporary heightened attention, because it emphasizes emanations that are so proximal to the habitual ones that the change is minimal, yet the shift produces a greater capacity to understand and to concentrate and, above all, a greater capacity to forget. Seers knew exactly how to use this upshift in the scale of quality. They saw that only the emanations surrounding those we use daily suddenly become bright after the nagual’s blow. The more distant ones remain unmoved, which meant to them that while being in a state of heightened attention, human beings could work as if they were in the world of everyday life. The need of a nagual man and a nagual woman became paramount to them, because that state lasts only for as long as the depression remains, after which the experiences are immediately forgotten.
“Why does one have to forget?” I asked.
“Because the emanations that account for greater clarity cease to be emphasized once warriors are out of heightened awareness,” he replied. “Without that emphasis whatever they experience or witness vanishes.”
Don Juan said that one of the tasks the new seers had devised for their students was to force them to remember, that is, to reemphasize by themselves, at a later time, those emanations used during states of heightened awareness.
He reminded me that Genaro was always recommending to me that I learn to write with the tip of my finger instead of a pencil so as not to accumulate notes. Don Juan said that what Genaro had actually meant was that while I was in states of heightened awareness I should utilize some unused emanations for storage of dialogue and experience, and someday recall it all by reemphasizing the emanations that were used.
He went on to explain that a state of heightened awareness is seen not only as a glow that goes deeper inside the egglike shape of human beings, but also as a more intense glow on the surface of the cocoon. Yet it is nothing in comparison to the glow produced by a state of total awareness, which is seen as a burst of incandescence in the entire luminous egg. It is an explosion of light of such a magnitude that the boundaries of the shell are diffused and the inside emanations extend themselves beyond anything imaginable.
“Are those special cases, don Juan?”
“Certainly. They happen only to seers. No other men or any other living creatures brighten up like that. Seers who deliberately attain total awareness are a sight to behold. That is the moment when they burn from within. The fire from within consumes them. And in full awareness they fuse themselves to the emanations at large, and glide into eternity.”
After a few days in Sonora I drove don Juan back to the town in the southern part of Mexico where he and his party of warriors lived.
The next day was hot and hazy. I felt lazy and somehow annoyed. In midafternoon, there was a most unpleasant quietude in that town. Don Juan and I were sitting on the comfortable chairs in the big room. I told him that life in rural Mexico was not my cup of tea. I disliked the feeling I had that the silence of that town was forced. The only noise I ever heard was the sound of children’s voices yelling in the distance. I was never able to find out whether they were playing or yelling in pain.
“When you’re here, you’re always in a state of heightened awareness,” don Juan said. “That makes a great difference. But no matter what, you should be getting used to living in a town like this. Someday you will live in one.”
“Why should I have to live in a town like this, don Juan?”
“I’ve explained to you that the new seers aim to be free. And freedom has the most devastating implications. Among them is the implication that warriors must purposely seek change. Your predilection is to live the way you do. You stimulate your reason by running through your inventory and pitting it against your friends’ inventories. Those maneuvers leave you very little time to examine yourself and your fate. You will have to give up all that. Likewise, if all you knew were the dead calm of this town, you’d have to seek, sooner or later, the other side of the coin.”
“Is that what you’re doing here, don Juan?”
“Our case is a little bit different, because we are at the end of our trail. We are not seeking anything. What all of us do here is something comprehensible only to a warrior. We go from day to day doing nothing. We are waiting. I will not tire of repeating this: we know that we are waiting and we know what we are waiting for. We are waiting for freedom!”
“And now that you know that,” he added with a grin, “let’s get back to our discussion of awareness.”
Usually, when we were in that room we were never interrupted by anyone and don Juan would always decide on the length of our discussions. But this time there was a polite knock on the door and Genaro walked in and sat down. I had not seen Genaro since the day after we had run out of his house in a great hurry. I embraced him.
“Genaro has something to tell you,” don Juan said. “I’ve told you that he is the master of awareness. Now I can tell you what all that means. He can make the assemblage point move deeper into the luminous egg after that point has been jolted out of its position by the nagual’s blow.”
He explained that Genaro had pushed my assemblage point countless times after I had attained heightened awareness. The day we had gone to the gigantic flat rock to talk, Genaro had made my assemblage point move dramatically into the left side – so dramatically, in fact, that it had been a bit dangerous.
Don Juan stopped talking and seemed to be ready to give Genaro the spotlight. He nodded as if to signal Genaro to say something. Genaro stood up and came to my side.
“Flame is very important,” he said softly. “Do you remember that day when I made you look at the reflection of the sunlight on a piece of quartz, when we were sitting on that big flat rock?”
When Genaro mentioned it I remembered. On that day just after don Juan had stopped talking, Genaro had pointed to the refraction of light as it went through a piece of polished quartz that he had taken out of his pocket and placed on the flat rock. The shine of the quartz had immediately caught my attention. The next thing I knew, I was crouching on the flat rock as don Juan stood by with a worried look on his face.
I was about to tell Genaro what I had remembered when he began to talk. He put his mouth to my ear and pointed to one of the two gasoline lamps in the room.
“Look at the flame,” he said. “There is no heat in it. It’s pure flame. Pure flame can take you to the depths of the unknown.”
As he talked, I began to feel a strange pressure; it was a physical heaviness. My ears were buzzing; my eyes teared to the point that I could hardly make out the shape of the furniture. My vision seemed to be totally out of focus. Although my eyes were open, I could not see the intense light of the gasoline lamps. Everything around me was dark. There were streaks of chartreuse phosphorescence that illuminated dark, moving clouds. Then, as abruptly as it had faded away, my eyesight returned.
I could not make out where I was. I seemed to be floating like a balloon. I was alone. I had a pang of terror, and my reason rushed in to construct an explanation that made sense to me at that moment: Genaro had hypnotized me, using the flame of the gasoline lamp. I felt almost satisfied.
I quietly floated, trying not to worry; I thought that a way to avoid worrying was to concentrate on the stages that I would have to go through to wake up.
The first thing I noticed was that I was not myself. I could not really look at anything because I had nothing to look with. When I tried to examine my body I realized that I could only be aware and yet it was as if I were looking down into infinite space. There were portentous clouds of brilliant light and masses of blackness; both were in motion. I clearly saw a ripple of amber glow that was coming at me, like an enormous, slow ocean wave. I knew then that I was like a buoy floating in space and that the wave was going to overtake me and carry me. I accepted it as unavoidable. But just before it hit me something thoroughly unexpected happened – a wind blew me out of the wave’s path.
The force of that wind carried me with tremendous speed. I went through an immense tunnel of intense colored lights. My vision blurred completely and then I felt that I was waking up, that I had been having a dream, a hypnotic dream brought about by Genaro, in the next instant I was back in the room with don Juan and Genaro.
I slept most of the following day. In the late afternoon, don Juan and I again sat down to talk. Genaro had been with me earlier but had refused to comment on my experience.
“Genaro again pushed your assemblage point last night,” don Juan said. “But perhaps the shove was too forceful.”
I eagerly told don Juan the content of my vision. He smiled, obviously bored.
“Your assemblage point moved away from its normal position,” he said. “And that made you perceive emanations that are not ordinarily perceived. Sounds like nothing, doesn’t it? And yet it is a supreme accomplishment that the new seers strive to elucidate.”
He explained that human beings repeatedly choose the same emanations for perceiving because of two reasons. First, and most important, because we have been taught that those emanations are perceivable, and second because our assemblage points select and prepare those emanations for being used.
“Every living being has an assemblage point,” he went on, “which selects emanations for emphasis. Seers can see whether sentient beings share the same view of the world, by seeing if the emanations their assemblage points have selected are the same.”
He affirmed that one of the most important breakthroughs for the new seers was to find that the spot where that point is located on the cocoon of all living creatures is not a permanent feature, but is established on that specific spot by habit. Hence the tremendous stress the new seers put on new actions, on new practicalities. They want desperately to arrive at new usages, new habits.
“The nagual’s blow is of great importance,” he went on, “because it makes that point move. It alters its location. Sometimes it even creates a permanent crevice there. The assemblage point is totally dislodged, and awareness changes dramatically. But what is a matter of even greater importance is the proper understanding of the truths about awareness in order to realize that that point can be moved from within. The unfortunate truth is that human beings always lose by default. They simply don’t know about their possibilities.”
“How can one accomplish that change from within?” I asked.
“The new seers say that realization is the technique,” he said. “They say that, first of all, one must become aware that the world we perceive is the result of our assemblage points’ being located on a specific spot on the cocoon. Once that is understood, the assemblage point can move almost at will, as a consequence of new habits.”
I did not quite understand what he meant by habits. I asked him to clarify his point.
“The assemblage point of man appears around a definite area of the cocoon, because the Eagle commands it,” he said. “But the precise spot is determined by habit, by repetitious acts. First we learn that it can be placed there and then we ourselves command it to be there. Our command becomes the Eagle’s command and that point is fixated at that spot. Consider this very carefully; our command becomes the Eagle’s command. The old seers paid dearly for that finding. We’ll come back to that later on.”
He stated once again that the old seers had concentrated exclusively on developing thousands of the most complex techniques of sorcery. He added that what they never realized was that their intricate devices, as bizarre as they were, had no other value than being the means to break the fixation of their assemblage points and make them move.
I asked him to explain what he had said.
“I’ve mentioned to you that sorcery is something like entering a dead-end street,” he replied. “What I meant was that sorcery practices have no intrinsic value. Their worth is indirect, for their real function is to make the assemblage point shift by making the first attention release its control on that point.”
“The new seers realized the true role those sorcery practices played and decided to go directly into the process of making their assemblage points shift, avoiding all the other nonsense of rituals and incantations. Yet rituals and incantations are indeed necessary at one time in every warrior’s life. I personally have initiated you in all kinds of sorcery procedures, but only for purposes of luring your first attention away from the power of self-absorption, which keeps your assemblage point rigidly fixed.”
He added that the obsessive entanglement of the first attention in self-absorption or reason is a powerful binding force, and that ritual behavior, because it is repetitive, forces the first attention to free some energy from watching the inventory, as a consequence of which the assemblage point loses its rigidity.
“What happens to the persons whose assemblage points lose rigidity?” I asked.
“If they’re not warriors, they think they’re losing their minds,” he said, smiling. “Just as you thought you were going crazy at one time. If they’re warriors, they know they’ve gone crazy, but they patiently wait. You see, to be healthy and sane means that the assemblage point is immovable. When it shifts, it literally means that one is deranged.”
He said that two options are opened to warriors whose assemblage points have shifted. One is to acknowledge being ill and to behave in deranged ways, reacting emotionally to the strange worlds that their shifts force them to witness; the other is to remain impassive, untouched, knowing that the assemblage point always returns to its original position.
“What if the assemblage point doesn’t return to its original position?” I asked.
“Then those people are lost,” he said. “They are either incurably crazy, because their assemblage points could never assemble the world as we know it, or they are peerless seers who have begun their movement toward the unknown.”
“What determines whether it is one or the other?”
“Energy! Impeccability! Impeccable warriors don’t lose their marbles. They remain untouched. I’ve said to you many times that impeccable warriors may see horrifying worlds and yet the next moment they are telling a joke, laughing with their friends or with strangers.”
I said to him then what I had told him many times before, that what made me think I was ill was a series of disruptive sensorial experiences that I had had as aftereffects of ingesting hallucinogenic plants. I went through states of total space and time discordance, very annoying lapses of mental concentration, actual visions or hallucinations of places and people I would be staring at as if they really existed. I could not help thinking that I was losing my mind.
“By all ordinary measures, you were indeed losing your mind,” he said, “but in the seers’ view, if you had lost it, you wouldn’t have lost much. The mind, for a seer, is nothing but the self-reflection of the inventory of man. If you lose that self-reflection, but don’t lose your underpinnings, you actually live an infinitely stronger life than if you had kept it.”
He remarked that my flaw was my emotional reaction, which prevented me from realizing that the oddity of my sensorial experiences was determined by the depth to which my assemblage point had moved into man’s band of emanations.
I told him that I couldn’t understand what he was explaining because the configuration that he had called man’s band of emanations was something incomprehensible to me. I had pictured it to be like a ribbon placed on the surface of a ball.
He said that calling it a band was misleading, and that he was going to use an analogy to illustrate what he meant. He explained that the luminous shape of man is like a ball of jack cheese with a thick disk of darker cheese injected into it. He looked at me and chuckled. He knew that I did not like cheese.
He made a diagram on a small blackboard. He drew an egglike shape and divided it in four longitudinal sections, saying that he would immediately erase the division lines because he had drawn them only to give me an idea where the band was located in the cocoon of man. He then drew a thick band at the line between the first and second sections and erased the division lines. He explained that the band was like a disk of cheddar cheese that had been inserted into the ball of jack cheese.
“Now if that ball of jack cheese were transparent,” he went on, “you would have the perfect replica of man’s cocoon. The cheddar cheese goes all the way inside the ball of jack cheese. It’s a disk that goes from the surface on one side to the surface on the other side.
“The assemblage point of man is located high up, three-fourths of the way toward the top of the egg on the surface of the cocoon. When a nagual presses on that point of intense luminosity, the point moves into the disk of the cheddar cheese. Heightened awareness comes about when the intense glow of the assemblage point lights up dormant emanations way inside the disk of cheddar cheese. To see the glow of the assemblage point moving inside that disk gives the feeling that it is shifting toward the left on the surface of the cocoon.”
He repeated his analogy three or four times, but I did not understand it and he had to explain it further. He said that the transparency of the luminous egg creates the impression of a movement toward the left, when in fact every movement of the assemblage point is in depth, into the center of the luminous egg along the thickness of man’s band.
I remarked that what he was saying made it sound as if seers would be using their eyes when they see the assemblage point move.
“Man is not the unknowable,” he said. “Man’s luminosity can be seen almost as if one were using the eyes alone.”
He further explained that the old seers had seen the movement of the assemblage point but it never occurred to them that it was a movement in depth; instead they followed their seeing and coined the phrase “shift to the left,” which the new seers retained although they knew that it was erroneous to call it a shift to the left.
He also said that in the course of my activity with him he had made my assemblage point move countless times, as was the case at that very moment. Since the shift of the assemblage point was always in depth, I had never lost my sense of identity, in spite of the fact that I was always using emanations I had never used before.
“When the nagual pushes that point,” he went on, “the point ends up any which way along man’s band, but it absolutely doesn’t matter where, because wherever it ends up is always virgin ground.”
“The grand test that the new seers developed for their warrior-apprentices is to retrace the journey that their assemblage points took under the influence of the nagual. This retracing, when it is completed, is called regaining the totality of oneself.”
He went on to say that the contention of the new seers is that in the course of our growth, once the glow of awareness focuses on man’s band of emanations and selects some of them for emphasis, it enters into a vicious circle. The more it emphasizes certain emanations, the more stable the assemblage point gets to be. This is equivalent to saying that our command becomes the Eagle’s command. It goes without saying that when our awareness develops into first attention the command is so strong that to break that circle and make the assemblage point shift is a genuine triumph.
Don Juan said that the assemblage point is also responsible for making the first attention perceive in terms of clusters. An example of a cluster of emanations that receive emphasis together is the human body as we perceive it. Another part of our total being, our luminous cocoon, never receives emphasis and is relegated to oblivion; for the effect of the assemblage point is not only to make us perceive clusters of emanations, but also to make us disregard emanations.
When I pressed hard for an explanation of clustering he replied that the assemblage point radiates a glow that groups together bundles of encased emanations. These bundles then become aligned, as bundles, with the emanations at large. Clustering is carried out even when seers deal with the emanations that are never used. Whenever they are emphasized, we perceive them just as we perceive the clusters of the first attention.
“One of the greatest moments the new seers had,” he continued, “was when they found out that the unknown is merely the emanations discarded by the first attention, it’s a huge affair, but an affair, mind you, where clustering can be done. The unknowable, on the other hand, is an eternity where our assemblage point has no way of clustering anything.”
He explained that the assemblage point is like a luminous magnet that picks emanations and groups them together wherever it moves within the bounds of man’s band of emanations. This discovery was the glory of the new seers, for it put the unknown in a new light. The new seers noticed that some of the obsessive visions of seers, the ones that were almost impossible to conceive, coincided with a shift of the assemblage point to the region of man’s band which is diametrically opposed to where it is ordinarily located.
“Those were visions of the dark side of man,” he asserted.
“Why do you call it the dark side of man?” I asked.
“Because it is somber and foreboding,” he said. “It’s not only the unknown, but the who-caresto-know-it.”
“How about the emanations that are inside the cocoon but out of the bounds of man’s band?” I asked. “Can they be perceived?”
“Yes, but in really indescribable ways,” he said. “They’re not the human unknown, as is the case with the unused emanations in the band of man, but the nearly immeasurable unknown where human traits do not figure at all. It is really an area of such an overpowering vastness that the best of seers would be hard put to describe it.”
I insisted once more that it seemed to me that the mystery is obviously within us.
“The mystery is outside us,” he said, “Inside us we have only emanations trying to break the cocoon. And this fact aberrates us, one way or another, whether we’re average men or warriors. Only the new seers get around this. They struggle to see. And by means of the shifts of their assemblage points, they get to realize that the mystery is perceiving. Not so much what we perceive, but what makes us perceive.”
“I’ve mentioned to you that the new seers believe that our senses are capable of detecting anything. They believe this because they see that the position of the assemblage point is what dictates what our senses perceive.”
“If the assemblage point aligns emanations inside the cocoon in a position different from its normal one the human senses perceive in inconceivable ways.”