(New Age April 1994)
The assumption that art, magic, and science can’t exist in the same space at the same time is an obsolete remnant of Aristotelian philosophical categories. We’ve got to get beyond this kind of nostalgia in the social science of the twenty-first century. Even the term ethnography is too monolithic, because it implies that writing about other cultures is an activity specific to anthropology, whereas in fact ethnography cuts across various disciplines and genres. Furthermore, even the ethnographer isn’t monolithic – he or she must be reflexive and multifaceted, just like the cultural phenomena that are encountered as “other”.
What sorcery comes down to is the act of embodying some specialized theoretical and practical premises about the nature of perception in molding the universe around us. It rook me a long time to understand, intuitively, that there were three Castanedas: one who observed don Juan, the man and teacher; another who was the active subject of don Juan’s training – the apprentice; and still another who chronicled the adventures. “Three” is a metaphor to describe the sensation of endlessly changing boundaries. Likewise, don Juan himself was constantly shifting positions. Together we were traversing the crack between the natural world of everyday life and an unseen world, which don Juan called “the second attention”, a term he preferred to “supernatural”.