(Encounters with the Nagual by Armando Torres)
That afternoon, Carlos was talking to us about certain characteristics of perception. He told us that human beings have inherited from the dinosaurs the trait of seeing the sky as a blue color. On the other hand, he claimed that our relatives, the primates, see it as a yellow color.
Answering a question from someone, he described the world in which we live as ‘a conglomerate of interpretation units.’
Understanding that this definition was an obscure one for his listeners, he explained:
“Man belongs to the primate group. His great fortune is that he can achieve unique expressions of awareness due to his capacity for attention and analysis. However, pure perception is always interfered with by the way we interpret. Therefore, our reality molds itself to our description.”
“The goal of sorcerers is to perceive all that is humanly possible. Since we cannot escape our biological condition, let us be sublime monkeys!”
“To perfect our understanding”, he added, “the path of attention is all we’ve got.”
That same night I had an opportunity to talk with him, and I asked him to break his statements into smaller pieces for me.”
He said that due to our biological condition, we all work as units of perception. And it is possible for us to make ‘a miracle of attention: Perceptual homogenization’.
“What does ‘units of perception’ mean?” I asked.
“It means that, since we are autonomous beings, our perception could also be autonomous. But it is not, because by coming to an agreement with our fellow men, we all perceive the same thing. That extraordinary ability, which began as a voluntary consent aimed at survival, has ended up tying us to our own descriptions.”
He affirmed that the flow of the Eagle’s emanations is continually new and disconcerting, but we don’t see it because we live three steps removed from the real world: Our innate sensitivity, our biological interpretation, and our social agreement.
Those steps do not happen simultaneously, but their speed is superior to anything we can consciously determine; because of that, we take for a fact the world we perceive.
I asked him to give an example.
“Imagine that at this moment you witness a group of the Eagle’s emanations. Automatically, you transform it into something sensorial, with characteristics like, brightness, sound, movement, etc. Then memory intervenes, which is under the obligation to give everything meaning, and you recognize it, for example, as another person. Lastly, your social inventory classifies it, by comparing the person with those you know; that classification allows you to identify him. Already, you are a good distance away from the real fact, which is indescribable, because it is unique.”
“The same thing happens with everything we see. Our comprehension is the result of a long process of purifications or skimmings’, as Don Juan called them. We skim everything, and in that way we modify the world that surrounds us to such an extent that there is very little left of the original. Although this situation helps us to live under better conditions, it also enslaves us to our own creation, and makes us predictable.”
“When we homogenize our assemblage points, the only things we allow ourselves to perceive are those which do not go against our preconceived idea of the world. We are like horses who after learning a path can no longer enjoy their freedom; all they do is to repeat a pattern. That homogeneity is frightful, it is too much. Start thinking! Something is missing!”
He maintained that any preconceived idea, even something as simple as the names we give things, keeps us tied to reason, because it forces us to create mechanisms of judgement.
“For example, when you say: ‘I believe in God’, in fact you are saying: ‘They told me certain ideas and I have chosen to adopt them; now I even kill for them’. Then you are not the one who decides! It is the other, the implanted judgement.”
“The ideal thing is that you determine your life starting from your own experience. If your belief takes something away from you, beware! Everything that doesn’t make you free, enslaves you.”
“Being focused on a particular aspect of the human inventory has two effects: it turns us into specialists in our field, but, at the same time, it will fossilize the energy conduits, which will then only react to certain stimuli, saturating our self with ideas and opinions.”
“A warrior cannot have the luxury of following people’s ways, nor can he be a reactionary, because his freedom means to exercise other alternatives.”