The Magical Mystery of Existence

An entity free of insistence—a truly open-minded seeker of life’s mysterious truths and appreciative of its many gems along the way—is like the well-nourished tree growing steadily upwards towards the ever wide-open sky of infinite possibilities and the experience of true freedom. Such a faithful, steady seeker, aware of the divine nature of the mystery which lies about him or her, gains direct, intuitive access to the Creator’s unfathomable Intelligence. This in turn greatly accelerates the process of liberation for such a being. Have faith. Seek earnestly. Behold the magical mystery of existence, and you’ll be alright, no matter your circumstances. ~ Bentinho Massaro

Meaning of Matthew 11:11

King James Bible
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

What this means, I think, is that among those selves born of ego (i.e., self-created), no matter how great or accomplished or comely, how wealthy, how popular, how successful, how “spiritual,” they are as nothing compared to the individuation of the Innate Self which lies within each of us.

–Mike Zonta, BB editor

Charles Trénet – La Mer (English Lyrics, Paroles Français)

ProbradIII En française : La mer Qu’on voit danser le long des golfes clairs A des reflets d’argent La mer Des reflets changeants Sous la pluie La mer Au ciel d’été confond Ses blancs moutons Avec les anges si purs La mer bergère d’azur Infinie Voyez Prés des étangs Ces grands roseaux mouilles Voyez Ces oiseaux blancs Et ces maisons rouillées La mer Les a berces Le long des golfes clairs Et d’une chanson d’amour La mer A berce mon cœur pour la vie La mer Qu’on voit danser le long des golfes clairs A des reflets d’argent La mer Des reflets changeants Sous la pluie La mer Au ciel d’été confond Ses blancs moutons Avec les anges si purs La mer bergère d’azur Infinie Voyez Prés des étangs Ces grands roseaux mouilles Voyez Ces oiseaux blancs Et ces maisons rouillées La mer Les a berces Le long des golfes clairs Et d’une chanson d’amour La mer Pour la vie

In English: The sea Where crystal-clear waves dance the gulfs Of silver reflections The sea Of changing reflections Under skies of grey The sea Under the weaving summer sky Clouds like white sheep With angles, pure as gold The sea Like a sapphire shepherdess So infinite Look! To the ponds nearby Where wet reeds grow tall Look! These white-feathered birds And those rusty old homes The sea Cradling them Along the crystal-clear gulfs All for a song of love The sea Will nourish my heart for all my life The sea Where crystal-clear waves dance the gulfs Of silver reflections The sea Of changing reflections Under skies of grey The sea Under the weaving summer sky Clouds like white sheep With angles, pure as gold The sea Like a sapphire shepherdess So infinite Look! To the ponds nearby Where wet reeds grow tall Look! These white-feathered birds And those rusty old homes homes The sea Cradling them Along the crystal-clear gulfs All for a song of love The sea For all my life Will nourish my heart for all my life

Why the Impeachment Fight Is Even Scarier Than You Think

Political scientists have studied what our democracy is going through. It usually doesn’t end well.

By THOMAS PEPINSKY October 31, 2019

Thomas Pepinsky is a professor of government at Cornell University and a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

For decades, Republicans and Democrats fought over the same things: whose values and policies work best for American democracy. But now, those age-old fights are changing. What was once run-of-the-mill partisan competition is being replaced by a disagreement over democracy itself.

This is particularly evident as the president and many of his allies crow about the illegitimacy of the House impeachment inquiry, calling it an attempted coup, and as the White House refuses to comply with multiple congressional subpoenas as part of the probe.

This marks a new phase in American politics. Democrats and Republicans might still disagree about policy, but they are increasingly also at odds over the very foundations of our constitutional order.

Political scientists have a term for what the United States is witnessing right now. It’s called “regime cleavage,” a division within the population marked by conflict about the foundations of the governing system itself—in the American case, our constitutional democracy. In societies facing a regime cleavage, a growing number of citizens and officials believe that norms, institutions and laws may be ignored, subverted or replaced.

And there are serious consequences: An emerging regime cleavage in the United States brought on by President Donald Trump and his defenders could signal that the American public might lose faith in the electoral process altogether or incentivize elected politicians to mount even more direct attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. Regime cleavages emerge only in governing systems in crisis, and our democracy is indeed in crisis.

Just look at the hardening split among the American people on impeachment: The fraction of citizens who oppose the impeachment inquiry is the same as that who approve of the president, signifying that partisan disagreement over policy has turned into a partisan divide over political legitimacy. This cleavage shows up in discourse across the American political spectrum that labels one’s political opponents as un-American, disloyal, even treasonous. But it is clearest in the argument that it would amount to a “coup” to remove the president via conviction in the Senate, and thus that the regular functioning of the legislative branch would be illegitimate. These divisions are over the laws that set out plainly in our Constitution how the president can be subject to sanction.

Regime cleavages are different from other political “cleavages.” Conflict between left and right, for example, over issues such as taxation and redistribution, is healthy. Other cleavages are based on identity, such as racial conflict in South Africa, or religious divides between Hindus and Muslims in India or Protestants and Catholics during the past century in the Netherlands. Identity cleavages can be dangerous, but they are common across the world’s democracies and can be endured, just so long as different groups respect the rule of law and the legitimacy of the electoral process.

Regime cleavages, by contrast, focus the electorate’s attention on the political system as a whole. Instead of seeking office to change the laws to obtain preferred policies, politicians who oppose the democratic order ignore the laws when necessary to achieve their political goals, and their supporters stand by or even endorse those means to their desired ends. Today, when Trump refuses to comply with the House impeachment inquiry, he makes plain his indifference to the Constitution and to the separation of powers. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argues that impeachment overturns an election result, he is doing the same. In the minds of Trump, his allies and, increasingly, his supporters, it’s not just Democrats but American democracy that is the obstacle.

As Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have argued, democracy can manage political conflict only if citizens and politicians allow the institutions of democracy—elections, representative bodies, the judiciary—to do so. Parties and politicians must not be rewarded for refusing to adhere to laws and institutions. Decades ago, a regime cleavage divided Chileans, with conservatives aligning against the elected government of Salvador Allende and eventually leading to a coup that replaced him with General Augusto Pinochet. The United States has confronted a regime cleavage, too: The last emerged in the 1850s, prior to the Civil War, when many in the slave states began to advocate secession—a clear challenge to the legitimacy of the Union.

Growing fights over executive power can mark an emerging regime cleavage in a democracy like ours. One side will hold that “democracy” means empowering the executive and freeing him or her from the strictures of legislative and judicial accountability (in other words, a hollow democracy, one in name only in which executive authority is bound only by the whims of those in power). The other will hold that democracy means strengthening other institutions in order to hold the executive branch to account.

This, in turn, creates a form of outbidding: Even if Democrats oppose an unfettered executive now, they will have every incentive to use whatever presidential powers are available to them when they do hold the White House. This has already begun to happen in the U.S. to some extent: Competition over an unconstrained executive branch, of course, motivated Republicans to oppose President Barack Obama, who also capitalized on the long-term increase in executive authority in the United States. The academic term for this sort of seesaw electoral politics is “democratic careening.” Politics becomes no longer about who delivers the best policy or who best represents voters’ ideals, but rather who can control the executive and how far they can push the limits of the rule of law.

But what distinguishes the current moment under Trump from the normal, albeit worsening, politics of executive-legislative relations in the United States is the politicization of the very notion of executive constraint in the face of an impeachment hearing—this is the source of the regime cleavage.

American politics is not yet fully consumed by this current, emerging regime cleavage. But if it continues without a forceful, bipartisan rebuke, we can expect that politics in the United States will increasingly come to be characterized by the kinds of intractable conflicts between populist outsiders, old-guard politicians, and the machinery of the state that have characterized presidential democracies in countries like Argentina and, more recently, Taiwan. Our regime cleavage has not yet hardened to the extent that it has in these countries, but if it does, it will not be possible to elect a president who can “end the mess in Washington” because both sides of the regime cleavage will argue that the other is illegitimate and undemocratic. Voters, understandably, will lose what faith they have left in the value of democracy itself. In the worst-case scenario, presidents and their supporters would be entirely unaccountable to Congress, while their opponents would reject the legitimacy of the presidency altogether.

Even worse: What if Trump refuses to acknowledge defeat by a Democratic opponent in 2020? What would happen in that case? Might the president’s supporters resort to violence? Might broad segments of the GOP simply refuse to recognize an elected Democratic executive as well?

Protecting the rule of law, defending the separation of powers and restoring constitutional order to Washington increasingly seem as though they will require the impeachment, conviction and removal from office of the current president. At the very least, Americans of every political persuasion must demand that the administration take part in the impeachment proceedings, even if the Republicans in the Senate ultimately weigh partisanship over evidence in their vote. So long as the executive and legislative branches respect the procedures and powers outlined in the Constitution, we must all respect their legitimacy—regardless of the outcome. If we fail to agree on and abide by our common democratic principles, our emerging regime cleavage will harden, and the future for American democracy will be bleak.

Making space as an expression of love

November 2, 2019 (onbeing.org)

Every once in a while, I come across a new way of seeing a well-trodden word. Rev. angel Kyodo williams offers one for perhaps the most overstretched of them all — love:

“Love is space. It is developing our own capacity for spaciousness within ourselves to allow others to be as they are. That is love. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t have hopes or wishes that things are changed or shifted, but that to come from a place of love is to be in acceptance of what is, even in the face of moving it towards something that is more whole, more just, more spacious for all of us.”

Reversing williams’s phrasing, I’ve been thinking about what shifts when we think about space as an expression of love. When I was in New York last week, each community garden I passed became not just a lush refuge from the city’s busyness but also an articulation of the love we hope for one another as neighbors and citizens — everyone who had advocated and tended to the garden was making space for all who had yet to pass by. Seeing love as space also offers another way of articulating the atrocities happening at the U.S. border. What does it mean when we do not make space for human beings? Is this the opposite of love?

williams’s definition also takes us inward — toward the space we can create for our whole selves. It can feel difficult to offer yourself permission to simply be. But thankfully we can use Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” as a permission slip:

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

If you needed some sign from the universe to make space — in big ways, in small, both inward and out — let this be it.

Yours,
Kristin Lin
Editor, The On Being Project

P.S. — Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet and good friend of On Being, will be in the Netherlands in November speaking at two events, including a launch for the Dutch edition of his book In the Shelter.

Science as we know it can’t explain consciousness – but a revolution is coming

By Philip Goff, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Durham University, The ConversationNovember 1, 2019 (yahoo.com)

<span class="caption">MRI scan of the brain.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/confirm/590081462?src=49avW3pm8XvCQV2A-X3eOg-1-3&size=huge_jpg" rel=
MRI scan of the brain. MRIman

Explaining how something as complex as consciousness can emerge from a grey, jelly-like lump of tissue in the head is arguably the greatest scientific challenge of our time. The brain is an extraordinarily complex organ, consisting of almost 100 billion cells – known as neurons – each connected to 10,000 others, yielding some ten trillion nerve connections.

We have made a great deal of progress in understanding brain activity, and how it contributes to human behaviour. But what no one has so far managed to explain is how all of this results in feelings, emotions and experiences. How does the passing around of electrical and chemical signals between neurons result in a feeling of pain or an experience of red?

There is growing suspicion that conventional scientific methods will never be able answer these questions. Luckily, there is an alternative approach that may ultimately be able to crack the mystery.

For much of the 20th century, there was a great taboo against querying the mysterious inner world of consciousness – it was not taken to be a fitting topic for “serious science”. Things have changed a lot, and there is now broad agreement that the problem of consciousness is a serious scientific issue. But many consciousness researchers underestimate the depth of the challenge, believing that we just need to continue examining the physical structures of the brain to work out how they produce consciousness.

The problem of consciousness, however, is radically unlike any other scientific problem. One reason is that consciousness is unobservable. You can’t look inside someone’s head and see their feelings and experiences. If we were just going off what we can observe from a third-person perspective, we would have no grounds for postulating consciousness at all.

Of course, scientists are used to dealing with unobservables. Electrons, for example, are too small to be seen. But scientists postulate unobservable entities in order to explain what we observe, such as lightning or vapour trails in cloud chambers. But in the unique case of consciousness, the thing to be explained cannot be observed. We know that consciousness exists not through experiments but through our immediate awareness of our feelings and experiences.

<span class="caption">Only you can experience your emotions.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/happy-hiker-her-arms-outstretched-freedom-347845511?src=YHUWldAWLvgabWMmx7t27g-1-6" rel=
Only you can experience your emotions. Olga Danylenko

So how can science ever explain it? When we are dealing with the data of observation, we can do experiments to test whether what we observe matches what the theory predicts. But when we are dealing with the unobservable data of consciousness, this methodology breaks down. The best scientists are able to do is to correlate unobservable experiences with observable processes, by scanning people’s brains and relying on their reports regarding their private conscious experiences.

By this method, we can establish, for example, that the invisible feeling of hunger is correlated with visible activity in the brain’s hypothalamus. But the accumulation of such correlations does not amount to a theory of consciousness. What we ultimately want is to explain why conscious experiences are correlated with brain activity. Why is it that such activity in the hypothalamus comes along with a feeling of hunger?

In fact, we should not be surprised that our standard scientific method struggles to deal with consciousness. As I explore in my new book, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, modern science was explicitly designed to exclude consciousness.

Before the “father of modern science” Galileo Galilei, scientists believed that the physical world was filled with qualities, such as colours and smells. But Galileo wanted a purely quantitative science of the physical world, and he therefore proposed that these qualities were not really in the physical world but in consciousness, which he stipulated was outside of the domain of science.

This worldview forms the backdrop of science to this day. And so long as we work within it, the best we can do is to establish correlations between the quantitative brain processes we can see and the qualitative experiences that we can’t, with no way of explaining why they go together.

Mind is matter

I believe there is a way forward, an approach that’s rooted in work from the 1920s by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the scientist Arthur Eddington. Their starting point was that physical science doesn’t really tell us what matter is.

This may seem bizarre, but it turns out that physics is confined to telling us about the behaviour of matter. For example, matter has mass and charge, properties which are entirely characterised in terms of behaviour – attraction, repulsion and resistance to acceleration. Physics tells us nothing about what philosophers like to call “the intrinsic nature of matter”, how matter is in and of itself.

It turns out, then, that there is a huge hole in our scientific world view – physics leaves us completely in the dark about what matter really is. The proposal of Russell and Eddington was to fill that hole with consciousness.

The result is a type of “panpsychism” – an ancient view that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of the physical world. But the “new wave” of panpsychism lacks the mystical connotations of previous forms of the view. There is only matter – nothing spiritual or supernatural – but matter can be described from two perspectives. Physical science describes matter “from the outside”, in terms of its behaviour, but matter “from the inside” is constituted of forms of consciousness.

This means that mind is matter, and that even elementary particles exhibit incredibly basic forms of consciousness. Before you write that off, consider this. Consciousness can vary in complexity. We have good reason to think that the conscious experiences of a horse are much less complex than those of a human being, and that the conscious experiences of a rabbit are less sophisticated than those of a horse. As organisms become simpler, there may be a point where consciousness suddenly switches off – but it’s also possible that it just fades but never disappears completely, meaning even an electron has a tiny element of consciousness.

What panpsychism offers us is a simple, elegant way of integrating consciousness into our scientific worldview. Strictly speaking it cannot be tested; the unobservable nature of consciousness entails that any theory of consciousness that goes beyond mere correlations is not strictly speaking testable. But I believe it can be justified by a form of inference to the best explanation: panpsychism is the simplest theory of how consciousness fits in to our scientific story.

While our current scientific approach offers no theory at all – only correlations – the traditional alternative of claiming that consciousness is in the soul leads to a profligate picture of nature in which mind and body are distinct. Panpsychism avoids both of these extremes, and this is why some of our leading neuroscientists are now embracing it as the best framework for building a science of consciousness.

I am optimistic that we will one day have a science of consciousness, but it won’t be science as we know it today. Nothing less than a revolution is called for, and it’s already on its way.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Philip Goff has previously received funding from projects funded by the Templeton foundation, but not in connection with this article.

(Contributed by Janet Cornwell, H.W., m.)

Common – Good Morning Love feat. Samora Pinderhughes

thinkcommon My new album, Let Love, is out now! Stream/Order Let Love: https://found.ee/Common_LetLove Store: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveStore Spotify: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveSpotify Apple Music: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveApple iTunes: https://found.ee/Common_HerculesiTunes Amazon: https://found.ee/Common_HerculesAMZ Google Play: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveGoogle YouTube (playlist): https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveYT YouTube Music: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveYTMusic Pandora: https://found.ee/Common_LetLovePandora Deezer: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveDeezer Soundcloud: https://found.ee/Common_LetLoveSC Follow Common: Facebook: https://found.ee/Common_FB Twitter: https://found.ee/Common_Twitter Instagram: https://found.ee/Common_IG

[Intro]
Yeah

[Chorus: Samora Pinderhughes]
When we wash all our pain away
We say, “Oh, my Lord”
When we can’t make it through the day
We pray, oh, my Lord
It’s a test coming to my faith
We pray, oh, my Lord, mmh
Will my people ever be safe?
In the land that takes us and breaks us, I can’t be sure

[Verse 1: Common]
Walking with the Lord, I see footprints
My mama always told me use my good sense
Common always looking for the good sense
Since we all got good in our essence
In the hood sense, we all good anyway
That’s why you always hear another dollar, ‘nother day
I see the day as a new beginning
Movement of the people, movement of the women
To get the Earth spinning in the right direct
This movie of life, sometimes might project
Acts, scenes that don’t seem serene
I light palo santo, put on Love Supreme
And get into the being of the great I am

That’s when I get to seeing just how great I am
Many many times from mistakes, I ran
But I’m just a cake, let me bake, goddamn
I pray I don’t forsake my man
And whenever I fall, on faith, I land
Imperfections, resurrections
In the mirror staring at God’s reflection
Reflecting on my aggressions
On my progressions, on my obsessions
There’s a lesson in not feeling less
And in seeing life itself as a blessing

[Chorus: Samora Pinderhughes]
When we wash all our pain away
We say, “Oh, my Lord”
When we can’t make it through the day
We pray, oh, my Lord
It’s a test coming to my faith
We pray, oh, my Lord, mmh
Will my people ever be safe?
In the land that takes us and breaks us, I can’t be sure

[Verse 2: Common]
Yeah
The jubilee of a newer me
Giving my enemies something new to see
My community, they be fueling me
In the struggle of us, there’s a unity
The moral universe stay schooling me
Will the king of kings really rule in me?
I’m an instrument, stay in tune with me
This orchestrated by Karriem, Samora, Boom, and me
If agape had a Cupid, she’d be shooting me
This rap here is fear’s eulogy
Escape rooms with glasses of wine
Just another crutch for my brokenness
A term that I got from my therapist
As a black man, I feel I should be sharin’ this
In the hood they say we crazy and we derelicts
But we needed for our kids and our marriages
The old folks say we don’t do that
But taking care of self is the new black
Unconventional ways, unconditional ways
Mediation, mindfulness, it’s just given to praise
I’m in a phase, all I see is victory
You on that wave, then come and get with me
I only want what’s meant for me
And say the things that’s sent to me
In penitentiaries, I met the most enlightened
Finding the losses, Heaven’s excitement
I write with a force of a kid that wanted to
Be in The Source, but that changed, of course
I maintained the sauce and became a boss
I apologize if I came across
As judgmental, or self-righteous
‘Cause in you, I see his likeness

[Chorus: Samora Pinderhughes]
When we wash all our pain away
We say, “Oh, my Lord”
When we can’t make it through the day
We pray, oh, my Lord
It’s a test coming to my faith
We pray, oh, my Lord, mmh
Will my people ever be safe?
In the land that takes us and breaks us, I can’t be sure

William Burroughs on paranoia

William S. Burroughs

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. ”

― William S. Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American writer and visual artist. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Wikipedia

Carlos Castaneda Time Magazine Interview

Don Juan and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

March 5, 1973 (nagualism.com)

Glendower: “I can call spirits from the vasty deep
Hotspur: “Why so can I, or so can any man;”
But will they come when you do not call for them?
— Henry IV, Part I

THE Mexican border is a great divide. Below it, the accumulated structures of Western “rationality” waver and plunge. The familiar shapes of society – landlord and peasant, priest and politician – are laid over a stranger ground, the occult Mexico, with its brujos and carismaticos, its sorcerers and diviners. Some of their practices go back 2,000 and 3,000 years to the peyote and mushroom and morning glory cults of the ancient Aztecs and Toltecs. Four centuries of Catholic repression in the name of faith and reason have reduced the old ways to a subculture, ridiculed and persecuted. Yet in a country of 53 million, where many village marketplaces have their sellers of curative herbs, peyote buttons or dried hummingbirds, the sorcerer’s world is still tenacious. Its cults have long been a matter of interest to anthropologists. But five years ago, it could hardly have been guessed that a master’s thesis on this recondite subject, published under the conservative imprint of the University of California Press, would become one of the bestselling books of the early ’70s.

OLD YAQUI. The book was The Teachings of Don Juan: a Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968). With its sequels, A Separate Reality (1971) and the current Journey to Ixtlan (1972), it has made U.S. cult figures of its author and subject an anthropologist named Carlos Castaneda and a mysterious old Yaqui Indian from Sonora called Juan Matus. In essence, Castaneda’s books are the story of how a European rationalist was initiated into the practice of Indian sorcery. They cover a span of ten years, during which, under the weird, taxing and sometimes comic tutelage of Don Juan, a young academic labored to penetrate and grasp what he calls the “separate reality” of the sorcerer’s world. The learning of enlightenment is a common theme in the favorite reading of young Americans today (example: Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha). The difference is that Castaneda does not present his Don Juan cycle as fiction but as unembellished documentary fact.

The wily, leather-bodied old brujo and his academic straight man first found an audience in the young of the counterculture, many of whom were intrigued by Castaneda’s recorded experiences with hallucinogenic (or psychotropic) plants: Jimson weed, magic mushrooms, peyote. The Teachings has sold more than 300,000 copies in paperback and is currently selling at a rate of 16,000 copies a week. But Castaneda’s books are not drug propaganda, and now the middleclass middlebrows have taken him up. Ixtlan is a hardback bestseller, and its paperback sales, according to Castaneda’s agent Ned Brown, will make its author a millionaire.

To tens of thousands of readers, young and old, the first meeting of Castaneda with Juan Matus which took place in. 1960 in a dusty Arizona bus depot near the Mexican border is a better known literary event than the encounter of Dante and Beatrice beside the Arno. For Don Juan’s teachings have reached print at precisely the moment when more Americans than ever before are disposed to consider “non-rational” approaches to reality. This new openness of mind displays itself on many levels, from ESP experiments funded indirectly by the U.S. Government to the weeping throngs of California 13 year olds getting blissed out by the latest child guru off a chartered jet from Bombay. The acupuncturist now shares the limelight with Marcus Welby, M.D., and his needles are seen to work – nobody knows why. However, with Castaneda’s increasing fame have come increasing doubts. Don Juan has no other verifiable witness, and Juan Matus is nearly as common a name among the Yaqui Indians as John Smith farther north. Is Castaneda real? If so, did he invent Don Juan? Is Castaneda just putting on the straight world?

Among these possibilities, one thing is sure. There is no doubt that Castaneda, or a man by that name, exists: he is alive and well in Los Angeles, a loquacious, nut-brown anthropologist, surrounded by such concrete proofs of existence as a Volkswagen minibus, a Master Charge card, an apartment in Westwood and a beach house. His celebrity is concrete too. It now makes it difficult for him to teach and lecture, especially after an incident at the University of California’s Irvine campus last year when a professor named John Wallace procured a Xerox copy of the manuscript of Ixtlan, pasted it together with some lecture notes from a seminar on shamanism Castaneda was giving, and peddled the result to Penthouse magazine. This so infuriated Castaneda that he is reluctant to accept any major lecture engagements in the future. At present he lives “as inaccessibly as possible” in Los Angeles, refreshing his batteries from time to time at what he and Don Juan refer to as a “power spot” atop a mountain north of nearby Malibu: a ring of boulders overlooking the Pacific. So far he has fended off the barrage of film offers. “I don’t want to see Anthony Quinn as Don Juan,” he says with asperity. Anyone who tries to probe into Castaneda’s life finds himself in a maze of contradictions. But to Castaneda’s admirers, that scarcely matters. “Look at it this way,” says one. “Either Carlos is telling the documentary truth about himself and Don Juan, in which case he is a great anthropologist. Or else it is an imaginative truth, and he is a great novelist. Heads or tails, Carlos wins.”

Indeed, though the man is an enigma wrapped in mystery wrapped in a tortilla, the work is beautifully lucid. Castaneda’s story unfolds with a narrative power unmatched in other anthropological studies. Its terrain studded with organpipe cacti, from the glittering lava massifs of the Mexican desert to the ramshackle interior of Don Juan’s shack becomes perfectly real. In detail, it is as thoroughly articulated a world as, say, Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County. In all the books, but especially in Journey to Ixtlan , Castaneda makes the reader experience the pressure or mysterious winds and the shivver of leaves at twilight, the hunter’s peculiar alertness to sound and smell, the rock bottom scrubbiness of Indian life, the raw fragrance of tequila and the vile, fibrous taste of peyote, the dust in the car and the loft of a crow’s flight. It is a superbly concrete setting, dense with animistic meaning. This is just as well, in view of the utter weirdness of the events that happen in it.

The education of a sorcerer, as Castaneda describes it, is arduous. It entailed the destruction, by Don Juan, of the young anthropologist’s interpretation of the world; of what can, and cannot be called “real.” The Teachings describes the first steps in this process. They involved natural drugs. One was Lophophora williamsii, the peyote cactus, which, Don Juan promised, revealed an entity named Mescalito, a powerful teacher who “shows you the proper way of life.” Another was Jimson weed, which Don Juan spoke of as an implacable female presence. The third was humito, “the little smoke” a preparation of dust from Psilocybe mushrooms that had been dried and aged for a year, and then mixed with five other plants, including sage. This was smoked in a ritual pipe, and used for divination.

Such drugs, Don Juan insisted, gave access to the “powers” or impersonal forces at large in the world that a “man of knowledge” – his term for sorcerer – must learn to use. Prepared and administered by Don Juan, the drugs drew Castaneda into one frightful or ecstatic confrontation after another. After chewing peyote buttons Castaneda met Mescalito successively as a black dog, a column of singing light, and a cricket like being with a green warty head. He heard awesome and uninterpretable rumbles from the dead lava hills. After smoking humito and talking to a bilingual coyote, he saw the “guardian of the other world” rise before him as a hundred-foot high gnat with spiky tufted hair and drooling jaws. After rubbing his body with an unguent made from datura, the terrified anthropologist experienced all the sensations of flying.

Through it all, Castaneda often had little idea of what was happening. He could not be sure what it meant or whether any of it had “really” happened at all. That interpretation had to be supplied by Don Juan.

Why, then, in an age full of descriptions of good and bad trips, should Castaneda’s sensations be of any more interest than anyone else’s? First, because they were apparently conducted within a system – albeit one he did not understand at the time – imposed with priestly and rigorous discipline by his Indian guide. Secondly, because Castaneda kept voluminous and extraordinarily vivid notes. A sample description of the effects of peyote: “In a matter of instants a tunnel formed around me, very low and narrow, hard and strangely cold. It felt to the touch like a wall of solid tinfoil…l remember having to crawl towards a sort of round point where the tunnel ended; when I finally arrived, if I did, I had forgotten all about the dog, Don Juan, and myself.” Perhaps most important, Castaneda remained throughout a rationalist Everyman. His one resource was questions: a persistent, often fumbling effort to keep a Socratic dialogue going with Don Juan:

“‘Did I take off like a bird?’ “‘You always ask me questions I cannot answer…What you want to know makes no sense. Birds fly like birds and a man who has taken the devil’s weed flies as such.’ “‘Then I didn’t really fly, Don Juan. I flew in my imagination. Where was my body?’ ” And so on.

By his account, the first phase of Castaneda’s apprenticeship lasted from 1961 to 1965, when, terrified that he was losing his sense of reality – and by now possessing thousands of pages of notes – he broke away from Don Juan. In 1968, when The Teachings appeared, he went down to Mexico again to give the old man a copy. A second cycle of instruction then began. Gradually Castaneda realized that Don Juan’s use of psychotropic plants was not an end in itself, and that the sorcerer’s way could be traversed without drugs.

But this entailed a perfect honing of the will. A man of knowledge, Don Juan insisted, could only develop by first becoming a “warrior” not literally a professional soldier, but a man wholly at one with his environment, agile, unencumbered by sentiment or “personal history”. The warrior knows that each act may be his last. He is alone. Death is the root of his life, and in its constant presence he always performs “impeccably.” This existential stoicism is a key idea in the books. The warrior’s aim in becoming a “man of knowledge” and thus gaining membership as a sorcerer, is to “see.” “Seeing,” in Don Juan’s system, means experiencing the world directly, grasping its essence, without interpreting it. Castaneda’s second book, A Separate Reality, describes Don Juan’s efforts to induce him to “see” with the aid of mushroom smoke. Journey to Ixtlan, though many of the desert experiences it recounts predate Castaneda’s introduction to peyote, datura and mushrooms, deals with the second stage: “seeing” without drugs.

“The difficulty.” says Castaneda, “is to learn to perceive with your whole body, not just with your eyes and reason. The world becomes a stream of tremendously rapid, unique events. So you must trim your body to make it a good receptor; the body is an awareness, and it must be treated impeccably.” Easier said than done. Part of the training involved minutely, even piously attuning the senses to the desert, its animals and birds, its sounds and shadows, the shifts in its wind, and the places in which a shaman might confront its spirit entities: spots of power, holes of refuge. When Castaneda describes his education as a hunter and plant gatherer learning about the virtues of herbs, the trapping of rabbits, the narrative is absorbing. Don Juan and the desert enable him, sporadically and without drugs, to “see” or, as the Yaqui puts it “to stop the world.” But such a state of interpretation free experience eludes description even for those who believe in Castaneda wholeheartedly.

SAGES. Not everybody can, does or will. But in some quarters Castaneda’s works are extravagantly admired as a revival of a mode of cognition that has been largely neglected in the West, buried by materialism and Pascal’s despair, since the Renaissance. Says Mike Murphy, a founder of the Esalen Institute: “The essential lessons Don Juan has to teach are the timeless ones that have been taught by the great sages of India and the spiritual masters of modern times.” Author Alan Watts argues that Castaneda’s books offer an alternative to both the guilt-ridden Judaeo-Christian and the blindly mechanistic views of man: “Don Juan’s way regards man as something central and important. By not separating ourselves from nature we return to a position of dignity.”

But such endorsements and parallels do not in any way validate the more worldly claim to importance of Castaneda’s books: to wit, that they are anthropology, a specific and truthful account of an aspect of Mexican Indian culture as shown by the speech and actions of one person, a shaman named Juan Matus. That proof hinges on the credibility of Don Juan as a being and Carlos Castaneda as a witness. Yet there is no corroboration beyond Castaneda’s writings that Don Juan did what he is said to have done, and very little that he exists at all.

Ever since The Teachings appeared, would be disciples and counterculture tourists have been combing Mexico for the old man. One awaits the first Don Juan Prospectors’ Convention in the Brujo Bar BQ of the Mescalito Motel. Young Mexicans are excited to the point where the authorities may not even allow Castaneda’s books to be released there in Spanish translation. Said one Mexican student who is himself pursuing Don Juan: “If the books do appear, the search for him could easily turn into a gold-rush stampede.”

His teacher, Castaneda asserts, was born in 1891, and suffered in the diaspora of the Yaquis all over Mexico from the 1890s until the 1910 revolution. His parents were murdered by soldiers. He became a nomad. This helps explain why the elements of Don Juan’s sorcery are a combination of shamanistic beliefs from several cultures. Some of them are not at all “representative” of the Yaquis. Many Indian tribes, such as the Huichols, use peyote ritually, both north and south of the border – some in a syncretic blend of Christianity and shamanism. But the Yaquis are not peyote users.

Don Juan, then, might be hard to find because he wisely shuns his pestering admirers. Or maybe he is a composite Indian, a collage of others. Or he could be a purely fictional shaman concocted by Castaneda.

Opinions differ widely and hotly, even among deep admirers of Castaneda’s writing. “Is it possible that these books are nonfiction?” Novelist Joyce Carol Oates asks mildly. “They seem to me remarkable works of art on the Hesse-like theme of a young man’s initiation into ‘another way’ of reality. They are beautifully constructed. The character of Don Juan is unforgettable. There is a novelistic momentum, rising, suspenseful action, a gradual revelation of character.”

GULLIVER. True, Castaneda’s books do read like a highly orchestrated Bildungsroman. But anthropologists worry less about literary excellence than about the shaman’s elusiveness, as well as his apparent disconnection from the Yaquis. “I believe that basically the work has a very high percentage of imagination,” says Jesus Ochoa, head of the department of ethnography at Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology. Snaps Dr. Francis Hsu of Northwestern University: “Castaneda is a new fad. I enjoyed the books in the same way that I enjoy Gulliver’s Travels.” But Castaneda’s senior colleagues at U.C.L.A., who gave their former student a Ph.D. for Ixtlan, emphatically disagree: Castaneda, as one professor put it, is “a native genius,” for whom the usual red tape and bureaucratic rigmarole were waived; his truth as a witness is not in question.

At the very least, though, it is clear that “Juan Matus” is a pseudonym used to protect his teacher’s privacy. The need to be inaccessible and elusive is a central theme in the books. Time and again, Don Juan urges Castaneda to emulate him and free himself not only of daily routines, which dull perception, but of the imprisoning past itself. “Nobody knows my personal history,” the old man explains in Ixtlan. “Nobody knows who I am or what I do. Not even I…we either take everything for sure and real, or we don’t. If we follow the first path, we get bored to death with ourselves and the world. If we follow the second and erase personal history, we create a fog around us, a very exciting and mysterious state.”

Unhappily for anyone hot for certainties about Carlos Castaneda’s life, Don Juan’s apprentice has taken the lesson very much to heart. After The Teachings became an underground bestseller, it was widely supposed that its author was El Freako the Acid Academic, all buckskin fringe and pinball eye, his brain a charred labyrinth lit by mysterious alkaloids, tripping through the desert with a crow on his hat. But Castaneda means chestnut grove, and the man looks a bit like a chestnut: a stocky, affable Latin American, 5 ft. 5 in., 150 lbs. and apparently bursting with vitamins. The dark curly hair is clipped short, and the eyes glisten with moist alertness. In dress, Castaneda is conservative to the point of anonymity, decking himself either in dark business suits or in Lee Trevino-type sports shirts. His plumage is words, which pour from him in a ceaseless, self-mocking and mesmeric flow. “Oh, I am a bullshitter!” he cackles, spreading his stubby, calloused hands. “Oh, how I love to throw the bull around!”

FOG. Castaneda says he does not smoke or drink hard liquor; he does not use marijuana; even coffee jangles him. He says he does not use peyote any more, and his only drug experiences took place with Don Juan. His own encounters with the acid culture have been unproductive. Invited to a 1964 East Village party that was attended by such luminaries as Timothy Leary, he merely found the talk absurd: “They were children, indulging in incoherent revelations. A sorcerer takes hallucinogens for a different reason than heads do, and after he has gotten where he wants to go, he stops taking them.”

Castaneda’s presentation of himself as Mr. Straight, it should be noted, could not be better designed to foil those who seek to know his own personal history. What, in fact, is his background? The “historical” Carlos Castaneda, anthropologist and apprentice shaman, begins when he met Don Juan in 1960; the books and his well-documented career at U.C.L.A. account for his life since. Before that, a fog.

In spending many hours with Castaneda over a matter of weeks, TIME Correspondent Sandra Burton found him attractive, helpful and convincing – up to a point – but very firm about warning that in talking about his pre-don Juan life he would change names and places and dates without, however, altering the emotional truth of his life. “I have not lied or contrived,” he told her. “To contrive would be to pull back and not say anything or give the assurances that everybody seeks.” As the talks continued, Castaneda offered several versions of his life, which kept changing as Burton presented him with the fact that much of his information did not check out, emotionally or otherwise.

By his own account, Castaneda was not his original name. He was born, he said, to a “well-known” but anonymous family in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Christmas Day, 1935. His father, who later became a professor of literature, was then 17, and his mother 15. Because his parents were so immature, little Carlos was packed off to be raised by his maternal grandparents on a chicken farm in the back country of Brazil.

When Carlos was six, his story runs, his parents took their only child back and lavished guilty affection on him. “It was a hellish year,” he says flatly, “because I was living with two children.” But a year later his mother died. The doctors’ diagnosis was pneumonia, but Castaneda’s is accidie, a condition of numbed inertia, which he believes is the cultural disease of the West. He offered a touching memory: “She was morose, very beautiful and dissatisfied, an ornament. My despair was that I wanted to make her something else, but how could she listen to me? I was only six.”

Now Carlos was left with his father, a shadowy figure whom he mentions in the books with a mixture of fondness and pity shaded with contempt. His father’s weakness of will is the obverse to the “impeccability” of his adopted father, Don Juan. Castaneda describes his father’s efforts to become a writer as a farce of indecision. But, he adds, “I am my father. Before I met Don Juan I would spend years sharpening my pencils, and then getting a headache every time I sat down to write. Don Juan taught me that’s stupid. If you want to do something, do it impeccably, that’s all that matters.”

Carlos was put in a “very proper” Buenos Aires boarding school, Nicolas Avellaneda. He says he stayed there till he was 15, acquiring the Spanish (he already spoke Italian and Portuguese) in which he would later interview Don Juan. But he became so unmanageable that an uncle, the family patriarch, had him placed with a foster family in Los Angeles. In 1951 he moved to the U.S. and enrolled at Hollywood High. Graduating about two years later, he tried a course in sculpture at Milan’s Academy of Fine Arts, but “I did not have the sensitivity or the openness to be a great artist.” Depressed, in crisis, he headed back to Los Angeles and started a course in social psychology at U.C.L.A, shifting later to an anthropology course. Says he: “I really threw my life out the window. I said to myself: If it’s going to work, it must be new.” In 1959 he formally changed his name to Castaneda.

BIOGRAPHY. Thus Castaneda’s own biography. It creates an elegant consistency – the spirited young man moving from his academic background in an exhausted, provincial European culture toward revitalization by the shaman; the gesture of abandoning the past to disentangle himself from crippling memories. Unfortunately, it is largely untrue.

For between 1955 and 1959, Carlos Castaneda was enrolled, under that name, as a pre-psychology major at Los Angeles City College. His liberal arts studies included, in his first two years, two courses in creative writing and one in journalism. Vernon King, his creative writing professor at L.A.C.C., still has a copy of The Teachings inscribed “To a great teacher, Vernon King, from one of his students, Carlos Castaneda. “

Moreover, immigration records show that a Carlos Cesar Arana Castaneda did indeed enter the U.S., at San Francisco, when the author says he did: in 1951. This Castaneda too was 5 ft. 5 in., weighed 140 lbs. and came from Latin America. But he was Peruvian, born on Christmas Day, 1925, in the ancient Inca town of Cajamarca, which makes him 48, not 38, this year. His father was not an academic, but a goldsmith and watchmaker named Cesar Arana Burungaray. His mother, Susana Castaneda Navoa, died not when Carlos was six, but when he was 24. Her son spent three years in the local high school in Cajamarca and then moved with his family to Lima in 1948, where he graduated from the Colegio Nacional de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe and then studied painting and sculpture, not in Milan, but at the National Fine Arts School of Peru. One of his fellow students there Jose Bracamonte, remembers his pal Carlos as a resourceful blade who lived mainly off gambling (cards, horses, dice), and harbored “like an obsession” the wish to move to the U.S. “We all liked Carlos,” recalls Bracamonte. “He was witty, imaginative, cheerful – a big liar and a real friend.”

SISTER. Castaneda apparently wrote home sporadically, at least until 1969, the year after Don Juan came out. His Cousin Lucy Chavez, who was raised with him “like a sister,” still keeps his letters. They indicate that he served in the U.S. Army, and left it after suffering a slight wound or “nervous shock” Lucy is not sure which. (The Defense Department, however, has no record of Carlos Arana Castaneda’s service.)

When TIME confronted Castaneda with such details as the time and transposition of his mother’s death, Castaneda was opaque. “One’s feelings about one’s mother,” he declared, “are not dependent on biology or on time. Kinship as a system has nothing to do with feelings.” Cousin Lucy recalls that when Carlos’ mother did die, he was overwhelmed. He refused to attend the funeral, locked himself in his room for three days without eating. And when he came out announced he was leaving home. Yet Carlos’ basic explanation of his lying generally is both perfect and totally unresponsive. “To ask me to verify my life by giving you my statistics,” he says, “is like using science to validate sorcery. It robs the world of its magic and makes milestones out of us all.” In short, Castaneda lays claim to an absolute control over his identity.

Well and good. But where does a writer’s license, the “artistic self-representation” Castaneda lays claim to, end? How far does it permeate his story of Don Juan? As the books’ sales mount, the resistance multiplies. Three parodies of Castaneda have appeared in New York magazines and papers lately indicating that the critics seem to be preparing to skewer Don Juan as a kind of anthropological Ossian, the legendary third century Gaelic poet whose works James Macpherson foisted upon 18th century British readers.

Castaneda fans should not panic, however. A strong case can be made that the Don Juan books are of a different order of truthfulness from Castaneda’s pre-don Juan past. Where, for example, was the motive for an elaborate scholarly put on? The Teachings was submitted to a university press, an unlikely prospect for bestsellerdom. Besides, getting an anthropology degree from U.C.L.A. is not so difficult that a candidate would employ so vast a confabulation just to avoid research. A little fudging, perhaps, but not a whole system in the manner of The Teachings, written by an unknown student with, at the outset, no hope of commercial success.

For that was certainly Castaneda’s situation in the summer of 1960: a young Peruvian student with limited ambitions. There is no reason to doubt his account of how the work began. “I wanted to enter graduate school and do a good job of being an academic, and I knew that if I could publish a little paper beforehand, I’d have it made.” One of his teachers at U.C.L.A., Professor Clement Meighan, had interested him in shamanism. Castaneda decided the easiest field would be ethnobotany, the classification of psychotropic plants used by sorcerers. Then came Don Juan.

The visits to the Southwest and the Mexican desert gradually became the spine of Castaneda’s life. Impressed by his work, the U.C.L.A. staff offered him encouragement. Recalls Professor Meighan: “Carlos was the type of student a teacher waits for.” Sociology professor Harold Garfinkel, one of the fathers of ethnomethodology, gave Castaneda constant stimulus and harsh criticism. After his first peyote experience (August 1961), Castaneda presented Garfinkel with a long “analysis” of his visions. “Garfinkel said, “Don’t explain to me. You are a nobody. Just give it to me straight and in detail, the way it happened. The richness of detail is the whole story of membership.” The abashed student spent several years revising his thesis, living off odd jobs as taxi driver and delivery boy, and sent it in again. Garfinkel was still unimpressed. “He didn’t like my efforts to explain Don Juan’s behavior psychologically. ‘Do you want to be the darling of Esalen?’ he asked.” Castaneda rewrote the thesis a third time.

Like the various versions of Castaneda’s life, the books are an invitation to consider contradictory kinds of truth. At the core of his books and Don Juan’s method is, of course, the assumption that reality is not an absolute. It comes to each of us culturally determined, packaged in advance. “The world has been rendered coherent by our description of it,” Castaneda argues, echoing Don Juan. “From the moment of birth, this world has been described for us. What we see is just a description. ‘

MULTIVERSE. In short, what men take as reality, as well as their notions of the world’s rational possibilities, is determined by consensus, in effect by a social contract that varies from culture to culture. Through history, the road has been hard for any person who questions its fine print – especially if, like Castaneda, he tries to persuade others to accept his vision.

Anthropology by its nature deals with different descriptions, and hence literally with separate realities, within different cultures. As Castaneda’s colleague Edmund Carpenter of Adelphi College notes, “Native people have many separate realities. They believe in a multiverse, or a biverse, but not a universe as we do.” Yet even this much scholarly relativism is indigestible for many people who like to reassure themselves that there is only one world and that the “validity” of a culture’s interpretations can and should be measured only against this norm. Any myth, they would say, can conveniently be seen as an embryonic form of what the West accepts as linear history; a Hopi rain dance is merely an “inefficient” way of doing what cloud-seeding does well.

Castaneda’s books insist otherwise. He is eloquent and convincing on how useless it is to explain or judge another culture entirely in terms of one’s own particular categories. “Suppose there was a Navajo anthropologist,” he says. “It would be very interesting to ask him to study us. He would ask extraordinary questions, like ‘How many in your kinship group have been bewitched?’ That’s a terribly important question in Navajo terms. And of course, you’d say ‘I don’t know,’ and think ‘What an idiotic question.’ Meanwhile the Navajo is thinking, ‘My God, what a creep! What a primitive creep!’ “

Turn the situation around, Castaneda argues, and there is your typical Western anthropologist in the field. Yet a “very simple” alternative exists: the crux of anthropology is acquisition of real membership. “It’s a hell of a lot of work,” he says, explaining the years he spent with Don Juan. “What Don Juan did with me was simply this: he was making his sorcery membership available, handing down the necessary steps.” Professor Michael Harner of The New School for Social Research, a friend of Castaneda’s and an authority on shamanism, explains: “Most anthropologists only give the result. Instead of synthesizing the interviews, Castaneda takes us through the process.”

It is not those years of study but the nature of the revelation he offers that has run Castaneda afoul of rationalists. To join another man’s consensus of reality, one’s own must go, and since nobody can easily abandon his own accustomed description it must be forcibly broken up. The historical precedents, even in the West, are abundant. Ever since the ecstatic mystery religions of Greece, our culture has been continually challenged by the wish to escape its own dominant properties: the linear, the categorical, the fixed.

Whether Carlos Castaneda is, as some leading scholars think, a major figure in an evolution of anthropology or only a brilliant novelist with unique knowledge of the desert and Indian lore, his work is to be reckoned with. And it goes on. At present, he is finishing the fourth and last volume of the Don Juan series, Tales of Power, scheduled for publication next year.

“POWER SPOT.” It may confront, more clearly than the first three books, the final purpose of Don Juan’s painful teachings: a special case of the ancient desire to know, propitiate and, if possible, use the mysterious forces of the universe. In that pursuit, the splitting of the atom, the sin of Prometheus and Castaneda’s search for a “power spot” near Los Angeles can all be remotely linked. A good deal of the magic Don Juan works on Castaneda in the books (making Carlos believe his car has disappeared, for instance) sounds like the kind of fakir rope trickery that gurus think frivolous. Yet all in all, the books communicate a primal sense of power running through the world, arranging our perceptions of reality like so many iron filings in a huge magnetic field.

A sorcerer’s power, Castaneda insists, is “unimaginable,” but the extent to which a sorcerer’s apprentice can hope to use it is determined by, among other things, the degree of his commitment. The full use of power can only be acquired with the help of an “ally”, a spirit entity which attaches itself to the student as a guide – of a dangerous sort. The ally challenges the apprentice when he learns to “see,” as Castaneda did in the earlier books. The apprentice may duck this battle. For if he wrestles with the ally – like Jacob with the Angel – and loses, he will, in Don Juan’s slightly enigmatic terms, “be snuffed out.” But if he wins, his reward is “true power the final acquisition of sorcery membership, when all interpretation ceases.”

Up to now, Castaneda claims, he has chosen to duck the final battle with an ally. He admits to an inner struggle on the matter. Sometimes, he says, he feels strongly tugged away from the commitment to sorcery and back into the mundane world. He has a very real urge to be a respected writer and anthropologist, and to use his new-found power of fame in tandem with the printed word to go on communicating glimpses of other realities to hungry readers.

APEX. Moreover, like most men who have explored mystical separate realities and returned, he seems to have reentry problems. According to the books, Don Juan taught him to abandon regular hours – for work or play – and even in his apartment in Los Angeles he apparently eats and sleeps as whim occurs, or slips off to the desert. But he often works at his writing as many as 18 hours a day. He has great skill at avoiding the public. No one can be sure where he will be at any given time of day, or year. “Carlos will call you from a phone booth,” says Michael Korda, his editor at Simon & Schuster, “and say he is in Los Angeles. Then the operator will cut in for more change, and it turns out to be Yuma.” His few good friends do not give his whereabouts away to would-be acolytes, in part because his own experience is mysterious and he can’t explain it. He has a girl friend but not even his friends know her last name. He avoids photographers like omens of disaster. “I live in this inflow of very strange people that are waiting for a word from me. They expect something that I can’t give at all. I had a class in Irvine that was very large, and it looked like they were just waiting for me to crack up.”

At other moments he seems decided to be a true sorcerer or bust. “Power takes care of you,” he says, “and you don’t know how. Now I’m at the edge, and I have to change my whole format. Writing to get my Ph.D. was my accomplishment, my sorcery, and now I am at the apex of a cycle that includes the notoriety. But this is the last thing I will ever write about Don Juan. Now I am going to be a sorcerer for sure. Only my death could stop that.” It is a romantic role, this anthropological gesture across a pit of entities which, in a different age, would have been called demons. Will Castaneda become the Dr. Faustus of Malibu Beach, attended by Mephistopheles in a sombrero? Stay tuned in for the next episode. In the meantime, his books have made it hard for readers ever to use the word primitive patronizingly again.

© Copyright Time Magazine
Publication Date: March 5th, 1973

“The Moral Basis of Democracy” by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Moral Basis of Democracy by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Moral Basis of Democracy
by Eleanor Roosevelt

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Maria‘s review Oct 09, 2018 (Goodreads.com)

She writes, in 1940: “The challenge of today is, I think, the greatest challenge that youth has faced in many generations. The future of Democracy in this country lies with them, and the future of Democracy in the world lies with them as well. The development of a dynamic Democracy which is alive and actively working for the benefit of all individuals, and not for just a few, depends, I think, on the realization that this form of government is not a method devised to keep some particular group that is stronger than other groups in power. It is a method of government conceived for the development of human beings as a whole.”

This is so relevant still today.