Carlos Castaneda's Magical Passes

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Unikorn
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Carlos Castaneda's Magical Passes

Postby Unikorn » 18 May 2004, 09:40

An interesting link I came across: http://www.castaneda.com/

Tensegrity is the modernized version of some movements called magical passes developed by Indian shamans who lived in Mexico in times prior to the Spanish Conquest.
Times prior to the Spanish Conquest is a term used by don Juan Matus, a Mexican Indian shaman who introduced Carlos Castaneda, Carol Tiggs, Florinda Donner-Grau and Taisha Abelar to the cognitive world of shamans who lived in Mexico in ancient times -- which, according to don Juan, was between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Don Juan explained to his students that those shamans discovered through practices that he could not fathom, that it is possible for human beings to perceive energy directly as it flows in the universe. In other words, those shamans maintained, according to don Juan, that any one of us can do away, for a moment, with our system of turning energy inflow into sensory data pertinent to the kind of organism that we are. Turning the inflow of energy into sensory data creates, shamans affirm, a system of interpretation that turns the flowing energy of the universe into the world of everyday life that we know.
Don Juan further explained that once those shamans of ancient times had established the validity of perceiving energy directly, which they called seeing, they proceeded to refine it by applying it to themselves, meaning that they perceived one another, whenever they wanted it, as a conglomerate of energy fields. Human beings perceived in such a fashion appear to the seer as gigantic luminous spheres. The size of these luminous spheres is the breadth of the extended arms.

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Postby frank » 01 Jun 2004, 04:45

Carlos Castaneda also died of liver cancer, and this is (according to my tai chi teacher) a common fate for people who work with energy the wrong way. Wrong here is used in a technical sense, rather than a moral sense. Supposedly, chi can "short out" into your liver, if you're careless or badly trained. Considering that the liver is associated with anger in Chinese medicine, there might be something to this.

Of course, liver cancer has quite a few causes. Moldy peanuts and grain are probably the most common (through aflatoxin). Who knows what got him?

However, I wouldn't do those tensegrity exercises at all, especially given Castaneda's questionable history and the way he died.

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Postby Crow » 01 Jun 2004, 14:17

Questionable history? Tell me more, Frank, I hadn't heard about it. All I know is the man wrote some eye-popping books for a high school boy to read way back when! I still have my crumbling paperbacks on the shelf downstairs.

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Postby frank » 01 Jun 2004, 14:50

Argh, I was hoping no one would ask.

Basically, there is at least one book out there, by an anthropologist, that systematically debunks Castaneda's material, both from internal contradictions in the books, and from field work in the areas in which he practiced.

The problem is, I cannot remember the title of the debunking book. It came out a number of years ago.

Castaneda's first book was allegedly a book of real scholarship, and it was controversial because, at that time, anthropologists were supposed to be observers rather than participants (yes, it was also controversial because of the drug use). I don't know what influence his books had in getting the anthros to become immersive participants or not, but they're one of the earlier examples.

Now, his books are more controversial, because they seem to be at least partially fabricated. They are somewhat fun to read, but I really don't think they're worth following.

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Postby Crow » 01 Jun 2004, 14:54

I always approached them like works of fiction anyway. If you do that I think, like you said, they're just fun to read. And the reader just might learn something, too!

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Postby Selene » 01 Jun 2004, 15:18

I had to look, of course: I entered debunking Castaneda into Google and found a Straight Dope page (great site, BTW, for finding the inside story on many, many topics) that addresses the issue: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/020621.html. There were many other interesting sites that came up on that search string, also.

Frank, was the book you're thinking of one of Richard de Mille's, either Castaneda's Journey: The Power and the Allegory or The Don Juan Papers: Further Castaneda Controversies?
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Postby frank » 02 Jun 2004, 00:57

I think it's the first one. I only glanced at it, so I really don't remember. My bad.

Thanks for the Straight Dope site!

Frank

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Postby Unikorn » 02 Jun 2004, 06:26

Interesting thread - thanks for all the points of view. Must admit I also approach his work mostly as fiction. Along with Timothy O'Leary and Michael McKenna I find them an interesting blend of psychedalic and spirituality. All with a grain of salt aye what.

Just in case, I was only posting out of interest - rather than to project Carlos as an expert or to be taken seriously.

I am finding this thread interesting and enjoying it - thank you for your insights. I do so love it when we all come together to sit by the fire and share!
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Postby frank » 02 Jun 2004, 13:56

Wow, synchronicity!

Check out [html]http://movies2.nytimes.com/2004/06/02/m ... 2ENIG.html[/html]

It's a review of a documentary movie entitled "Carlos Castaneda: Enigma of a Sorcerer," by Ralph Torjan, who was a student of Castaneda. It basically comes to the about the same conclusion that the straight dope site did (i.e. Castaneda made it up or borrowed it).

Frank

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Postby EarthWard » 07 Jun 2004, 22:30

Moldy Nuts

I had to look up something about this aflatoxin. I am a lover of Reese's Peanut Butter but I am thinking about cutting back now.

The Tai Chi reference was very interesting too.
The first 'New Age' book that was ever given to me was Carlos Castaneda's Power of Silence. It did give me some pretty cool head trips but all and all I think you are right. It just does not seem to be the proper tec. way of using our energy but I do like the ideas it has about perceiving energy.

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Postby frank » 08 Jun 2004, 02:39

Hi Earthward,

Scary stuff, isn't it? Those childhood songs about moldy peanuts really meant something.

On the other hand....

Aflatoxins are a well-known health hazard, and supposedly the big peanut butter manufacturers are pretty careful about screening their products. The ones to worry about are the make-it-yerself peanut butter machines you see in health food stores. The peanuts going in there aren't checked, and I avoid them.

And I eat a lot of peanut butter too, although I probably should know better :grin:

On the third hand....

Aflatoxin producing fungi contaminate a lot of grain, such as corn. Before you freak out, the fungi have been found to only produce aflatoxin under certain conditions, so as long as things are stored properly, they're fine. That goes for peanuts, too.

One the fourth hand....

Blue corn tends to harbor a similar fungus, and although the toxin isn't as toxic (by a long margin), apparently the USDA does NOT monitor for it. Those blue corn chips might not be a great idea....

And you wonder why biologists fume when money is diverted from trivial stuff like food safety inspections to important things like Homeland Security?

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Postby BrokenStone » 05 Mar 2005, 17:42

Straight Dope:
Castaneda's apologists say it doesn't matter, the books contain deep truths. Fine, they contain deep truths. Nonetheless, after you review the evidence, the only reasonable conclusion is that Castaneda was a con man and his books are a hoax.
What an absolute terrible thing to say. At the time of this book's publishing it was mind altering and revolutionary. I don't know if any of you have ever attempted to write a book but if you did you would find that even truth morphs into fiction when set on paper. Sure he played the experience as a truth but we take that as did he really walk around with a man named Don Jaun? The truth of it happened in his head and he made it become real on paper. He got his gurus and made a lot of money speaking to audiences but if you are going to follow the nay sayers line of thinking then we should call Janis Joplin a fake and a con too. They are both performers.

On the account of his techniques I would not say that they cause cancer. We get cancer in many different ways and one could be the levels of stress in our bodies and if these techniques cause stress in your body then it would be bad, but many of these are used to break through the stress to be able to release it and were not solely fabricated by Carlos. The luminous egg of the body I believe is compared to your Light Body Exercise and the use of submerging or enclosing one in a bag is the same as physiologist use to mimic rebirthing. I'm not going to comment on the existentialism of his other works because that is all for personal interpretation but as an artist I have to defend Carlos' work. It was good stuff and good medicine for the time that it was produced. There are 1,000,001 ways to connect and feel happy with ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Pick one (or as many as you want)

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Postby Robb Hawklord » 14 Mar 2005, 06:43

Carlos Casteneda Dec 25th 1925 - Apr 27th 1998: 73 years is a good innings in my mind Frank, not a relatively Young age at all.

As many here have stated already I read these books with a pinch of salt, but there are many many idea's and techniques which are plauably workable. Casteneda was also never accepted by the white coated anthro's even before he published his first novel, so there is no change in attitude from that quarter.

For a different view of his teachings and their validity then look here http://www.sustainedaction.org/

Wish I had more time now, but alas I have work calling.

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