There is nothing I can say about Castaneda that has not already been said. I tried out various things here and failed to get to the crux of what he is all about, so instead I decided to extract the salient points for each of the main character traits in his philosophy.
What makes a Man of Knowledge?
A man of Knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning, a man who has, without rushing or without faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of power and knowledge.
To become a man of knowledge there are four enemies he must defeat: fear, clarity, power, death
A man must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule! A moment will come when his first enemy retreats, the man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.
That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but it also blinds. It forces the man to never doubt himself. It gives him the assurance he can do anything he pleases, for he sees so clearly into everything. He is courageous because he is clear, and he stops at nothing because he is clear. But all that is a mistake, it's like something incomplete. If the man yields to this make believe power, he has succumbed to his second enemy and will be patient when he should rush, and will fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of learning anything more.
He must defy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and
measure carefully before taking new steps; he must think, above all, that
his clarity is almost a mistake.
Once one of these enemies overpowers a man there is nothing he can do. It is not possible, for instance, that a man who is defeated by power may see his error and mend his ways. Once a man gives in he is through. If however he is temporarily blinded by power, and then refuses it, his battle is still on.
If he can see that Clarity and Power, without his control over himself, are worse than mistakes, he will reach a point where everything is held in check. He will know then when and how to use his power.
Old Age! This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won't be able to defeat completely, but will only fight away. This is the time when a man has no more fearss, no more impatient clarity of mind--a time when all his power is incheck, but also a time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature.
But if the man slough off his tired ness, and lives his fate through, he can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last, invincible enemy.
The desire to learn is not ambition. It is our lot as men to want to know.
A light and amenable disposition is needed in order to withstand the impact and the strangeness of the knowledge I am teaching you. Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy, and vain. To be a man of knowledge one needs to be light and fuild.
A Man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting. A man of knowledge chooses a path with a heart and follows it, and then he looks and rejoices and laughs; and then he sees and knows.
There's no emptiness in the life of a man of knowledge, everything is filled to the brim and everything is equal.
In order to become a man of knowledge one must be a warrior.
You have to have an unbending intent to become a man of knowledge.
The path of knowledge is a forced one. In order to learn we must be spurred. In the path of knowledge we are always fighting something, avoiding something, prepared for something; and that something is always inexplicable, greater, more powerful than us.
A man of knowledge cannot possibly act towards his fellow men in injurious terms.
It may seem to be wind to you, because wind is all you know. Here it comes. Look how it is searching for us. It's something that hides in the wind and looks like a whorl, a cloud, a mist, a face that twirls around. It moves in a specific direction. It either tumbles or it twirls. A hunter must know all that in order to move correctly.
To believe that the world is only as you think it is, is stupid. The world is a mysterious place. Especially in the twilight. This can follow us. It can make us tired or it might even kill us. At this time of the day, in the twilight, there is no wind. At this time there is only power.
Therein lies the secret of great hunters. To be available and unavailable
at the precise turn of the road.
The art of a hunter is to become inaccessible. To be inaccessible means
that you touch the world around you sparingly. You don't expose yourself
to the power of the wind unless it is mandatory. You don't use and squeeze
people until they have shriveled to nothing, especially the people you
A hunter deals intimately with his world and yet he is inaccessible to that same world. He is inaccessible because he's not squeezing his world out of shape. He taps it lightly, stays for as long as he needs to, and then swiftly moves away leaving hardly a mark.
A hunter that is worth his salt does not catch game because he sets his traps, or because he knows the routines of his prey, but because he himself has no routines. He is free, fluid, unpredictable.
All of us behave like the prey we are after. That, of course, also makes us prey for something or someone else. Now, the concern of a hunter, who knows all this, is to stop being a prey himself. It takes time.
All of us are fools. You always feel compelled to explain your acts, as if you were the only man on earth who's wrong. It's your old feeling of importance. You have too much of it; you also have too much personal history. On the other hand, you don't assume responsibility for your acts; you're not using your death as an adviser, and above all you are too accessible.
One must assume responsibility for being in a weird world. For you the world is weird because if you're not bored with it you're at odds with it.
Change! If you do not respond to that challenge you are as good as dead.
You have no time, my friend, no time. None of us have time. Don't just agree with me. Act upon it. What I recommend you to do is to notice that we do not have any assurance that our lives will go on indefinitely. Change comes suddenly and unexpectedly, and so does death.
There is no time for timidity, simply because timidity makes you cling to something that exists only in your thoughts. It soothes you while everything is at a lull, but then the awesome, mysterious world will open its mouth for you, as it will open for every one of us, and then you will realize that your sure ways were not sure at all.
At moments of power, the world of ordinary affairs does not exist and nothing can be taken for granted.
Power is a very peculiar affair. It is impossible to pin it down and say what it really is. It is a feeling that one has about certain things. Power is personal. It belongs to oneself alone. A hunter of power entraps it and then stores it away as his personal finding. Thus, personal power grows, and you may have the case of a warrior who has so much personal power that he becomes a man of knowledge.
A hunter of power watches everything and everything tells him some secret.
What makes a Warrior?
I will tell you time and time again the most effective way to live is as a warrior. worry and think before you make a decision, but once you make it, be on your way free from worries or thoughts; there will be a million other decisions awaiting you. That is the warriors way.
To be a warrior you have to be crystal clear.
A warrior takes responsibility for his acts; for the most trivial of his acts. He waits patiently, knowing that he is waiting, and knowing what he is waiting for. That is the warriors way.
To be hungry or to be in pain means that the man has abandoned himself and is no longer a warrior; and the forces of hunger or pain will destroy him.
One learns to act like a warrior by acting, not by talking. A warrior has only his will and his patience and with them he builds anything he wants.
A warrior knows that he is waiting and knows what he is waiting for. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the average man to know what he is waiting for. A warrior, however, has no problems; he knows that he is waiting for his will.
And thus with an awareness of his death, with his detachment, and with the power of his decisions a warrior sets his life in a strategical manner. When a man behaves in such a manner one may rightfully say that he is a warrior and has aquired patience.
A warrior treats everything with respect and does not trample on anything
unless he has to. He does not abandon himself to anything, not even to
his death. He is not a willing partner and not available, and if he involves
himself with something, you can be sure that he is aware of what he is
doing. For a warrior there is nothing out of control. Life for a warrior
is an exercise in strategy. But you want to find the meaning of life.
A warrior doesn't care about meanings. He would set his life strategically.
Thus if he couldn't avoid an accident he would find means to offset his
handicap, or avoid its consequences, or battle against them. He would
be battling to the end.
The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his will is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.
Act like a warrior and select the items of your world. You cannot surround yourself with things helter-skelter any longer. I tell you this in a most serious vein. A warrior encounters those inexplicable and unbending forces because he is deliberately seeking them, thus he is always prepared for the encounter. The first thing you must do, then, is be prepared. A warrior takes the responsibility of protecting his life. Then if any of those forces tap him and open his gap, he must deliberately strive to close it by himself. For that purpose he must have a selected number of things that give him great peace and pleasure, things which he can deliberately use to take his thoughts from his fright and close his gap and make him solid.
In his day-to-day life a warrior chooses to follow the path with heart. It is the consistent choice of the path with heart which makes a warrior different from the average man.
Fright is something one can never get over. A warrior cannot indulge, thus he cannot die of fright.
There is no need for us to say anything about others. There is no need for you or for me to regard other's actions in our thoughts one way or another. The worst thing we can do is to force people to agree with us. I mean that we shouldn't try to impose our will when people don't behave the way we want them to. The worst thing one can do is to confront human beings bluntly. A warrior proceeds strategically. If one wants to stop our fellow men one must always be outside the circle that presses them. That way one can always direct the pressure.
It is best to erase all personal history because that makes us free from the encumbering thoughts of other people.
Thus we repeat the same choices over and over until the day we die, because we keep on repeating the same internal talk over and over until the day we die. A warrior is aware of this and strives to stop his talking. This is the last point you have to know if you want to live like a warrior.
A warrior seeks power, and one of the avenues to power is dreaming .
A warrior is an immaculate hunter who hunts power; he's not drunk, or crazed, and he has neither the time nor the disposition to bluff, or to lie to himself, or to make a wrong move. The stakes are too high for that.
Dreaming is real for a warrior because in it he can act deliberately, he can choose and reject, he can select from a variety of items those which lead to power, and then he can manipulate them and use them, while in an ordinary dream he cannot act deliberately.
Any warrior could become a man of knowledge. As I told you, a warrior is an impeccable hunter that hunts power. If he succeeds in his hunting he can be a man of knowledge.
It is of no use to be sad and complain and feel justified in doing so, believing that someone is always doing something to us. Nobody is doing anything to anybody, much less to a warrior.
A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. But once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions.
A warrior acts as if he knows what he is doing, when in effect he knows nothing. A warrior is acting impeccably when he trusts his personal power regardless of whether it is small or enormous.
A warrior can tell all kinds of things from the shadows.
Only as a warrior can one survive the path of knowledge, because the art of a warrior is to balance the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man.
The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of a beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't permit anyone to lower his head to him. I know only the humbleness of a warrior, and that will never permit me to be anyone's master.
Persist in acting like a warrior. The rest comes of itself and by itself. The rest is knowledge and power. Men of knowledge have both. And yet none of them could tell how they got to have them, except that they had kept on acting like warriors and at a given moment everything changed. A warrior must be calm and collected and must never lose his grip.
Seeing happens only when the warrior is capable of stopping the internal dialogue.
You see, a warrior considers himself already dead, so there is nothing for him to lose. The worst has already happened to him, therefore he's clear and calm; judging him by his acts or by his words, one would never suspect that he has witnessed everything.
A warrior starts off with the certainty that his spirit is off balance;
then by living in full control and awareness, but without hurry or compulsion,
he does his ultimate best to gain this balance. In your case, as in the
case of every man, your imbalance is due to the sum total of all your
Knowledge is frightening, but if a warrior accepts the frightening nature of knowledge he cancels out its awesomeness. Knowledge is a most peculiar affair, especially for a warrior. Knowledge for a warrior is something that comes at once, engulfs him, and passes on.
Warriors do not win victories by beating their heads against walls but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over the walls; they don't demolish them
There are three kinds of bad habits which we use over and over when confronted with unusual life situations. First, we may disregard what's happening or has happened and feel as if it had never occurred. That one is the bigot's way. Second, we may accept everything at its face value and feel as if we know what's going on. That's the pious man's way. Third, we may become obsessed with an event because either we cannot disregard it or we cannot accept it wholeheartedly. That's the fool's way. There is a fourth, the correct one, the warrior's way. A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn't believe in anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value. He accepts without accepting and disregards without disregarding. He never feels as if he knows, neither does he feel as if nothing had ever happened. He acts as if he is in control, even though he might be shaking in his boots. To act in such a manner dissipates obsession.
If a warrior needs solace, he simply chooses anyone and expresses to that person every detail of his turmoil. After all, the warrior is not seeking to be understood or helped; by talking he's merely relieving himself of his pressure. That is, providing that the warrior is given to talking; if he's not, he tells no one.
A warrior is always ready for anything. To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born a reasonable being.
A warrior never lets his guard down. What matters is what can you use as a shield? A warrior must use everything available to him to close his mortal gap once it opens. So, it's of no importance that you really don't like to be suspicious or ask questions. That's your only shield now.
The will develops in a warrior in spite of every opposition of the reason. You are the one who's learning, therefore you yourself must claim knowledge as power.
What makes a Sorceror?
An average man can grab the things of the world only with his hands, or his senses, but a sorcerer can grab them also with his will.
When a man embarks on the paths of sorcery he becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been forever left behind; th knowledge is indeed a frightening affair; that the meansof the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and that he must adopt a new way of life if he is to survive.
A man who follows the paths of sorcery is confronted with imminent annihilation every turn of the way, and unavoidably becomes keenly aware of his deat. Without the awareness of death he would be only an ordinary man involved in ordinary acts.
A power that comes out of his body as he progresses on the path of knowledge. That feeling is the will , and when he is capable of grabbing with it, one can rightfully say that the warrior is a sorcerer, and that he has acquired will .
We are men and our lot is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds. Seeing is for impeccable men. Temper your spirit now, become a warrior, learn to see , and then you'll know that there is no end to the new worlds for our vision.
A sorcerer, by opening himself to knowledge, falls prey to those forces and has only one means of balancing himself, his will ; thus he must feel and act like a warrior. I will repeat this once more: Only as a warrior can one survive the path of knowledge. What helps a sorcerer live a better life is the strength of being a warrior.
Everything is meaningful for a sorcerer. The sounds have holes in them and so does everything around you. Ordinarily a man does not have the speed to catch the holes, and thus he goes through life without protection. The worms, the birds, the trees, all of them can tell us unimaginable things if only one could have the speed to grasp their message.
Only by acting can one become a sorcerer.
The passageway into the world of sorcerers opens up after the warrior has learned to shut off the internal dialogue
You can arrive at the sorcerers' explanation by accumulating personal power. Personal power will make you slide with great ease into the sorcerers' explanation.
The flaw with words is that they always force us to feel enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without enlightenment. For this reason, a sorcerer seeks to act rather than to talk and to this effect he gets a new description of the world--a new description where talking is not that important, and where new acts have new reflections.
By the time a warrior has conquered dreaming and seeing and has developed a double, he must have also succeeded in erasing personal history, self-importance, and routines. So doing is the means for removing the impracticality of having a double in the ordinary world, by making the self and the world fluid, and by placing them outside the bounds of prediction.
The double is not a matter of personal choice. Neither is it a matter of personal choice who is selected to learn the sorcerers' knowledge that leads to that awareness. Have you ever asked yourself, why you in particular?
The decision of picking you was a design of power; no one can discern the designs of power. Now that you've been selected, there is nothing that you can do to stop the fulfillment of that design.
Will is cultivated only by sorcerers and gives them the capacity to perform extraordinary acts.