Alternate beginning to first four paragraphs beginning in the
The Teachings of
You will have to make a very deep commitment
because this training is long and arduous.
rests on the kind of knowledge one holds. What is the sense knowing things
that are useless?
Nothing in this world is a gift, whatever there is to learn
has to be learned the hard way.
One can feel with the eyes,
when the eyes are not looking right into things.
You have to be inflexible with yourself if you want to learn.
You must have command over your resources.
There is nothing wrong with being afraid.
When you fear, you see things in a different way.
I am going to teach you the secrets that make up the lot
of a man of knowledge.
You will learn in spite of yourself;
thatís the rule.
You are a serious person, but
your seriousness is attached to what you do, not to what goes on outside
you. You dwell upon yourself too much. Thatís the trouble. And that
produces a terrible fatigue. Seek and see the marvels all around you. You
will get tired of looking at yourself alone, and that fatigue will make
you deaf and blind to everything else.
A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide
awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to
knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever
makes it will live to regret his steps.
When a man
has fulfilled those four requisites there are no mistakes for which he
will have to account; under such conditions his acts lose the blundering
quality of a foolís acts. If such a man fails, or suffers a defeat, he
will have lost only a battle, and there will be no pitiful regrets over
I intend to teach you about an "ally" in the
very same way my own benefactor taught me. An "ally" is a power a man can
bring into his life to help him, advise him, and give him the strength
necessary to perform acts, whether big or small, right or wrong. This ally
is necessary to enhance a manís life, guide his acts, and further his
knowledge. In fact, an ally is the indispensable aid to knowing.
An ally will make you see and understand things about which
no human being could possible enlighten you. It is neither a guardian nor
a spirit. It is an aid. An ally is tamed and used.
The acquiring of an ally requires the most precise teaching
and the following of stages or steps without a single deviation. There
such ally powers in the world. An ally is a power capable of carrying a
man beyond the boundaries of himself. This is how an ally can reveal
matters no human being could. An ally takes you out of yourself to give
Learning through conversation is not
only a waste, but stupidity, because learning is the most difficult task a
man can undertake. Remember the time you tried to find your "spot," and
how you wanted to find it without doing any work because you expected me
to hand out all the information. If I had done so, You would never have
learned. But now, knowing how difficult it was to find your spot, and
above all knowing that it exists, gives you a unique sense of confidence.
While you remain rooted to your "good spot" nothing can cause you bodily
harm, because you have the assurance that at that particular spot you are
at your very best. You have the power to shove off anything that might
harmful to you. If, however, I had told you where it was, you
would never have had the confidence needed to claim it as true knowledge.
Thus, knowledge is indeed power.
Every time a man
sets himself to learn he has to labor as hard as you did to find that
spot, and the limits of his learning are determined by his own nature.
Thus I see no point in talking about knowledge. Certain kinds of knowledge
are too powerful for the strength you have, and to talk about them would
only bring harm to you.
Fears are natural; all of
us experience them and there is nothing we can do about it. But on the
other hand, no matter how frightening learning is, it is more terrible
think of a man without an ally, or without knowledge.
The calling of a name is a serious matter,
especially if one is learning to tame an ally power. Names are reserved
to be used only when one is calling for help, in moments of great stress
need. I assure you that such moments happen sooner or later in the life
of whoever seeks knowledge.
Man lives only to learn. And if he learns it is because that is
the nature of his lot, for good or bad.
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 he must challenge and
defeat his four natural enemies. A man can call himself a man of knowledge
only if he is capable of defeating all four of them. Anybody who defeats
them becomes a man of knowledge. Anyone can try to become a man of
knowledge; very few men actually succeed, but that is only natural. The
enemies a man encounters on the path of learning to become a man of
knowledge are truly formidable; most men succumb to them.
To be a man of knowledge has no permanence. One is never a man of
knowledge, not really. Rather, one becomes a man of knowledge for a very
brief instant, after defeating the four natural enemies.
Alternate reading to follow the first two paragraphs from the
In this system of knowledge
there is a difference between seeing and looking .
They are two distinct manners of perceiving. Looking refers to the ordinary
way in which we are accustomed to perceiving the world, while seeing entails
a process by virtue of which a man of knowledge perceives the essence of
the things of the world.
Acquiring the necessary speed to catch a glimpse of that
fleeting world of nonordinary reality is a goal of your training. You
call it a condition of inapplicability because what you will perceive when
you acquire that necessary speed is incomprehensible and impossible to
interpret by means of our everyday mode of understanding the world. In
other words, the condition of inapplicability entails the cessation of
pertinence of our normal world view.
there has to be an endless number of possible sensible interpretations
that are pertinent to sorcery that a sorcerer must learn to make. In our
day-to-day life we are confronted with an endless number of sensible
interpretations pertinent to it. A simple example could be the no longer
deliberate interpretation, which we make scores of times every day, of the
structure we call "room." It is obvious that we have learned to interpret
the structure we call room in terms of room; thus room is a sensible
interpretation because it requires that at the time we make it we are
cognizant, in one way or another, of all the elements that enter into its
composition. A system of sensible interpretation is, in other words, the
process by virtue of which a person is cognizant of all the units of
meaning necessary to make assumptions, deductions, predictions, etc.,
about all the situations pertinent to his activity.
I am attempting to make my system of sensible interpretation
accessible to you. Such an accessibility, in this case, is equivalent to
a process of resocialization in which new ways of interpreting perceptual
data are learned.
You are the stranger, the one
who lacks the capacity to make intelligent and congruous interpretations
proper to sorcery. My task, as a teacher making my system accessible to
you is to disarrange a particular certainty which you share with everyone
else, the certainty that our "common-sense" views of the world are
You will see that our ordinary view of the
world cannot be final because it is only an interpretation.
instead of the six paragraphs from "Again, human
beings ..." through "... ability to forget" (50 paragraphs from the
I will clarify the previously unimagined world of
hidden memories which you have been recollecting thru dreaming,
memories that you have been incapable of retrieving with your
everyday-life memory. As Iíve said, human beings are divided in two. The
right side, which is called the tonal , encompasses
everything the intellect can conceive of.
The left side, called the
nagual , is a realm of indescribable features: a realm
impossible to contain in words. The left side is perhaps comprehended, if
comprehension is what takes place, with the total body; thus its
resistance to conceptualization. All the faculties, possibilities, and
accomplishments of sorcery, from the simplest to the most astounding, are
in the human body itself.
Taking as a base the
concepts that we are divided in two and that everything is in the body
itself, our time together has been divided between states of normal
awareness; on the right side, the tonal , where the first
attention prevails; and states of heightened awareness, on the left side,
the nagual ; the site of the second attention.
I have lead you to the other self by means of the
self-control of the second attention through dreaming .
However, I have put you in direct touch with the second attention through
bodily manipulation in the form of a sound blow on your back. The result
of that blow is entrance into an extraordinary state of clarity. It seems
that everything in that state goes faster, yet nothing in the world has
been changed. That is to say, the world is the same but sharper. You stay
clear until I give you another blow on the same spot to make you revert
back to a normal state of awareness.
states of heightened awareness youíve had an incomparable richness of
personal interaction, a richness that your body has understood as a
sensation of speeding. The richness of your perception on the left side
has been, however, a post-facto realization. Your interaction appeared
be rich in the light of your capacity to remember it. You became cognizant
then that in those states of heightened awareness you had perceived
everything in one clump, one bulky mass of inextricable detail. Youíve
called this ability to perceive everything at once--intensity
. For years you have found it impossible to examine the separate
constituent parts of those chunks of experience; you have been unable to
synthesize those parts into a sequence that would make sense to the
intellect. Since you were incapable of those syntheses, you could not
remember. Your incapacity to remember was in reality an incapacity to put
the memory of your perception on a linear basis. You could not lay your
experiences flat, so to speak, and arrange them in a sequential order. The
experiences were available to you, but at the same time they were
impossible to retrieve, for they were blocked by a wall of
The task of remembering,
then, is properly the task of joining our left and right sides, of
reconciling those two distinct forms of perception into a unified whole.
It is the task of consolidating the totality of oneself by rearranging
intensity into a linear sequence.
pragmatic step that I have taken to aid you in your task of remembering
has been to make you interact with certain people while you were in a
state of heightened awareness. I was very careful not to let you see those
people when you were in a state of normal awareness. In this way I created
the appropriate conditions for remembering.
that you have completed your remembering, you have detailed knowledge of
social interactions which you have shared with my companions and me. These
are not memories in the sense that you would remember an episode from your
childhood; they are more than vivid moment-to-moment recollections of
events. You have reconstructed conversations that seemed to be
reverberating in your ears, as if you were listening to them. What you
have remembered, from the point of view of your experiential self, was
taking place now. Such has been the character of your
It is time
now to tell you the "rule" as it pertains to the Nagual and
his role, exactly as it was told to me. Being involved with the rule may
be described as living a myth. In my case, a myth that caught me and made
me the Nagual.
that governs the destiny of all living beings is called the Eagle, not
because it is an eagle or has anything to do with an eagle, but because
appears to the seer as an immeasurable jet-black eagle, standing erect
as an eagle stands, its height reaching to infinity.
As the seer gazes on the blackness that the Eagle is,
four blazes of light reveal what the Eagle is like, The first blaze, which is
like a bolt of
lightning, helps the seer make out the contours of the Eagleís body. There
are patches of whiteness that look like an eagleís feathers and talons.
second blaze of lightning reveals the flapping, wind-creating blackness
that looks like an eagleís wings. With the third blaze of lightning the
seer beholds a piercing, inhuman eye. And the fourth and last blaze
discloses what the Eagle is doing.
The Eagle is
devouring the awareness of all the creatures that, alive on earth a moment
before and now dead, have floated to the Eagleís beak, like a ceaseless
swarm of fireflies, to meet their owner, their reason for having had life.
The Eagle disentangles these tiny flames, lays them flat, as a tanner
stretches out a hide, and then consumes them; for awareness is the Eagleís
The Eagle, that power that governs the
destinies of all living things, reflects equally and at once all those
living things. There is no way, therefore, for man to pray to the Eagle,
to ask favors, to hope for grace. The human part of the Eagle is too
insignificant to move the whole.
It is only from
the Eagleís actions that a seer can tell what it wants. The Eagle,
although it is not moved by the circumstances of any living thing, has
granted a gift to each of those beings. In its own way and right, any
of them, if it so desires, has the power to keep the flame of awareness,
the power to disobey the summons to die and be consumed. Every living
thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening
to freedom and to go through it. It is evident to the seer who sees the
opening, and to the creatures that go through it, that the Eagle has
granted that gift in order to perpetuate awareness.
For the purpose of guiding living things to that opening, the Eagle
created the Nagual. The Nagual is a double being to whom the rule has been
revealed. Whether it be in the form of a human being, an animal, a plant,
or anything else that lives, the Nagual by virtue of its doubleness is
drawn to seek that hidden passageway.
comes in pairs, male and female, A double man and a double woman become
the Nagual only after the rule has been told to each of them, and each
them has understood it and accepted it in full.
the eye of the seer, a Nagual man or Nagual woman appears as a luminous
egg with four compartments. Unlike the average human being, who has two
sides only, a left and a right, the Nagual has a left side divided into
two long sections, and a right side equally divided in two.
The Eagle created the first Nagual man and Nagual woman as
seers and immediately put them in the world to see. It provided them with
four female warriors who were stalkers, three male warriors, and one male
courier, whom they were to nourish, enhance, and lead to
The female warriors are called the four
directions, the four corners of a square, the four moods, the four winds,
the four different female personalities that exist in the human
The first is the east. She is called order.
She is optimistic, lighthearted, smooth, persistent like a steady
The second is the north. She is called
strength. She is resourceful, blunt, direct, tenacious like a hard
The third is the west. She is called
feeling. She is introspective, remorseful, cunning, sly, like a cold gust
The fourth is the south. She is called
growth. She is nurturing, loud, shy, warm, like a hot wind.
The three male warriors and the courier are representative
of the four types of male activity and temperament.
The first type is the knowledgeable man, the scholar; a noble,
dependable, serene man, fully dedicated to accomplishing his task,
whatever it may be.
The second type is the man of
action, highly volatile, a great humorous fickle companion.
The third type is the organizer behind the scenes, the
mysterious, unknowable man. Nothing can be said about him because he
allows nothing about himself to slip out.
courier is the fourth type. He is the assistant, a taciturn, somber man
who does very well if properly directed but who cannot stand on his
In order to make things easier, the Eagle
showed the Nagual man and Nagual woman that each of these types among men
and woman of the earth has specific features in its luminous
The scholar has a sort of shallow dent, a
bright depression at his solar plexus. In some men it appears as a pool
of intense luminosity, sometimes smooth and shiny like a mirror without
The man of action has some fibers
emanating from the area of the will. The number of fibers varies from one
to five, their size ranging from a mere string to a thick, whiplike
tentacle up to eight feet long. Some have as many as three of these fibers
developed into tentacles.
The man behind the
scenes is recognized not by a feature but by his ability to create, quite
involuntarily, a burst of power that effectively blocks the attention of
seers. When in the presence of this type of man, seers find themselves
immersed in extraneous detail rather than seeing.
The assistant has no obvious configuration. To seers
he appears as a clear glow in a flawless shell of luminosity.
female realm, the east is recognized by the almost imperceptible blotches
in her luminosity, something like small areas of discoloration.
The north has an overall radiation; she exudes a reddish
glow, almost like heat.
The west has a tenuous
film enveloping her, a film which makes her appear darker than the
The south has an intermittent glow; she
shines for a moment and then gets dull, only to shine again.
The Nagual man and the Nagual woman have two different
movements in their luminous bodies. Their right sides wave, while their
left sides whirl.
In terms of personality, the
Nagual man is supportive, steady, unchangeable. The Nagual woman is a
being at war and yet relaxed, ever aware but without strain. Both of them
reflect the four types of their sex, as four ways of behaving.
The first command that the Eagle gave the Nagual man and
Nagual woman was to find, on their own, another set of four female
warriors, four directions, who were the exact replicas of the stalkers
but who were dreamers.
Dreamers appear to a seer as
having an apron of hairlike fibers at their midsections. Stalkers have
a similar apronlike feature, but instead of fibers the apron consists of
countless small, round protuberances.
female warriors are divided into two bands, which are called the right
and left planets. The right planet is made up of four stalkers, the left
four dreamers. The warriors of each planet were taught by the Eagle the
rule of their specific task: stalkers were taught stalking; dreamers were
The two female warriors of each
direction live together. They are so alike that they mirror each other,
and only through impeccability can they find solace and challenge in each
The only time when the four
dreamers or four stalkers get together is when they have to accomplish
a strenuous task; but only under special circumstances should the four
them join hands, for their touch fuses them into one being and should be
used only in cases of dire need, or at the moment of leaving this
The two female warriors of each direction
are attached to one of the males, in any combination that is necessary.
Thus they make a set of four households, which are capable of
incorporating as many warriors as needed.
warriors and the courier can also form an independent unit of four men,
or each can function as a solitary being, as dictated by necessity.
Next the Nagual and his party were commanded to find three
more couriers. These could be all males or all females or a mixed set,
the male couriers had to be of the fourth type of man, the assistant, and
the females had to be from the south.
In order to
make sure that the first Nagual man would lead his party to freedom and
not deviate from that path or become corrupted, the Eagle took the Nagual
woman to the other world to serve as a beacon, guiding the party to the
The Nagual and his warriors were then
commanded to forget. They were plunged into darkness and were given new
tasks: the task of remembering themselves, and the task of remembering
The command to forget was so great that
everyone was separated. They did not remember who they were. The Eagle
intended that if they were capable of remembering themselves again, they
would find the totality of themselves. Only then would they have the
strength and forbearance necessary to seek and face their definitive
Their last task, after they had regained
the totality of themselves, was to get a new pair of double beings and
transform them into a new Nagual man and a new Nagual woman by virtue
revealing the rule to them. And just as the first Nagual man and Nagual
woman had been provided with a minimal party, they had to supply the new
pair of Naguals with four female warriors who were stalkers, three male
warriors, and one male courier.
When the first
Nagual and his party were ready to go through the passageway, the first
Nagual woman was waiting to guide them. They were ordered then to take
new Nagual woman with them to the other world to serve as a beacon for
her people, leaving the new Nagual man in the world to repeat the
While in the world, the minimal number
under a Nagualís leadership is sixteen: eight female warriors, four male
warriors, counting the Nagual, and four couriers. At the moment of leaving
the world, when the new Nagual woman is with them, the Nagualís number
seventeen. If his personal power permits him to have more warriors, then
more must be added in multiples of four.
The rule is endless and covers every facet of a
warriorís behavior. The interpretation and the accumulation of the rule
is the work of seers whose only task throughout the ages has been to see the Indescribable Force called the Eagle, to
observe its ceaseless flux. From their observations, the seers have
concluded that, providing the luminous shell that comprises oneís
humanness has been broken, it is possible to find in the
Indescribable Force the faint reflection of man. The
Indescribable Force ís irrevocable dictums can then be
apprehended by seers, properly interpreted by them, and accumulated in the
form of a governing body.
The rule is not a tale.
To cross over to freedom does not mean eternal life as eternity is
commonly understood--that is, as living forever. What the rule states is
that one can keep the awareness which is ordinarily relinquished at the
moment of dying. I cannot explain what it means to keep that awareness.
benefactor told me that at the moment of crossing, one enters into the
third attention, and the body in its entirety is kindled with knowledge.
Every cell at once becomes aware of itself, and also aware of the totality
of the body.
This kind of awareness is meaningless
to our compartmentalized minds. Therefore the crux of the warriorís
struggle is not so much to realize that the crossing over stated in the
rule means crossing to the third attention, but rather to conceive that
there exists such an awareness at all.
There is a
common error, that of overestimating the left-side awareness, of becoming
dazzled by its clarity and power. To be in the left-side awareness does
not mean that one is immediately liberated from oneís folly--it only means
an extended capacity for perceiving, and above all, a greater ability to
Alternate reading to the paragraph from
The Fire From
Within "Any warrior can be successful with people provided that he
moves his assemblage point to a position where it is immaterial whether
people like him, dislike him, or ignore him."
purpose of stalking is twofold: first, to move the assemblage
point as steadily and safely as possible, and nothing can do the job as
well as stalking ; second, to imprint its principles at such
a deep level that the human inventory is bypassed; for example the human
inventoryís natural reaction of refusing and judging something that may be
offensive to reason.
The new seers saw that there are two main groups of human beings: those who
care about others and those who do not. In between these two extremes they
saw an endless mixture of the two. The nagual Julian belonged
to the category of men who do not care; I belong to the opposite category.
The nagual Julian was generous, he would give you the shirt off his back.
Not only was he generous; he was also utterly charming, winning. He was
always deeply and sincerely interested in everybody around him. He was
kind and open and gave away everything he had to anyone who needed it, or
to anyone he happened to like. He was in turn loved by everyone, because
being a master stalker, he conveyed to them his true
feelings: he didnít give a plugged nickel for any of them.
Thatís stalking . The nagual Julian didnít care
about anyone. Thatís why he could help people. And he did; he gave them
the shirt off his back, because he didnít give a fig about them.
The only ones who help their fellow men are those who donít
give a damn about them. Thatís what stalkers say. The nagual
Julian, for instance, was a fabulous curer. He helped thousands and
thousands of people, but he never took credit for it. He let people
believe that a woman seer of his party was the curer. Now, if he had been
a man who cared for his fellow men, he wouldíve demanded acknowledgment.
Those who care for others care for themselves and demand recognition where
recognition is due. Since I belong to the category of those who care for
their fellow men, I have never helped anyone: I feel awkward with
generosity; I canít even conceive being loved as the nagual Julian was,
and I would certainly feel stupid giving anyone the shirt off my back. I
care so much for my fellow man that I donít do anything for him. I
wouldnít know what to do. And I would always have the nagging sense that I
was imposing my will on him with my gifts. Naturally, I have overcome all
these feelings with the warriorsí way. Any warrior can be successful with
people, as the nagual Julian was, provided that he moves his assemblage
point to a position where it is immaterial whether people like him,
dislike him, or ignore him. But thatís not the same.
Compiled from Carlos Castanedaís first book,
The Teachings Of Don
A Yaque Way Of Knowledge
MAN OF KNOWLEDGE
The goal of my teachings is to
show how to become a man of knowledge. The following seven concepts are
its proper components: (1) to become a man of knowledge is a matter of
learning; (2) a man of knowledge has unbending intent ; (3) a
man of knowledge has clarity of mind; (4) to become a man of knowledge is
a matter of strenuous labor; (5) a man of knowledge is a warrior; (6) to
become a man of knowledge is an unceasing process; and (7) a man of
knowledge has an ally.
These seven concepts are
themes. They run through the teachings, determining the character of my
entire knowledge. Inasmuch as the operational goal of my teachings is to
produce a man of knowledge, everything I teach is imbued with the specific
characteristics of each of the seven themes. Together they construe the
concept "man of knowledge" as a way of conducting oneself, a way of
behaving that is the end result of a long and hazardous training. "Man of
knowledge," however, is not a guide to behavior, but a set of principles
encompassing all the unordinary circumstances pertinent to the knowledge
Each one of the seven themes is
composed, in turn, of various other concepts, which cover their different
To Become a Man
of Knowledge Is a Matter of Learning
Learning is the only possible way of becoming a man of
knowledge, and that in turn implies the act of making a resolute effort
to achieve an end. To become a man of knowledge is the end result of a
process, as opposed to an immediate acquisition through an act of grace
or through bestowal by supernatural powers. The plausibility of learning
to become a man of knowledge warrants the existence of a system for
teaching one how to accomplish it.
A Man of Knowledge Has Unbending
idea that a man of knowledge needs unbending intent refers to
the exercise of volition. Having unbending intent means
having the will to execute a necessary procedure by maintaining oneself at
all times rigidly within the boundaries of the knowledge being taught. A
man of knowledge needs a rigid will in order to endure the obligatory
quality that every act possesses when it is performed in the context of my
The obligatory quality of all the acts
performed in such a context, and their being inflexible and predetermined,
are no doubt unpleasant to any man, for which reason a modicum of unbending intent is sought as the only covert requirement
needed by a prospective apprentice.
Unbending intent is composed of (1) frugality, (2) soundness
of judgment, and (3) lack of freedom to innovate.
A man of knowledge needs frugality because the majority
of the obligatory acts deal with instances or with elements that are either
boundaries of ordinary everyday life, or are not customary in ordinary
activity, and the man who has to act in accordance with them needs an
extraordinary effort every time he takes action. It is implicit that one
be capable of such an extraordinary effort by being frugal with any other
activity that does not deal directly with such predetermined
Since all acts are predetermined and
obligatory, a man of knowledge needs soundness of judgment. This concept
does not imply common sense, but does imply the capacity to assess the
circumstances surrounding any need to act. A guide for such an assessment
is provided by bringing together, as rationales, all the parts of the
teachings which are at oneís command at the given moment in which any
action has to be carried out. Thus, the guide is always changing as more
parts are learned; yet it always implies the conviction that any
obligatory act one may have to perform is, in fact, the most appropriate
under the circumstances.
Because all acts are
preestablished and compulsory, having to carry them out means lack of
freedom to innovate. My system of imparting knowledge is so well
established that there is no possibility of altering it in any
A Man of
Knowledge Has Clarity of Mind
Clarity of mind is the theme that provides a sense of
direction. The fact that all acts are predetermined means that oneís
orientation within the knowledge being taught is equally predetermined;
as a consequence, clarity of mind supplies only a sense of direction. It
reaffirms continuously the validity of the course being taken through the
component ideas of (1) freedom to seek a path, (2) knowledge of the
specific purpose, and (3) being fluid.
believed that one has the freedom to seek a path. Having the freedom to
choose is not incongruous with the lack of freedom to innovate; these two
ideas are not in opposition nor do they interfere with each other. Freedom
to seek a path refers to the liberty to choose among different
possibilities of action which are equally effective and usable. The
criterion for choosing is the advantage of one possibility over others,
based on oneís preference. As a matter of fact, the freedom to choose a
path imparts a sense of direction through the expression of personal
Another way to create a sense of
direction is through the idea that there is a specific purpose for every
action performed in the context of the knowledge being taught. Therefore,
a man of knowledge needs clarity of mind in order to match his own
specific reasons for acting with the specific purpose of every action.
The knowledge of the specific purpose of every action is the guide he uses
judge the circumstances surrounding any need to act.
Another facet of clarity of mind is the idea that a man of
knowledge, in order to reinforce the performance of his obligatory
actions, needs to assemble all the resources that the teachings have
placed at his command. This is the idea of being fluid. It creates a sense
of direction by giving one the feeling of being malleable and resourceful.
The compulsory quality of all acts would imbue one with a sense of
stiffness or sterility were it not for the idea that a man of knowledge
needs to be fluid.
To Become A Man of
Knowledge is a Matter of Strenuous Labor
A man of knowledge has to possess or has to
develop in the course of his training an all-round capacity for exertion.
To become a man of knowledge is a matter of strenuous labor. Strenuous
labor denotes a capacity (1) to put forth dramatic exertion; (2) to
achieve efficacy; and (3) to meet challenge.
the path of a man of knowledge drama is undoubtedly the outstanding single
issue, and a special type of exertion is needed for responding to
circumstances that require dramatic exploitation; that is to say, a man
of knowledge needs dramatic exertion. Taking my behavior as an example,
first glance it may seem that my dramatic exertion is only my own
idiosyncratic preference for histrionics. Yet my dramatic exertion is
always much more than acting; it is rather a profound state of belief.
I impart through dramatic exertion the peculiar quality of finality to
the acts I perform. As a consequence, then, my acts are set on a stage
in which death is one of the main protagonists. It is implicit that death
a real possibility in the course of learning because of the inherently
dangerous nature of the items with which a man of knowledge deals; then,
it is logical that the dramatic exertion created by the conviction that
death is an ubiquitous player is more than histrionics.
Exertion entails not only drama, but also the need of efficacy.
Exertion has to be effective; it has to possess the quality of being
properly channeled, of being suitable. The idea of impending death creates
not only the drama needed for overall emphasis, but also the conviction
that every action involves a struggle for survival, the conviction that
annihilation will result if oneís exertion does not meet the requirement
of being efficacious.
Exertion also entails the
idea of challenge, that is, the act of testing whether, and proving that,
one is capable of performing a proper act within the rigorous boundaries
of the knowledge being taught.
A Man of Knowledge Is a Warrior
The existence of a man of knowledge is an
unceasing struggle, and the idea that he is a warrior, leading a warriorís
life, provides one with the means for achieving emotional stability. The
idea of a man at war encompasses four concepts: (1) a man of knowledge
to have respect; (2) he has to have fear; (3) he has to be wide-awake;
(4) he has to be self-confident. Hence, to be a warrior is a form of
self-discipline which emphasizes individual accomplishment; yet it is a
stand in which personal interests are reduced to a minimum, as in most
instances personal interest is incompatible with the rigor needed to
perform any predetermined, obligatory act.
of knowledge in his role of warrior is obligated to have an attitude of
deferential regard for the items with which he deals; he has to imbue
everything related to his knowledge with profound respect in order to
place everything in a meaningful perspective. Having respect is equivalent
to having assessed oneís insignificant resources when facing the
If one remains in that frame of thought,
the idea of respect is logically extended to include oneself, for one is
as unknown as the Unknown itself. The exercise of so sobering a feeling
respect transforms the apprenticeship of this specific knowledge, which
may otherwise appear to be absurd, into a very rational
Another necessity of a warriorís life
is the need to experience and carefully to evaluate the sensation of fear.
The ideal is that, in spite of fear, one has to proceed with the course
oneís acts. Fear must be conquered and there is a time in the life of a
man of knowledge when it is vanquished, but first one has to be conscious
of being afraid and duly to evaluate that sensation. One is capable of
conquering fear only by facing it.
As a warrior, a
man of knowledge also needs to be wide-awake. A man at war has to be on
the alert in order to be cognizant of most of the factors pertinent to
two mandatory aspects of awareness: (1) awareness of intent (2) awareness
of the expected flux.
Awareness of intent is the
act of being cognizant of the factors involved in the relationship between
the specific purpose of any obligatory act and oneís own specific purpose
for acting. Since all the obligatory acts have a definite purpose, a man
of knowledge has to be wide-awake; that is, he needs to be capable at all
times of matching the definite purpose of every obligatory act with the
definite reason that he has in mind for desiring to act.
A man of knowledge, by being aware of that relationship, is also
capable of being cognizant of what is believed to be the expected flux.
What I call the awareness of the expected flux refers to the certainty
that one is capable of detecting at all times the important variables
involved in the relationship between the specific purpose of every act
and oneís specific reason for acting. By being aware of the expected flux
is able to detect the most subtle changes. That deliberate awareness of
changes accounts for the recognition and interpretation of omens and of
other unordinary events.
The last aspect of the
idea of a warriorís behavior is the need for self-confidence, that is,
the assurance that the specific purpose of an act one may have chosen to
perform is the only plausible alternative for oneís own specific reasons
for acting. Without self-confidence, one would be incapable of fulfilling
one of the most important aspects of the teachings: the capacity to claim
knowledge as power.
To Become a Man of Knowledge Is an Unceasing
man of knowledge is not a condition entailing permanency. There is never
the certainty that, by carrying out the predetermined steps of the
knowledge being taught, that you will become a man of knowledge. It is
implicit that the function of the steps is only to show how to become
man of knowledge. Thus, becoming a man of knowledge is a task that cannot
be fully achieved; rather, it is an unceasing process comprising (1) the
idea that one has to renew the quest of becoming a man of knowledge; (2)
the idea of oneís impermanency; and (3) the idea that one has to follow
path with heart.
The constant renewal of the quest
of becoming a man of knowledge is expressed in the theme of the four
symbolic enemies encountered on the path of learning: fear, clarity,
power, and old age. Renewing the quest implies the gaining and the
maintenance of control over oneself. A true man of knowledge is expected
to battle each of the four enemies, in succession, until the last moment
of his life, in order to keep himself actively engaged in becoming a man
of knowledge. Yet, despite the truthful renewal of the quest, the odds
inevitably against man; he would succumb to his last symbolic enemy. This
is the idea of impermanency.
negative value of oneís impermanency is the notion that one has to follow
the path with heart. The path with heart is a metaphorical way of
asserting that in spite of being impermanent one still has to proceed and
has to be capable of finding satisfaction and personal fulfillment in the
act of choosing the most amenable alternative and identifying oneself
completely with it.
The rationale of my whole
knowledge is synthesized in the metaphor that the important thing for me
is to find a path with heart and then travel its length, meaning that the
identification with the amenable alternative is enough for me. The journey
by itself is sufficient; any hope of arriving at a permanent position is
outside the boundaries of my knowledge.
A Man of Knowledge has an Ally
that a man of knowledge has an ally is the most important of the seven
component themes, for it is the only one that is indispensable to
explaining what a man of knowledge is. In my classificatory scheme a man
of knowledge has an ally, whereas the average man does not,
and having an ally is what makes him different from ordinary
An ally is a power capable of transporting a
man beyond the boundaries of himself; that is to say, an ally is a power
which allows one to transcend the realm of ordinary reality. Consequently,
to have an ally implies having power; and the fact that a man of knowledge
has an ally is by itself proof that the operational goal of the teaching
is being fulfilled. Since that goal is to show how to become a man of
knowledge, and since a man of knowledge is one who has an ally, another
way of describing the operational goal of my teachings is to say that it
also shows how to obtain an ally. The concept "man of knowledge," as a
sorcererís philosophical frame, has meaning for anyone who wants to live
within that frame only insofar as he has an ally.