I remember first time I stumbled upon a work of Carlos Castaneda. I was so attracted to his books. They were like magnet to me. His style of writing, his topics, design of those books, pictures, first page… I mean, everything.
However, those books are just a bunch of non-sense… Can you explain me what is going on? What is he even talking about? It seems to me that this man was completely out of touch with reality. Non-sense, stupidity… Dont believe any of those stuff. People that take him seriously are going to end up in some kind of mental institution. You will become insane if you try to understand this man and if you try to live like him.
First of all, he was experimenting a lot with psychoactive drugs… He was never interested in ordinary things.. He always wanted to investigate non-ordinary territory. So when he writes, you dont understand what this man is talking about.
But the thing that confuses me are people who have reported to meet him. They all said that Carlos Castaneda was very simple,charismatic, sane man. It seems that he was not insane.. It seems that he really believed in his stories… But for you and me to try to understand things that he is talking about is just going to put us in mental institutions. I feel sorry for people that are following his teachings. Most of those people are lacking something and they want to experience something special, something magical…they are not satisfied with ordinary life…they are looking for something very special…
However, no one can say that as writer, Carlos Castaneda sucks. His words, his books, his sentences…it has certain kind of power. They have some kind of energy. I remember when I was reading his experience when he tried some psychoactive mushroom and he explained how he was playing with dog… Such a beautiful description. He is writing how he is chasing this dog, how this dog is chasing him, how they are playing… Beautiful, beautiful… And then in the end, his teacher said to him that there was no dog.
My point is, enjoy the work of this man, but dont take him seriously. It is a trap.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Carlos Castaneda:
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
“The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.”
“In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions.”
“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. ”
“We hardly ever realize that we can cut anything out of our lives, anytime, in the blink of an eye.”
“For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length–and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.”
“For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.”
“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 might never live to regret it”
“All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimeter of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. The difference between an average man and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this, and one of his tasks is to be alert, deliberately waiting, so that when his cubic centimeter pops out he has the necessary speed, the prowess, to pick it up.”
“Seek and see all the marvels around you. You will get tired of looking at yourself alone, and that fatigue will make you deaf and blind to everything else.”