Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.Every effort should be made to eradicate self-importance from the lives of warriors. Without self-importance we are invulnerable.
Whether one considers Castaneda’s writing a true account of Yaqui Shamanism, a seminal literary fiction, or a zesty tranche of intoxicated channeling, there can be no doubt that much of what he wrote was very engaging.
Several aspects of Castaneda’s (or Don Juan’s) reported philosophy have stayed with me over the years, perhaps because the idea behind them seems to resonate with an inward place of truth. One of these ideas is that of ”Petty Tyrants”.
To a certain extent I see now how the idea also coincides with the ideas of a Demiurge.
This term comes from the books of Carlos Castaneda. The Seers believed that a Tyrant was in charge of the world. On Earth, then, impossible people in authoritarian positions, which one has to deal with in life, were assigned the classification of “Petty Tyrants”. There were several subcategories of Petty Tyrants, as outlined by the Seer Don Juan in “The Fire from Within”:
1.TYRANT: primal source of energy, ruler of the universe.
A. Petty Tyrants -tyrannical rulers or authoritarian persons who actually hold power over life or death of others.
B. Minor Petty Tyrants – Tormentors who are fearsome and inflict misery, but do not hold any real power over life or death of others. (two subcategories 🙂
1. Little Petty Tyrants – (Four types 🙂
a. Torments with violence and cruelty
b. Torments by inducing fear through deviousness
c. Torments by subjugate another through sadness
d. Torments by making another act in anger rage.
2. Teensy-weensy Petty tyrants/Small-Fry Petty Tyrants: tormentors who are just frustrating, exasperating and annoy to distraction.
Many people fall victim to the Petty Tyrants of the world and being defeated by one means a loss of one’s vital energies. The Seer Don Juan explained to Castaneda that it was the task of Warriors to learn to face these Petty Tyrants with temperance and to prevail against their torments. Dealing with Petty Tyrants called for four qualities of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance and timing. Whereas to be defeated meant to act in anger, and potentially join the ranks of the Petty Tyrants
Extracts from The Fire Within by Carlos Castaneda ~
”Warriors take strategic inventories. They list everything they do. Then they decide which of those things can be changed in order to allow themselves a respite, in terms of expending their energy.
The strategic inventory covers only behavioral patterns that are not essential to our survival and well-being.
In the strategic inventories of warriors, self-importance figures as the activity that consumes the greatest amount of energy, hence, their effort to eradicate it.
One of the first concerns of warriors is to free that energy in order to face the unknown with it. The action of rechanneling that energy is impeccability.
The most effective strategy for rechanneling that energy consists of six elements that interplay with one another. Five of them are called the attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, timing, and will . They pertain to the world of the warrior who is fighting to lose self-importance. The sixth element, which is perhaps the most important of all, pertains to the outside world and is called the petty tyrant.
A petty tyrant is a tormentor. Someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction.
Petty tyrants teach us detachment. The ingredients of the new seers’ strategy shows how efficient and clever is the device of using a petty tyrant. The strategy not only gets rid of self-importance; it also prepares warriors for the final realization that impeccability is the only thing that counts in the path of knowledge.
Usually, only four attributes are played. The fifth, will , is always saved for an ultimate confrontation, when warriors are facing the firing squad, so to speak.
Will belongs to another sphere, the unknown. The other four belong to the known, exactly where the petty tyrants are lodged. In fact, what turns human beings into petty tyrants is precisely the obsessive manipulation of the known.
The interplay of all the five attributes of warriorship is done only by seers who are also impeccable warriors and have mastery over will . Such an interplay is a supreme maneuver that cannot be performed on the daily human stage.
Four attributes are all that is needed to deal with the worst of petty tyrants, provided, of course, that a petty tyrant has been found. The petty tyrant is the outside element, the one we cannot control and the element that is perhaps the most important of them all. The warrior who stumbles on a petty tyrant is a lucky one. You’re fortunate if you come upon one in your path, because if you don’t you have to go out and look for one.
If seers can hold their own in facing petty tyrants, they can certainly face the unknown with impunity, and then they can even stand the presence of the unknowable.
Nothing can temper the spirit of a warrior as much as the challenge of dealing with impossible people in positions of power. Only under those conditions can warriors acquire the sobriety and serenity to stand the pressure of the unknowable.
The perfect ingredient for the making of a superb seer is a petty tyrant with unlimited prerogatives. Seers have to go to extremes to find a worthy one. Most of the time they have to be satisfied with very small fry. Then warriors develop a strategy using the four attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, and timing.
The idea of using a petty tyrant is not only for perfecting the warrior’s spirit, but also for enjoyment and happiness. Even the worst tyrants can bring delight, provided, of course, that one is a warrior.
The mistake average men make in confronting petty tyrants is not to have a strategy to fall back on; the fatal flaw is that average men take themselves too seriously; their actions and feelings, as well as those of the petty tyrants, are all-important. Warriors, on the other hand, not only have a well-thought-out strategy, but are free from self-importance. What restrains their self-importance is that they have understood that reality is an interpretation we make.
Petty tyrants take themselves with deadly seriousness while warriors do not. What usually exhausts us is the wear and tear on our self-importance. Any man who has an iota of pride is ripped apart by being made to feel worthless.
To tune the spirit when someone is trampling on you is called control. Instead of feeling sorry for himself a warrior immediately goes to work mapping the petty tyrant’s strong points, his weaknesses, his quirks of behavior.
To gather all this information while they are beating you up is called discipline. A perfect petty tyrant has no redeeming feature.
Forbearance is to wait patiently–no rush, no anxiety–a simple, joyful holding back of what is due.
A warrior knows that he is waiting and what he is waiting for. Right there is the great joy of warriorship.
Timing is the quality that governs the release of all that is held back. Control, discipline, and forbearance are like a dam behind which everything is pooled. Timing is the gate in the dam.
Forbearance means holding back with the spirit something that the warrior knows is rightfully due. It doesn’t mean that a warrior goes around plotting to do anybody mischief, or planning to settle past scores. Forbearance is something independent. As long as the warrior has control, discipline, and timing, forbearance assures giving whatever is due to whoever deserves it.
To be defeated by a small-fry petty tyrant is not deadly, but devastating. Warriors who succumb to a small-fry petty tyrant are obliterated by their own sense of failure and unworthiness.
Anyone who joins the petty tyrant is defeated. To act in anger, without control and discipline, to have no forbearance, is to be defeated.
After warriors are defeated they either regroup themselves or they abandon the quest for knowledge and join the ranks of the petty tyrants for life.