The Appointment With Infinity ~ Carlos Castaneda
(All Castaneda’s words have been copied from Julian Rose’s website (without his commentary) which is linked at end of page.)
“The practicalities that scientists are interested in are conducive to building more and more machines. They are not geared to reaching the vastness of the universe as a personal, experiential affair.”
“Someday I’ll tell you more about the forces that drive man to act like an ass. Some of us make sense when we talk because we are prepared to use words accurately. But most of us are not prepared to take ourselves seriously as men who are going to die.
Being immortal, we wouldn’t know how to do that. It makes no difference what complex machines scientists can build. The machines can in no way help anyone face the unavoidable appointment: the appointment with infinity.”
“The nagual Julian used to tell me about the conquering generals of ancient Rome. When they would return victorious, gigantic parades were staged to honour them. Riding with them was always a slave whose job was to whisper in their ear that all fame and glory are but transitory.
If we are victorious in any way we don’t have anyone to whisper in our ear that everything is ephemeral. The whisperer is death, the infallible advisor, the only one who won’t tell you a lie.”
“The sorcerers of ancient Mexico saw that the universe at large is composed of energy fields in the form of luminous filaments. They saw zillions of them, wherever they turned to see. They also saw that those energy fields arranged themselves into currents of luminous fibres, streams that are constant, perennial forces in the universe.”
“The sorcerers also found out that every creature in the universe is attached to the dark sea of awareness at a round point of luminosity that was apparent when those creatures were perceived as energy. On that point of luminosity, which the sorcerers of ancient Mexico called the assemblage point of human beings, zillions of energy fields from the universe at large, in the form of luminous filaments, converge and pass through it. These energy fields are converted into sensory data, and the sensory data is then converted, interpreted and perceived as the world we know. What turns the luminous fibres into sensory data is the dark sea of awareness. Sorcerers see the transformation and call it the glow of awareness, a sheen that extends like a halo around the assemblage point.”
“Today you may remember an event that sums up your total life. We are always faced with a situation that is the same as the one we never resolved. Infinity always puts us in the terrible position of having to choose. We want infinity, but at the same time we want to run away from it. You want to tell me to go jump in a lake, but at the same time you are compelled to stay. It would be infinitely easier for you to just be compelled to stay.”
“What is at stake is the advent of a disintegrating force. But not a force that is disintegrating you; I don’t mean it that way. It is disintegrating what the sorcerers call the foreign installation, which exists in you and in every other human being. The affect of the force that is descending on you, which is disintegrating the foreign installation, is that it pulls sorcerers out of their syntax.
I know how difficult it is for you to deal with this facet of your life. Every sorcerer that I know has gone through it. The males going through it suffer infinitely more damage than the females. I suppose it’s the condition of women to be more durable. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico, acting as a group, tried to buttress the impact of this disintegrating force. In our day we have no way of acting as a group so we must brace ourselves to face in solitude a force which will sweep us away from language, for there is no way to describe adequately what is going on.
Sorcerers face the unknown in the most common incidents one can imagine. When they are confronted with it, and cannot interpret what they are perceiving, they have to rely on an outside force for direction. I’ve called that voice infinity, or the voice of the spirit. If sorcerers don’t try to be rational about what can’t be rationalized, the spirit unerringly tells them what’s what.”
“Everything you do has to be an act of sorcery. An act free from encroaching expectations, fears of failure, hopes of success. Free from the cult of me; everything you do has to be impromptu, a work of magic where you freely open yourself to the impulses of the infinite.”
“There’s nothing gentle about sorcerers or sorcery. The first time infinity descends on you it may be a total take-over of your faculties.”
“Choice for the warrior-travellers is not really an act of choosing, but rather an act of acquiescing elegantly to the solicitations of infinity.”
“It’s pitch black around us, but if you look out of the corner of your eye, you will see fleeting shadows jumping all around you. You have arrived, by your effort alone, to what the shamans of ancient Mexico called the topic of topics. I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico. There is an explanation that is the simplest explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coups, the predators rear us in human coops. Therefore their food is always available to them.”
“Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, followers of routine, and egomaniacs. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre; stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those that suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you here me?
The predators gave us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predator’s mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.
I know that although you have never suffered hunger you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they insure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.”
“The sorcerers of Ancient Mexico saw the predator. They called it the flyer because it leaps through the air. It is not a pretty sight. It is a big shadow, impenetrably dark, a black shadow that leaps through the air. Then it lands flat on the ground. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when it made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man.
What I’m saying is that what we’re up against is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organised. It follows a methodical path to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He’s an average piece of meat. There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.”
“Soon you will be entering infinity by the force of your own personal power. Once you have entered into infinity, you can’t depend on anyone to bring you back. Your decision is needed then. Only you can decide whether or not to return. I must warn you that few warrior-travellers survive this type of encounter with infinity. Infinity is enticing beyond belief, A warrior-traveller finds that to return to the world of disorder, compulsion, noise and pain is a most unappealing affair. You must know that your decision to stay or return is not a matter of reasonable choice, but a matter of intending it.”
“We are warrior-travellers. Only energetic facts are meaningful for us. All the rest are trimmings that have no importance at all. Our normal cognition requires a linear explanation in order to be satisfied, and linear explanations are not possible. That is the crux in the interruption of continuity. The interruption is the sorcerer. In order for you to stay behind, you need all your strength, all your forbearance, and above all, a warrior-traveller’s guts of steel.”