Tao de Castaneda: Taoism for the Youngest (Maelinhon)
Peace to you.
This will be a special article and one of my favorite issues, the transformation and finding oneself. And an article to add to my “deep metaphysics” series.
As a rule, I don’t refer to anyone, ever, because I only read fiction. My quirk is this: I only work with sources from subtle plains. And when people ask me what is worth reading on eso-, exo-, and other metaphysics, I have very little to say. But to be completely honest, there are still two works that can be considered as a reference for what our project with Grassar is dealing with. That is Lao Tzu and Carlos Castaneda. These two personalities are so distant from each other in geography, time, and style that probably no further is possible. But I will clearly prove to you today that they wrote exactly the same thing, however, due to the “highly toxic esoteric” style, much (if not everything) of what they wrote is simply not perceived by the audience. And I’ll probably have the nerve to join these honorable seniors, since I write about the same things, only I write in an exoteric style, that is simple, understandable and for a wide audience. In fact, many articles of the Marginal Metaphysics Project simply reinvent Taoism and reinterpret its ideas in a clear and modern language. As Carlos did in his time. And the few lesser-known descendants. And here we can note one interesting thing, echoing strongly with Lao: if something is true, it does not need to be fixed in words or texts. In simple words, anyone following the same path will come to the same result, while the believers of untruth will all come to different conclusions. Lao, Carlos, and us all came to the same conclusion, and I read Lao post factum (honestly).
But be it Lao, the “colored emperors” of China, or their Latin American successor, all stepped on the same rake. That is: the fool-proofing that went out of control. Let’s say you invented (or learned somewhere) how to escape from the dense world and move to a more subtle one, preferably without being barefoot. What are you going to do with this information? A certain social altruism tells us to share it, but there is one big problem with this: competition. Suppose you’ve found a lucky cheat code for moving to better conditions in a rich faraway country. And your imagination pictures you settling down there, a mysterious and exotic foreigner from faraway lands.
But it’s creepy to go alone, so you need partners and companions. And how do you find these partners without being followed by 2 billion idiots who you taught yourself this cheat code? Otherwise it would happen that you arrived, and then all these citizens rushed after … And now you’re not the only exotic one around here, just “another annoying transplant getting on nerves”. What to do? How do you give without giving? How to share without giving in hand and verifying reliable ones, without revealing all the information? Both authors have applied a trick that I personally find disgusting and only add to the problems. They’ve made reading their works so difficult that either the most resistant will stay to the end, or those who really understand what’s the deal with the text and sweep away the unnecessary stuff.
Both failed to account for human idiocy. And it turned out badly. Idiots still managed to read till the end, got tangled in the haze of illusions, allusions, metaphors, and hints, and drew many of their own conclusions. The Chinese version then also got tangled up in its own robe and began to mix in politics and ideas of mass control, and then eventually got lost in the thicket of conflicting schools. This is the problem with any “esoteric” literature. It is so fuzzy and shaky in its meaning that, like in the famous poem about reading people, each asshole sees something very different. And if everyone sees something different, then the objective picture falls apart and gets blurred, because these assholes then discredit both the author and his message. Time passes and some new idiots start teaching everyone how to properly understand what they’ve read and it’s all over… N years pass and sane people, having listened to the fools broadcasting the ideas of doctrine in goofy translation, already smirk grimly: Ah, so you’re one of “those”, well, I seeeee.
Reading Castaneda is a pain in the ass. What can be expressed in four or five pages turns into a dozen books, where you endlessly wade through a jumble of metaphors, allusions, flashbacks, and going in circles over the same thing. It is unreasonably difficult to read. The works of Colored Emperors and Lao Tzu are easier to read, but they too are full of metaphors, references, and local Asian memes just over halfway through. And it’s very difficult to understand many things out of context. And yes, that’s exactly what the authors expected, that “who needs it, will understand it”, but… I think this approach is wrong. We have a frustratingly large number of dumb people around us, very dumb people, ultimately dumb people. The fact that they have lived to their years and have not killed themselves accidentally with a dessert spoon is more a credit to medicine, the humanization of society and pure luck than to their own. Anyone who works in the service industry and with people would shake my calloused hand with bitten fingernails. Therefore, this foolproofing is simply unnecessary: tell them straight to their face – they still won’t understand. About 90 percent of people will not understand what you’re saying and what you’re trying to achieve. So we wanted the best, but it turned out as usual.
Three Tao questions
But, that’s grumbling, let’s get to the point. What if we turn the generalized works of Taoism and the works of Castaneda into the language of exotericism? That is, make it not a mystical supreme knowledge for the selected few, but a simple, intelligible text that even a schoolboy would understand.
In fact, both teachings are aimed at the same goal: escape from the dense world and evolve to levels above. Only Lao Tzu gives this cheat-code via the dense, and Carlos gives it via the subtle. Both teachings operate with three questions, the answers to which, in essence, make everyone conscious and whole. But it takes a lot of effort to extract these questions from the texts full of fillers.
Question 1: Who are you?
Question 2: What are you?
Question 3: What is the purpose of your life?
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? The questions are very simple, and the dumber the reader is, the faster and more certain he will answer them. The trouble is, if you scratch your head, you won’t have to SEARCH, you’ll literally have to CREATE the answers, because you simply don’t have them.
Let’s review each one.
The majority of people confidently answer their name to the first question. This is a widespread answer, you can check it yourself. But here’s the question: does this name describe YOU? It’s just some set of letters, often from an unknown foreign language, which your parents gave you. And they called you this name before they recognized you as a person, i.e. they haven’t even roughly correlated it with you. It turns out that your name by all parameters is some foreign element from the outside world, given by strangers. It says nothing about you. So who are you?
Profession? Appearance? Achievements? What is the answer? Does my profession, crooked nose, or being overweight characterize ME? Does my face = Me or not? The irony of this question is that it has no wrong answer, any answer will be right if you gave it by yourself, and wrong if it came from the outside. Not society, not parents, not mentality, but you yourself will do it. Who are you? For yourself.
Things only get worse with the second question. While a person is young, while he is growing and developing, a million factors aggressively influence him: parents, school, teachers, peers around, the media, culture, mental field… And in fact it turns out that most of our qualities (well, which we “identify” in ourselves), are obtained by us from the outside. Along with the name. That is, if your mother thinks you are handsome, your teachers at school call you an idiot, and the TV shows some ideal image, which you do not correspond to, it cannot help but affect you. It affects your self-description. But if you sit down and think about this question, it turns out that 80 percent (at best) of your qualities are externally imposed. And this works both for good and for bad. You can convince a worthless person that he is exceptional and cool, or you can kick a gifted person to the point of breaking the back of his self-esteem. And the awful thing comes out – you don’t know who or what you are. The more you dig, the more you find other people’s and external.
Lao presents this thesis as a metaphor: It is not the walls that define the house, but the emptiness within it. Simply put, we are interested in the emptiness of the cup, not in the cup itself, because we want to pour something into it. The emptiness is more valuable than the cup, because it is perspective: nothing can fit into a full cup anymore. Accordingly, a person building himself must also be “empty.” If he is already full of other people’s dogmas, samples, not his own opinions and thoughts, then there will be no place for his own. You smell the Archaic Heart project, don’t you?
And this idea of the empty container is clearly seen in Castaneda and his erasing of personal history. He suggests that you completely erase yourself and your identity, because in essence it is not yours. The unconscious person is made up of other people’s opinions, other people’s names, ascribed parameters and false goals. It needs an empty space for your personal story and yourself to emerge. And Archaic here agrees saying that you should also throw away all the smart books, because they fill what should be filled with subtle vision and your own thoughts. And only in the emptiness a new personality is born, which can already be pumped.
An important aspect is that one must begin to build oneself in a certain state. Lao writes, “…The perfect wisdom of the sage is to make life satisfied, not to have beautiful things”. That is, one must first provide a base, be fed, clothed, get a good night’s sleep, have a home and security, and then think about spiritual things (checkpoint – article “On Spirituality”). A hungry and poor man will be angry and obsessed with having more expensive things, gold, cars-apartments, because his base has never been satisfied. He’s got a hungry, greedy drive for goods, so he can’t level up. He must first calm down, get his mundane and his psyche in order, and only then start working on improving his “spirit.” A conscious person is adoptable, relaxed, and open to everything.
And the third and most nightmarish question is what you are for. What are you living for? At first glance, it’s simple, at second glance, it’s not. And on the third you start screaming in existential dread. Most people answer this question without thinking too much, something like “Well, I live to have a good and decent time, not to be in need, and to raise children…” To get you started screaming, let’s turn the question into a metaphor: your life is a road, and you’re driving from point A to point B. Where are you going? What is the purpose of this trip? “To live well” is a description of the car you’re driving, you can’t “drive to have a nice car,” that doesn’t represent the purpose of the trip. “For the children” – the passengers in the car, and they will certainly leave you on the way (everyone is alone in the cemetery), that is, your fellow travelers. So are family and friends. Do I drive so that other people will travel with me? This is quite a purpose. Money, life – it’s gasoline, it’s HOW you drive and WHAT. And the question is where. What does the end point look like, where you can say, “that’s it, I got where I wanted to”?
Destiny and Non-Doing
And this whole “find your destiny” thing is just that. It cannot be found, it can only be created, and only by yourself, as you personally feel it. It is the feeling of purpose, not the thinking of it rationally, because “the Tao spoken in words is not the true Tao” ( I mean, by others or rationally), i.e., the inner purpose cannot be set by someone or something from the outside. Only you yourself feel where and for what you are heading. And without it, everything is for nothing. Everything, Karl!
Both authors, in fact, lead to this thought: who are you and what are you for? When you answer these questions, there will be a kind of synchronization with space and the elements, and then everything is a piece of cake for you. That’s it, you’re out of the system, you’re conscious, and you can bounce in any direction. You can do nothing, but simply have a clear purpose in your head, under which space will independently adjust. The very non-doing that both authors write about. Most people live without a purpose and, in fact, float like a flower on a river: where the waves have carried them, there they float. Your own purpose is “heavy”, it immediately sets the vector of movement of life. I live to achieve this. This means that where I live, who I live with, how I live, everything is secondary, it is just a decoration for my way to my purpose. And if you don’t have a purpose, then space won’t help you. What is there to help you with if you yourself don’t know why you consume oxygen? The word “Tao” in this teaching means this very purpose and its synchronization with the world around it, and countries, things, beasts, gods, and anyone else except unconscious people have a Tao. By the way, there can be more than one purpose, why not.
There’s a funny thing here that amuses me personally. Many people who start working on themselves (yes, many people do it intuitively and without any smartypants like me) always want to turn themselves into sweethearts. Roughly speaking – “good ones”. Who told you that a conscious person is a nice guy with altruistic goals? Some jerk with a high ego and plans to destroy the world could be a more conscious individual than any empty-headed “I-Live-For-My-Kids” moron. The purpose should be yours personally. If you know who you are and what you’re doing, it’s extremely difficult to knock you off your path because you’ll simply compare what you know about yourself to what others tell you and offer you. And reject what you and your purpose don’t need.
And on the way to these three pillars of information, you may spend years and decades. To weigh everything, discard the unnecessary, add what is needed, and finally formulate why it was all necessary. You will have to go through many waves of transformation and traps of the system, look your fears and weaknesses in the eye, resist the system and society… Lao writes “The fast wind doesn’t blow all morning, the heavy rain doesn’t last all day.” That is, everything changes, even the best and worst periods change, and people and things require renewal and rethinking. Checkpoints are a scattering of articles on transformation. Taoism also offers a very correct criterion for evaluating things: to look at the entire spectrum at once. You cannot “eradicate evil” because then it will not be clear what good is, you cannot remove darkness – light will disappear. Checkpoint is an article about the “Karmic yoke and the slices”.
If we describe Castaneda’s concept in a single paragraph, he basically suggests doing the same thing, but also working on connections in the subtle world and accelerating processes with spiritual practices, psychedelics, energies, and kicks in the butt from the other side. Like, people have access to one slice of the subtle a priori: it’s a dream. Okay, 1 is better than nothing, so we become conscious, jump into the dream with a subtle and conscious body, and create a nest for ourselves on the other side where we’ll end up after the death of the dense body. It’s an interesting view on Taoism, it kind of continues the idea, but adds a Void coloring to it. Technically, it works, because the conscious person is perceived as an equal in the subtle, someone can hitch a ride with him/her and help him/her with CoML.
So that’s it. 20 paragraphs and you know in general 2 huge, fundamental concepts of humanity. Concepts and teachings, but not a religion. Avoid religion on your way, that’s already advice from the stick voiders. What is the difference between religion and teaching, specifically Taoism? Religion (any) tells you “You are a miserable worm, a little child, but there is a cool god/goddess/guru standing in the corner/on the wall, and if you will be with him, then you will take your place in the hierarchy and cease to be a worm.” And the teaching (intelligible, they can be stupid too), tells you: you are not a worm, because you don’t exist yet, you must create yourself, regardless of the resistance of society, parents, the world, and even the gods. Because there is no hierarchy, the world is not a mountain with a Main Important Mug on top. The world is horizontal, with many mountains. You can become a mountain yourself, or you can be just a stone in the structure of someone else’s mountain. The choice is yours.
(c) Mylene Maelinhon \ Materials from the Marginal Metaphysics Project
Illustration by Cemra Igli (c)