“The sorcerer’s description of the world is perceivable. But our insistence on holding on to our standard version of reality renders us almost deaf and blind to it.” — Carlos Castaneda
“The basic premise of sorcery for a sorcerer is that the world of everyday life is not real, or out there, as we believe it is. For a sorcerer, reality, or the world we all know, is only a description.
“For the sake of validating this premise I will concentrate the best of my efforts into leading you into a genuine conviction that what you hold in mind as the world at hand is merely a description of the world; a description that has been pounded into you from the moment you were born.
“Everyone who comes into contact with a child is a teacher who incessantly describes the world to him, until the moment when the child is capable of perceiving the world as it is described. We have no memory of that portentous moment, simply because none of us could possibly have had any point of reference to compare it to anything else. From that moment on, however, the child is a member. He knows the description of the world; and his membership becomes full-fledged, perhaps, when he is capable of making all the proper perceptual interpretations which, by conforming to that description, validate it.
“The reality of our day-to-day life, then, consists of an endless flow of perceptual interpretations which we, the individuals who share a specific membership, have learned to make in common.
“The idea that the perceptual interpretations that make up the world have a flow is congruous with the fact that they run uninterruptedly and are rarely, if ever, open to question. In fact the reality of the world we know is so taken for granted that the basic premise of sorcery, that our reality is merely one of many descriptions, can hardly be taken as a serious proposition.
“As a teacher of sorcery, my endeavor is to describe the world to you. Your difficulty in grasping my concepts and methods will stem from the fact that the units of my description are alien and incompatible with those of your own.
“I am teaching you how to see as opposed to merely looking, and stopping the world is the first step to seeing.
—Don Juan to Carlos Castenada, excerpt from Journey to Ixtlan
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