Carlos Castaneda Interview - La Jornada Newspaper (part 2)

English Translation of a Spanish Newspaper Article by Luis Enrique Ramirez

The Tensegrity Seminar ended.
"I am an idiot just like all of you": Carlos Castaneda.
"If there is energy, I will keep coming to Mexico".

There is nothing visible in Carlos Castaneda that allows to see a spiritual guide in him. He is very thin, short and homely. He is dark-skinned; he wears his white hair short and combs it forward. He wears a long-sleeved shirt and jeans without back pockets. On a platform, with a small microphone attached to his clothes, he acts loosely before his audience, 700 people gathered at the last of his three lectures about the new paths of Tensegrity in the Centro Asturiano. Either sitting or lying on the carpet, they listen to him anticipating his jokes, which they celebrate laughing out loud and sometimes with applause.

"Do you remember that joke I told you the other night? I will tell it to you again... what was I saying? I'm senile!."

Castaneda always puts humor ahead when he speaks, and thus he solves doubts or leave them as they were, making an effort not to intellectualize the talk.

"Make short, functional questions. Ask them out of desire to know, not because you want me to listen to you."

He does not read letters to avoid facing 'far-fetched questions', he says, and he mentions some of those his followers use to put forth:

"I dreamt I was a bird"

"Bird how? A Faggot, or what? It's a Chinese reply, but adequate."

"How can I know if I am double?"

"You are double, pendeja. Double pendeja." (Pendejo(a) is a Spanish profanity that means extremely stupid. [TN])

"How can I become what I have never been?"

"Well, I don't know. Pushing..."

"Give me a reason for reason to be reasonable. No, no! One must not be guided by intellect. These are questions that seem deep but are not. They are entertainment. Don Juan was so simple that scared me. He was a direct being. He did not get lost in convolutions that lead nowhere. Sorcerers are pragmatic beings. We are dilettanti. Our beliefs are unsustainable. The only way for us to sustain them is by getting angry: 'How can you say this is not true, you imbecile?'. And we go away, angry. There is a terrible truth: no one wants to be free. We are scared. What of? I do not know. We are scared. A brave chicken gets out of the coop and becomes an escapee, a fugitive. Forever?, a girl asked me. Honey pie, it's either the chicken-coop or freedom! I like freedom. I don't like the human-coop. There are things in the human-coop which are not mine."

He establishes: "I am not a guru. I cannot allow or disallow anything to anyone. That's too Hindu! I cannot tell anyone if he is a shaman or not; neither that he is in fact an idiot. Who am I to tell him that? They put me in unsustainable situations. I cannot wind anyone up because I find that to be totally disrespectful. That takes place in friendship. But I am nobody's friend. And the way I defend myself is not-seeing-anyone." He makes revelations about his identity that at another time would have been unthinkable: "I come from South America. Not from Yucatan. They asked me if I was from Campeche, because I am big-headed and short. No, I don't come from Campeche. I come from further down...

There is nothing intrinsical to transform me into something special. There isn't. I have made energetic inquiries and no, I don't have anything extraordinary. I am an idiot like all of you. The most important key learned from Don Juan was to achieve inner silence, to abolish the hegemony of the mind as a method to find freedom. That's silencing the mind. Don Juan told me that when I achieved 8 or 10 seconds of silence things were going to get interesting, and my question as a fart was: 'And how do I know it's eight seconds?'. No, honey-pie, it's not like that. I don't know what tells you it's eight seconds. Something
internal tells us. The point is to accumulate silence second by second. I suddenly got to that threshold without knowing it, accumulating second after second. There is no more mind. Just that silence. That silence is over thirty years old now. From that silence I speak to you."

"In this kind of seminars", he affirms, "I have seen things Don Juan never saw. People unknowingly attracting their energy bodies. The knowledge learned in 30 years comes in two seconds. Since august up until today I don't know what to think. I have seen a lot of energetic talent and I don't know what to do with it. I see the speed at which you learn. If I took you one at a time it would take me months to show you one fucking movement. How do you do it so
quickly together? I don't know. The mass... The group gives more strength..."

He insists on 'Unhooking the mind' and use the energy body.

"My mind is something very foreign to me. There is a layer within you which is what you really are. Unhook the mind and that will be you. This takes the righteousness away from oneself and transforms you into something functional: a being made for the fight."

He again combats the egocentrism.

"The ideology of the me is the most pernicious one. People live thinking only about themselves, going to the psychiatrist to talk about oneself. What a tragedy! I care about me and me and only me (he sings). We are not like that! Why do we defend postures that are not ours? They are mental masturbation. We don't question what they impose on us because we don't have energy. What could transform our actions is the energy body, and we don't have it. This is not
sorcerer paranoia. Sorcerers are too simple and direct, they don't wear a mask, they go straight to the answer."

He tells about his experience with a famous astrologist whom he went to see sometime ago. He introduced himself as Joe Cortez, Chicano, and she told him that his chakras were in bad shape.

"She left me very intrigued and I went back months later. She had already forgotten about me. I told her that I was Carlos Castaneda and now she exclaimed: 'So much light! So much light!'.

"He also says that Julio Iglesias approached him. "He's a darling". He revealed to him: 'I fuck everyday. Not very well, but everyday'.

Castaneda does not know the reason for this personal revelation, but he could only reply: 'Me too. You fuck, I cogitate.' (Pun. In Spanish, 'you fuck' is 'tu coges', and 'I cogitate' is 'yo cogito' [TN]).

He explains: "I'm a bored fuck. Don Juan turned me into an energy miser. I don't spend it. I don't do anything. But I do everything. What the hell is this sexual impulse when you don't feel anything? I know a woman called 'the bed-buster'. She never felt a thing, but she busted 11 beds."

He listens to the questions of his audience at this last lecture, which lasted about two hours. There are many doubts concerning Tensegrity and the series of physical exercises implied in it. Many address him as 'nagual'.

"How is the will strengthened?

"With energy. It's the only way."

"Is Intent enough?"

"Oh, honey-pie! Intent is everything. It's like saying 'Is life enough?'. Intent is a force in the Universe."

"Are we a part of one Intent?"

"We are the sum total of Intent."

"Is Tensegrity the only key?"

"It's the only one I know. And I've heard more than you. Thirty years as Carlos Castaneda... Oof! I have heard wonders."

"Can Tensegrity be done without shoes?"

"Do it naked, but do it."

"What's the right way of speaking?"

"Ah! We would have to talk about the right way of shitting. Don Juan spoke about a right way of chewing. 'What for?' I asked him. 'To avoid sins', he told me. (Apparently, another pun. Somewhere else, Castaneda says Don Juan had told him not to talk while he was eating to avoid farting. In Spanish, 'Pecados' (sins) and 'Pedos' (farts) are very similar words [TN]).

"I have practiced Tensegrity and I feel it's not enough."

"Enough for what?"

"Can we untie our children from the social order?"

"We are part of the social order. What we can do as parents is untie ourselves from so much bullshit of the social order".

"What would happen if a lot of people did what you say?"

"What would happen? How do I know? I can't speculate. Like Don Juan used to say: 'Ask the stars...'

"Will you keep coming to Mexico?"

"If there is energy, yes. We are going to build a company... Well, a small group of people who wants to know more about these things. They are the same people who organized this seminar... Mexico is filled with things that cannot be understood because we don't have the subtlety. We are full of things which are not feasible to find under these lines of behavior..."

The seminar ends and Castaneda steps down from the platform into a crowd wishing to approach him. He only signs one book. A young man asks him: 'Nagual, could you sign for me an autograph with your finger?'. He extends his right wrist for Castaneda to touch him but he says no, not that, and vanishes behind a door.

© Copyright La Jornada Newspaper
Publication Date: January 30, 1996