Jun 25 2009
An Original: Richard De Mille, Carlos Castaneda, and Literary Quackery
I was away in Nature – with a real capital N, and decided to insert an allegory this week instead of a medical subject. The genesis here was a sweeping of the mind and brushing away of cobwebs and detritus called worries and other preoccupations. The application to this here blog is – methodology. The experience is one of discovery, and of loss, and of bearing the burden of inaction.
Some thirty or more years ago a family member became enamored of a new book, The Teachings of don Juan by an unknown author, Carlos Castaneda. But mention the name now and one gets one of two responses: Who is that? Or, Oh, he is that literary fraud. But in the late 1960s – 1970s, two social movements had captured imaginations of youth, academics, and much of the intellectual world. They made fantasy seem plausible, and fraud seem believable – psychedelics and postmodernism.
Advocates of psychedelics, most of whom experienced drug-induced alterations, promoted revolutionary psychological ideas such as drug-induced multiple realities. The other, postmodernism, was and is the intellectual and philosophical movement originating in academia that similarly views of reality(ies) as possibly multiple. (The relation, if any, to alternate universes and relativity theories in physics I have to leave to philosophers.) But the ‘60s and ‘70s were decades of several revolutions in social and personal thought – paradigm changes – that brought fairy tales, delusions, and irrationality onto realms of plausibility, from which we are still reeling, and trying to deal with.
Continue Reading »