Salvia Divinorum Scotland ~ Castaneda ~ The Lessons of don Juan
JOURNEY TO IXTLAN
part one Stopping the World
2. ERASING PERSONAL HISTORY
Thursday, 22 December 1960
They meet outside don Juan's house talk about the cold desert nights, Carlos
asks if he is disturbing his normal routine. Don Juan says he has no routines
and that Carlos can stay all afternoon if he wishes.
Carlos wants a family tree. Don Juan mucks about a bit before saying softly
and seriously "Don't waste your time with that crap." with an
indescribable look which was not arrogance, defiance, hatred or contempt.
"I don't have any personal history. One day I found that personal
history was no longer necessary for me and, like drinking, I dropped it.".
Carlos: how can one drop one's personal history ?
Don Juan: One must first have the desire to drop it. And then one must proceed
harmoniously to chop it off little by little.
Carlos: But you are a Yaqui indian, I can't know that with certainty but you know
it an that's' what makes it personal history.
Don Juan: The fact that I know whether I
am a Yaqui indian does not make it personal history. Only when someone else
knows that does it become personal history. Everybody that knows you has an idea
about you and you keep feeding that idea with everything you do, on the other
hand, if you have no personal history, no explanations are needed, nobody is
angry or disolusioned with your acts. And above all nobody pins you down with
It is best to erase all personal history because that would make us free from
the encumbering thoughts of other people.
"Right now you don't know whether you are coming or going. And that is so
because I have erased my personal history. I have, little by little, created a
fog around me and my life. And now nobody knows for sure who I am or what I do. Not even I. How can I know who I am, when I am all this?"
He said sweeping the
surroundings with a gesture of his head.
Little by little you must create a fog around yourself; you must erase
everything around you until nothing can be taken for granted, until nothing is
any longer for sure, or real. Your problem now is that you are too real. Your
endeavours are too real; your moods are too real. Don't take things for granted.
You must begin to erase yourself.
Carlos argues that he doesn't like to deliberately mystify people or mislead them.
Don Juan's reply was that he misleads everybody anyway.
"When one does not have any personal history, nothing that one says can be
taken for a lie. Your trouble is that you have to explain everything to
everybody, compulsively, and at the same time you want to keep the freshness the
newness of what you do. Well, since you can't be excited after explaining
everything you have done, you lie in order to keep going. From now on you must
simply show people whatever you care to show them, but without explaining
exactly how you have done it."
Carlos: But I can't keep secrets.
Don Juan: Then change. You see, we only have two
alternatives; we either take everything for sure and real, or we don't. If we
follow the first, we end up bored to death with ourselves and with the world. If
we follow the second and erase personal history, we create a fog around us, a
very exciting and mysterious state in which nobody knows where the rabbit will
pop out, not even ourselves. When nothing is for sure, we remain alert, perennially on our toes.
more exciting not to know which bush the rabbit is hiding behind than to behave
as if we know everything.
They sit for an hour in silence before driving toward town. The conversation
has drained Carlos. Don Juan makes him stop, climb to the flat top of a small hill and lie
down on his stomach with his head facing east. Carlos is refreshed after a couple of
In town getting out of the car don Juan says, "Come back. Be sure to come