Part One The Preliminaries of seeing


2 April 1968

Carlos meets don Juan for the first time in over two years and presents him with a copy of his first book.

Don Juan: I had better not [keep it] you know what we do with paper in Mexico.

Carlos recalls his stay in a hotel and thinking how unfortunate were the poor shoe shine beggar boys.

Don Juan: How can you say their world is cheap, that you are better off than they?

Carlos: My world is infinitely more varied an rich in opportunities for personal satisfaction and development.

Don Juan: You are speaking carelessly. You have no way of knowing about the richness and the opportunities in the world of those children... Didn't you tell me that in your opinion man's greatest accomplishment was to become a man of knowledge. Do you think that your freedom and opportunities can help you become a man of knowledge?

Carlos realises he is guilty of pity but argues that the least one can do is to try and alleviate their burden and to try and change them. He asks is that not what he is trying to do [change his fellow man] ?

Don Juan: No, I do not know what to change or why to change anything in my fellow man.

Carlos: Were you not teaching me so I could change?

Don Juan: No. It may happen one day that you become a man of knowledge - there is no way to know that - but that will not change you. Some day perhaps you will be able to see men in another mode and then you will realise there's no way to change them.

Don Juan: Men look different when you see. The little smoke will help you to see men as fibers of light. Fibers, very fine threads that circulate from the head to the navel. Thus a man looks like a egg of circulating fibers and his arms and legs are like luminous bristles, bursting out in all directions.

Every man is in touch with everything else through the fibers that shoot out from his abdomen. Those fibers join a man to his surroundings; they keep his balance; they give him stability. You may see some day, a man is a luminous egg whether he's a beggar or a king. What could be changed in that luminous egg?


Carlos feels he has to visit don Juan more often. He has a particular interest. He feels his [first] book emphasises states of non-ordinary reality at the expense of discarding other notes. Re-hashing, he pursues a theory of cueing by which a skillful sorcerer can bring forth a specialised range of perception from his apprentices. This would be a covert and sophisticated code, Carlos says he has constructed a complex system to explain the code and procedures.

21 May 1968

Carlos and don Juan meet and talk in the darkness of don Juan's room which Carlos enjoys. Don Juan asks has he  learned to use the darkness. The darkness of the day is the best time to see.

22 May 1968.

Carlos spend two hours reading his cueing scheme to don Juan . Don Juan laughs: You're deranged. Why should anyone be bothered with cueing at such an important time as mitote. Do you think one ever fools around with Mescalito?

I know why you have come. I can not help you in your endeavour because there is no system of cueing.

Carlos: But how can all those people agree about Mescalito's presence?

Don Juan: They agree because they see. Why don't you attend another mitote for yourself?

Carlos says that he has no intention of learning anything more about peyote, it requires more courage than he thinks he has and he really meant it when he said he quit.

Don Juan: Why do you have to push it so hard?

Carlos has vehemently said for three years that he did not want to learn but feels he is somehow betraying don Juan

"I have failed you. I have run away. I feel I am defeated." 

Don Juan: What I have to teach you is very hard, I perhaps found it harder than you. You should let the smoke guide you again.

Carlos: I am afraid. When I think of your smoke I feel a sort of darkness coming upon me as if there were no more people on earth. I find the smoke the ultimate of loneliness.

Don Juan: There is nothing new about being afraid. Don't think about your fear, think about the wonders of seeing. The smoke is my ally and I don't feel such loneliness.

Carlos: But you are different you have conquered. your fear. 

Don Juan: You are not afraid. 

Carlos considered the notion that it was less to do with fear, what was it then, Inertia? - The tendency of matter to remain at rest or if moving to keep moving in the same direction, unless acted upon by some outside force.

Don Juan: That's about the best word you have found. Only a crackpot would undertake the task of becoming a man of knowledge of his own accord. A sober headed man has to be tricked into doing it.

Carlos: I'm sure there must be scores of people who would gladly undertake the task. 

Don Juan: Yes but they are usually cracked. They are like gourds that look fine from the outside and yet they would leak the moment you put pressure on them, the moment you filled them water. I had to trick you into learning once, the same way my benefactor tricked me. Perhaps it is time to trick you again.

Referring to previous confrontation with a sorceress, where don Juan used engineered a situation as motivation to learn if he wanted to stay alive, Carlos, says: If you are planning to scare me again with that woman, I simply wont come back any more.

Don Juan: Don't worry. That trick with fear wont work anymore. You are no longer afraid. But if it's needed you can be tricked wherever you are. You don't need to be around here for that.

Don Juan went to sleep. When he woke up noticing that Carlos was writing he asked if he had written himself out of his problem.

23 May 1968

Carlos relates the Story of Vicente giving him a sack of plants. Carlos planted them in the desert with no one around. A Volkswagen  appeared, the driver asked if everything alright before driving off. Carlos returned to plants. On returning to car hears voices, three Mexicans at his car. They pester him for a lift but Carlos had no room for them. He is apprehensive.

Don Juan: Why have you not told me this before. It's very important.

Carlos further relates how he met Vicente and mentioned don Juan's name. Vicente said "Oh how high soars my Indian brother" and claimed for himself only to have 'lyric knowledge'. 

Don Juan: Why did you go to see him? 

Carlos claims don Juan himself asked him to visit. 

Don Juan: That's absurd. I said to you some day when you learn how to see you should pay him a visit. Don Juan was surprised at Carlos baffling good luck for simply surviving this encounter.

Don Juan: Knowledge is power, and once a man embarks on the road of knowledge he is no longer liable for what may happen to those who come into contact with him. You should have paid him a visit when you knew enough to defend yourself; not from him but from the power he has harnessed, which by the way was not his or anybody else's. Upon hearing you were my friend, Vicente assumed that you knew how to protect yourself and then made you a gift. He apparently liked you and must have made you a great gift and you chucked it. What a pity!

24 May 1968

Carlos pesters don Juan about the Vicente incident. Don Juan asks for recall of the exact number of plants and the order of events. 

Carlos: Why did Vicente give me such a serious gift?

Don Juan: You look as if you know, when I see you, you look to me as if you know a great deal, and yet I myself know that you don't.