Stalking Castaneda | Excerpt | Castaneda’s Legacy

. . . and in case you don’t know Castaneda, I’ll tell you a little about his work as I go along, for it was a great help in my search for the eye of the dragon. I will also be comparing it with other works that have also been helpful. I won’t delve into any of these works; that is unnecessary. I will just say that their main and recurring theme is our destructive egomania, and I’ll let my own experience illustrate. It behooves you to do your own research and confirm the damaging effects of the ego, for being the bane of humankind its study is worthy of our consideration. Consider this:

     In an article I once came across in a monthly magazine, I read about a six-year-old boy who died after breaking his neck under an extremely heavy load, too heavy for the child to carry. The article also said that he had been a slave all his life. The author knew this because archeologists are trained to read bones. And the child’s bones, together with other bones (a mass grave for slaves) had been found while excavating somewhere in New York City (of all places) to lay the foundation for a new building. His bones not only told this archeologist how he had died but also how he had lived. They told him that he had been overworked all his life, that he had been malnourished, that he probably never had a loving arm around him. His bones told him that that heavy load killed him at the tender age of six years old.

    Should I ever feel sorry for myself? But actually, a more pertinent question would be, should I ever be sorry for that little boy? For just like that little boy I am going to die, and although longer, my life might well end up being much more miserable than his was. For only by reducing my self-importance to the lowest can I claim to be different from his captors and murderers; there is such a thing as a collective responsibility, a social contract. We all endorse a social contract that thrives in egomania, an egomania that causes the suffering of humanity.

Carlos Castaneda is dead now, but his controversial legacy remains.

My Arcosanti Experience | Excerpt | Stalking Castaneda

Arcosanti

Arcosanti

This excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Eye of the Dragon, Stalking Castaneda is about my Arcosanti experience. I figure it will give the reader some perspective on “intentional communities.” Names have been changed and initials altered to protect identities. Here it is:

. . . September of 1999 found me on Interstate 40 (which parallels or overlays Route 66) heading to Arcosanti, Arizona, a small community founded by the famous architect Paolo Soleri. Arcosanti boasts to be the “City of the Future,” that is, a city that will grow upward—no urban sprawl. I had found the concept interesting, perhaps a solution to our pollution problems. I was also looking forward to try life in a rural intentional community, with a group of people who, supposedly, shared a common purpose and lived a full, vibrant life close to nature, conserving an ecological balance.

Responding to an email I had sent, they informed me that a full time landscaping position was available. I decided to try them. I planned to live there part of the year, and maybe travel part of the year; it would be my home base. During my first interview with KZ (the landscaping director) she said that my traveling plans agreed with Arcosanti.

 °  °  °

My first months in Arcosanti were fabulous. I loved the place with its rocky desert hills, cliffs, canyons, and impressive lightning storms—talk about roaring thunder. There were monthly concerts, and sometimes we danced in the auditorium. It was mandatory to complete a workshop of five weeks to become a permanent resident, and that was an educational endeavor. It was also fun! 

We helped in Arcosanti’s construction; we harvested the olives and worked on the vegetable gardens; we did the landscape; we welded and did woodwork; we worked in the kitchen. During our last week, we chose a field to specialize in: woodworking, welding, landscaping, cooking, or working at the foundry making the famous Soleri bells.

Consequently, I was surprised to hear from a stone that things would turn sour. It happened one day after work. I was out in the desert chaparral practicing the magical passes, when it occurred to me to talk to an interesting stone. I found a shady place behind some bushes, and gazed at the stone until my concentration was complete. 

The stone communicated! Three sides gave me visions of people engulfed by great anguish. The fourth side had a man  lying on the ground, perhaps dead. He had long hair and a long, unkempt beard.

The visions were graphic, but I couldn’t believe the stone. It had to be a mistake. Was it lying? Did I misinterpret? Five months later everything had changed. 

In a meeting in which I expressed my feelings of dissatisfaction toward a negligent and incompetent administration, I saw the distress, the anguish and the tears. All was revolving around the man with the beard and others like him, who shouldn’t have been there in the first place, for they were troubled individuals in need of professional help. And I remembered the stone!

The concept was interesting, but in practice Arcosanti was not delivering on its promise. I personally handed Mr. Soleri a copy of a letter I had sent to management regarding the matter; he never answered. He even avoided me once at the swimming pool, when our paths crossed as he was leaving. Obviously, our vote did not count.

Arcosanti was run by its founding members, and what they said was final. It was to be expected, after thirty years they had turned inflexible and possessive. Egomania was as prevalent in Arcosanti as it was anywhere else . . .

wrkshp199910031

The October 1999 workshop participants

From Top Left:James Reinhardt, Rio Guzman, Pliny Reynolds, Kelly Schenk

      From Bottom Left:Yu Miyamoto, Melissa Andrew, and Christopher Gidley

Amazon kindle 2; the next generation: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00154JDAItag=thenet-20

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