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Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda, Henry Miller, reason, knowledge, terror, and the warrior

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas




I had to grow foul with knowledge, realize the futility of everything, smash everything, grow desperate, then humble, then sponge myself off the slate, as it were, in order to recover my authenticity. I had to arrive at the brink and then take a leap in the dark.”

Henry Miller



Jose Ortega Y Gasset explains this outlook, albeit from a different angle; he writes: “The man with the clear head is the man who frees himself from those 'fantastic' ideas and looks life in the face, realizes that everything is problematic, and feels himself lost. And this is the simple truth- that to live is to feel oneself lost... He who does not really feel himself lost, is without remission; that is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality.”

           Reality is a crazy mystery, and we ourselves are the crazy mystery, but instead of seeking erroneously for reason and sanity to it all, we simply need to shift about, grant ourselves the license to be absurd, implausible, indefinable, and rare. It is then that we can look upon ourselves as the inexplicable, privileged miracles that we truly are. It is then that the adventure begins.

This acceptance of such inextricable ‘lostness’ would lead Carlos Castaneda to confess: “I was not afraid but baffled. …The loopholes in my reason were so gigantic that either I had to repair them or I had to dispose of my reason altogether. …What I experienced at the moment of that realization was such an intense astonishment that all I could do was stare, stupefied.”

“Good, good” retorted don Juan to Castaneda, “I’ve told you that the true art of a warrior is to balance terror and wonder.”

            There is a point in life when all theories, ideas, proofs, and arguments fall irrevocably impotent, and the individual, determinedly bent hard upon comprehending his or her life in the implausible cosmos, will suddenly sense that none of what has been told to them about life is true; that Life, in fact, is not about understanding, but about living, and that the more we try to understand ...the less we live. For there is no wisdom in trying to understand what is not understandable. And there is less wisdom in imagining that one understands what one does not understand. And there is less wisdom still in retreating from the realization that we absolutely ‘do not know’, and shrinking back into a secure, limited lie, instead of accepting the confounding Enigma, and thus embracing life's majesty completely, because of the very fact that it is well beyond our limited comprehension. This is Life. Ours is the choice whether to obscure it with words, or worship it with wonder.


excerpted from:


way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra



THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

















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