While I was an anthropology grad student it was made very clear to me that Carlos Castaneda was undoubtedly a fraud as an ethnographer (see here), as Hickman alludes to, but his works are still suggestive of particular kinds of alt-potential in shamanistic modes of practice and experience. A certain range of post-nihilist praxis might welcome and deploy similar cognitive augmentation techniques as a means to disrupt habitual thought and open new waves of apprehension.
Hickman’s post here reminds us that synthetic experience as interface is still important. In the trendy rush to embrace the machinic Blur human existenz screams, recoils, and shifts eagerly to gain back our ethical attention. The possibility of agency remains open even if we would sell it to our future A.I overloads for a single moment of predictive truth.
One of the things of profound interest in Castaneda’s books, under the influence of drugs, or other things, and of a change of atmosphere, is precisely that they show how the Indian manages to combat the mechanisms of interpretation and instill in the disciple a presignifying semiotic, or even an asignifying diagram: Stop! You’re making […]