The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge Themes

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Attentiveness

The Teachings of Don Juan deals with the dynamic of apprenticeship, in which master teacher and protygy must exercise the highest degree of attentiveness. The teacher, Don Juan Matus, is the heir to a spiritual tradition going back generations. He must evaluate everyone he meets to see if he is capable of carrying on the tradition. In the case of Carlos Castaneda, who first appears to him as a rather brash academician seeking information about peyote, Matus must overlook eagerness and curiosity to discern whether he has the "backbone" to stand up to Mescalito, the anthropomorphic persona of peyote. If not, the fearsome entity will harm or even kill one or both of them. The same danger exists with the various "allies" to which Matus can introduce him in an effort to form him into a "man of learning." At each step...

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