THE FIRE FROM WITHIN by Carlos Castaneda


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Don Juan in his dotage, or (given the shadowy nature of the celebrated Yaqui mystagogue) Castaneda at his dullest: a flavorless rehash of familiar themes--the reality of ""energy fields"" (as opposed to fixed objects), the earth as a ""sentient being,"" the limitless possibilities of the liberated body--extended and distended with a kind of imaginary physics of transcendent reality. The simple dialogue, free of philosophical baggage, and the sometimes dramatic vision-questing that made the Ixtlan tetralogy such an appealing psychedelic pastoral have vanished with scarcely a trace. The latter-day Don Juan is preposterous, preachy, a bore: ""The new seers recommended that every effort should be made to eradicate self-importance. . . I have followed that recommendation, and much of my endeavors with you has been geared to show you that without self-importance we are invulnerable."" He drones on about ""the Eagle's emanations"" (the vibrations, or whatever they are, we perceive as the world), ""assemblage points"" (roughly, where your head is at), ""alignment"" (when emanations from man and nature coincide), and such. There are a few tired hallucinatory scenes (visions from a mirror placed in a running stream), as well as the obligatory ecstatic wipe-out (leap into ""the abyss""). All of the problems of the early Don Juan series--no politics, no real ethnology, habitual vagueness--with none of its saving graces.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster