It may confront, more clearly than the first three books, the final purpose of Don Juan’s painful teachings: a special case of the ancient desire to know, propitiate and, if possible, use the mysterious forces of the universe. In that pursuit, the splitting of the atom, the sin of Prometheus and Castaneda’s search for a “power spot” near Los Angeles can all be remotely linked. A good deal of the magic Don Juan works on Castaneda in the books (making Carlos believe his car has disappeared, for instance) sounds like the kind of fakir rope trickery that gurus think frivolous. Yet all in all. the books communicate a primal sense of power running through the world, arranging our perceptions of reality like so many iron filings in a huge magnetic field.


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