Carlos Castaneda – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Back in the mid-to-late-70s, I was in a deep philosophical search for meaning. I was trying to figure out the difference between the physical world and the metaphysical one. In that search I read a lot of books, both religious texts, and philosophical ones. Somewhere in my path from J.D. Salinger, through Robert Pirsig and Herman Hesse, I encountered the bizarre “teachings” of a guy named “Carlos Casteneda.” Carlos wrote about the indigenous “sorcery” of the Native American cultures of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.

By the time I encountered him, he had written four books (the list is on the Wiki link above) and his “Tales of Power” was currently all the rage in the “trendy” metaphysical circles.

It was in part through reading Carlos’s books that I developed a significant portion of my skepticism for all things metaphysical. The factual errors alone in the books were glaring to me, and the inability of the books to reconcile against each other seemed to scream out to me that the books were simply fiction. But the books had, and still have, a strong following among the pseudo-cogniscenti who read and follow such things. The allure of this “alternate reality” that Casteneda pushed is undeniable. At one point his fame was such that he was on the cover of Time magazine…