The reality of Castenada...

Wed, 2 Mar 1994 17:48:42 -0500

>The controversy over Castaneda's PhD dissertation had NOTHING to do with
>plagiarism, but that he seemed to blur the distinction between his role of
>ethnographer and participant and did not clearly distinguish whether he, as
>author, was taking a culturally constructed reality as if it were objective
>reality. See The Don Juan Papers, Richard de Mille, for an extensive
>discussion of what is at issue with Castaneda's dissertation.
>D. Read

Ahem. D. Read, it may be the case that Don Juan is not a real
person, and there may be a whole bunch of events in the novels which never
took place. (I'm afraid I've never read the dissertation proper.) As far as
I can see, this seems to be the real problem most people have with
Castenada - a refusal to admit what parts in his book(s) never happened.
I have no doubt that he did some interesting shit in the Sonora
desert, and that "Don Juan" is probably an amalgam of some people he met,
and that he made up a lot of things in order to make the more general point
that you are condemning him for - reality is culturally constructed, and
Yaqui Indians may experience a "Separate Reality" from us.
But I see no reason to condemn him for "confusing a culturally
constructed reality" with "objective reality." If you consider yourself not
liable to make the same mistake, please explain to me why you (and not
Carlos or I) are gifted with this ability.


Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
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