Archive | April 2022

The Wings of Perception: Castaneda, Blake, Gebser

For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern” — William Blake

“Unfolding the wings of perception” is a lovely phrase, I came across it in one of Castaneda’s books. This was essentially what Castaneda’s teacher, who he calls “don Juan”, was attempting to teach him and which don Juan described as “seeing“. We may say that this “seeing” is what Blake knew of when he wrote that “A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees”. It is the seeing of the Seer — a mode of perception that is direct and immediate, which is to say not mediated by the personal or “collective representations”. It is the mode referred to as “insight”.

What hinders us here? What are the impediments and obstacles to our “unfolding of the wings of perception”? It’s pretty clear that this unfolding (or “e-volution”) is also the reality of what Jean Gebser calls “diaphaneity” or “the transparency of the world” in his The Ever-Present Origin.

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