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Being Unknown


 As don Juan intended it, being unknown has to do with not allowing people to get a clear "fix" on you, among other things. The reason is that humans are powerful projectors and programmers, just by their belief systems. There have been experiments, for example, that go something like this and might illustrate the importance of being unknown.

Three identical rats are placed in three identical cages in a room where they can be observed by several humans over a long period of time - the humans have no direct personal contact with the rats, only observation at a distance. The humans are told that rat #1 is healthy and expected to live a long and happy life. Rat #2 is suffering from a genetic defect that will shorten her lifespan considerably. And Rat #3 suffers from a mental disorder that makes her aggressive and violent. Over the span of a few months, the rats begin to take on the attributes assigned to them by their human observers - even though the data itself is entirely false. In other words, the three rats are identical triplets, identical genetic make-up, and by all rights should be no different from one to the other. But when this experiment has been carried out in schools, laboratories, etc., the results are usually the same: Rat #2 dies within the first year or two of life. Rat #3 becomes aggressive to her handlers. And Rat #1 goes on to live a relatively normal life.

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Though there is no empirical data as to how this transference of thought energy occurs, there is no doubt that it does occur. Through what we know (or think we know) of others, we subtly program them through our own expectations.

When applied to the idea of being unknown, it stands to reason that the more people think they know of us, the more we are likely to become unwitting victims of their stray thought energy. If I make it known that I'm a staunch Republican, member of the PTA and Sunday School teacher at the local Baptist church, (I'm none of those things, btw) I am then "created" as that identity in the minds of those to whom I give this Knowledge. As a result, I am treated accordingly, and subtly programmed by those who know me to remain in that identity because it forms a point of reference for their own world assembly. So, to be known is to participate in a status quo. That isn't to say the warrior doesn't have and express her own ideas - only that one does so with the awareness that what others believe does have power.

The Salem witches weren't really witches, but it didn't save them from the consensual belief that they were.

The more people know of you, the more assumptions they will make, and the more you find yourself corralled into their idea of you, which probably has very little to do with who you really are. That's why "the fog" don Juan spoke of comes into play - it's the warrior's invisible shield that enables him to be IN the world without being OF the world.

Sometimes when I am at a show, working, I walk with a limp though there is nothing wrong with my leg. Sometimes when I am in a crowd of strangers, I might intentionally talk to myself as if I am in another world (that, of course, can really bug Wendy :-) Throughout my life, my mother insisted on believing I am Christian, so on the rare occasions when I would see her, I would wear a pentacle and a star of David, even though I am neither Wiccan nor Jewish.

It's really freeing to be something other than one's own personal history - to exist as a character in the eyes of others, so they cannot get a fix on the real person - a stalking maneuver that has proven to have incredible value.

The warrior isn't in the concealing fog, only behind it. When don Juan says not even you will know from which bush the rabbit will emerge next, it refers to the ability the warrior develops to be "fluid" in his own daily living. When I find myself in a situation that has the potential to become limiting, I never know which of my "characters" is going to emerge, but because all of them are impeccable warriors within mySelf, it really doesn't matter, since any of them are quite capable of "being unknown" in a dramatic or disappearing fashion, whichever is required at the time.

In being unknown, we flow from one illusion to another, while nonetheless maintaining the impeccable cohesion of the Self at the core.

March, 2003
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