Published by Editor in Castaneda and Don Juan
The first attention, as I have said before, is the consciousness that every normal person has developed in order to deal with the daily world, it encompasses the awareness of the physical body.
The first attention is everything we are as average men. By virtue of such an absolute rule over our lives, the first attention is the most valuable asset that the average man has. Perhaps it is even our only asset.
Taking into account its true value, the new seers started a rigorous examination of the first attention through seeing. Their findings molded their vision on a global scale including that of their descendants, although many of them still do not comprehend what those seers actually saw.
The conclusions from the rigorous exams done by the new seers had little to do with reason or rationality, because in order to examine and explain the first attention, one must see it. Only seers can do that. But to examine what seers see in the first attention is essential. It allows the first attention the only opportunity it will ever have to realize its own workings.
In terms of what the seers see, the first attention is the glow of awareness developed to an ultra shine. But it is a glow fixed on the surface of the cocoon, so to speak. It is a glow that covers the known.
The inventory of the first attention
In examining the first attention, the new seers realized that all organic beings, except man, quiet down their agitated trapped emanations so that those emanations can align themselves with their matching ones outside. Human beings do not do that; instead, their first attention takes an inventory of the Eagle ‘s emanations inside their cocoons.
Human beings take notice of the emanations they have inside their cocoons, no other creatures do that. The moment the pressure from the emanations at large fixates the emanations inside, the first attention begins to watch itself. It notes everything about itself, or at least it tries to, in whatever aberrant ways it can. This is the process seers call taking an inventory.
I don’t mean to say that human beings choose to take an inventory, or that they can refuse to take it. To take an inventory is the Eagle ‘s command. What is subject to volition, however, is the manner in which the command is obeyed. Although I dislike calling the emanations commands, that is what they are: commands that no one can disobey. Yet the way out of obeying the commands is in obeying them.
In the case of the inventory of the first attention, seers take it, for they can’t disobey. But once they have taken it they throw it away. The Eagle doesn’t command us to worship our inventory; it commands us to take it, that’s all.
The emanations inside the cocoon of man are not quieted down for the purposes of matching them with those outside. This is evident after seeing what other creatures do. On quieting down, some of them actually merge themselves with the emanations at large and move with them. The seers can see, for example, the glow of the emanations from dung beetles expanding to an immense size.
But human beings quiet down their emanations and then reflect on them. The emanations focus on themselves. Human beings carry the command of taking an inventory to its logical extreme and disregard everything else. Once they are deeply involved in the inventory, two things may happen. They may ignore the impulses of the emanations at large, or they may use them in a very specialized way.
Human reason appears to a seer as an uncommonly homogenous opaque glow which rarely reacts. When one applies the necessary constant pressure on the emanations at large, a glow is seen which makes the oval shell stronger, but more broken.
Reason in the human species should be abundant, but in reality it is very rare. The majority of human beings have turned to self-absorption. All living beings have a degree of self-reflection in their awareness, to allow for interaction. But none, except for man’s first attention, has such a degree of self-absorption. Contrary to men of reason, who ignore the impulses of the emanations at large, self-absorbed individuals use every impulse and transform us all into a force to agitate the emanations trapped inside their cocoons.
Observing all of this, the seers came to one practical conclusion. They saw that the men of reason are destined to live longer, because, while ignoring the impulses of the emanations at large, they calm the natural agitation from the inside of their cocoons.
The self absorbed individuals, on the other hand, using the impulse from the emanations at large to create more agitation, shorten their lives. The first attention works alongside knowledge and very well with the unknown. It blocks it; it denies it so fiercely that, in the end, the unknown ceases to exist for the first attention. To make an inventory makes us invulnerable; and this is why the inventory came into existence.