Published by Editor in Castaneda and Don Juan
Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it–what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone. The new seers recommend that every effort should be made to eradicate self-importance from the lives of warriors. I followed that recommendation, and much of my effort with you has been aimed at showing you that without self-importance we are invulnerable.
Self-importance is not something simple and naive. On the one hand, it is the core of everything that is good in us, and on the other hand, the core of everything that is rotten. On one hand the conviction that you can be defeated by no one without your consent; and this is called humility, on the other hand, the illusion that you are better than other men and can rule over them. The latter makes you feel at times clever, at times at fault, at times the hero, at times the victim, and therein lies the origin of feeling offended. To get rid of the self-importance that is rotten requires a masterpiece of strategy and can take an entire life to accomplish. In order to follow the path of knowledge one has to be very imaginative.
In the path of knowledge nothing is as clear as we’d like it to be. Warriors fight self-importance as a matter of strategy, not principle. A great error is to understand this explanation in a moral sense. Although it seems to be in the moral sense, actually it is called impeccability. Impeccability is nothing else but the proper use of energy.
My statements have no inkling of morality. I’ve saved energy and that makes me impeccable. To understand this, you have to save enough energy yourself.
Warriors take strategic inventories. They list everything they do. Then they decide which of those things can be changed in order to allow themselves a respite, in terms of expending their energy. The strategic inventory covers only behavioral patterns that are not essential to our survival and well-being.
One of the first concerns of warriors is to free that energy in order to face the unknown with it. The action of rechanneling that energy is impeccability. The most effective strategy for rechanneling that energy consists of six elements that interplay with one another. Five of them are called the attributes of warriorship: control, discipline, forbearance, timing, and will. They pertain to the world of the warrior who is fighting to lose self-importance. The sixth element, which is perhaps the most important of all, pertains to the outside world and is called the petty tyrant. A petty tyrant is a tormentor—someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors or simply annoys them to distraction.