"I have to know about the double," I said.
"There's no way of knowing whether he's flesh and blood," don Juan said. "Because he is not as real as you. Genaro's double is as real as Genaro. Do you see what I mean?"
"But you have to admit, don Juan, that there must be a way to know."
"The double is the self; that explanation should suffice. If you would see, however, you'd know that there is a great difference between Genaro and his double. For a sorcerer who sees, the double is brighter."
After their laughter subsided, I asked don Genaro what a double did, or what a sorcerer did with the double. Don Juan answered. He said that the double had power, and that it was used to accomplish feats that would be unimaginable under ordinary terms.
"I've told you time and time again that the world is unfathomable," he said to me. "And so are we, and so is every being that exists in this world. It is impossible, therefore, to reason out the double. You've been allowed to witness it, though, and that should be more than enough."
"But there must be a way to talk about it," I said. "You yourself have told me that you explained your conversation with the deer in order to talk about it. Can't you do the same with the double?"
He was quiet for a moment. I pleaded with him. The anxiety I was experiencing was beyond anything I had ever gone through.
"Well, a sorcerer can double up," don Juan said. "That's all one can say."
"But is he aware that he is doubled?"
"Of course he's aware of it."
"Does he know that he is in two places at once?"
Both of them looked at me and then they exchanged a glance.
"Where is the other don Genaro?" I asked.
Don Genaro leaned towards me and stared into my eyes.
"I don't know," he said softly. "No sorcerer knows where his other is."
"Genaro is right," don Juan said. "A sorcerer has no notion that he is in two places at once. To be aware of that would be the equivalent of facing his double, and the sorcerer that finds himself face to face with himself is a dead sorcerer. That is the rule. That is the way power has set things up. No one knows why."
Don Juan explained that by the time a warrior had conquered dreaming and seeing and had developed a double, he must have also succeeded in erasing personal history, self-importance, and routines. He said that all the techniques which he had taught me and which I had considered to be empty talk were, in essence, means for removing the impracticality of having a double in the ordinary world, by making the self and the world fluid, and by placing them outside the bounds of prediction.
"A fluid warrior can no longer make the world chronological," don Juan explained. "And for him, the world and himself are no longer objects. He's a luminous being existing in a luminous world. The double is a simple affair for a sorcerer because he knows what he's doing. To take notes is a simple affair for you, but you still scare Genaro with your pencil."
"Can an outsider, looking at a sorcerer, see that he is in two places at once?" I asked don Juan.
"Certainly. That would be the only way to know it."
"But can't one logically assume that the sorcerer would also notice that he has been in two places?"
"Aha!" don Juan exclaimed. "For once you've got it right. A sorcerer may certainly notice afterwards that he has been in two places at once. But this is only bookkeeping and has no bearing on the fact that while he's acting he has no notion of his duality."
My mind boggled. I felt that if I did not keep on writing I would explode.
"Think of this," he went on. "The world doesn't yield to us directly; the description of the world stands in between. So, properly speaking, we are always one step removed and our experience of the world is always a recollection of the experience. We are perennially recollecting the instant that has just happened, just passed. We recollect, recollect, recollect."
He turned his hand over and over to give me the feeling of what he meant.
"If our entire experience of the world is recollection, then it's not so outlandish to conclude that a sorcerer can be in two places at once. This is not the case from the point of view of his own perception, because in order to experience the world, a sorcerer, like every other man, has to recollect the act he has just performed, the event he has just witnessed, the experience he has just lived. In his awareness there is only a single recollection. But for an outsider looking at the sorcerer it may appear as if the sorcerer is acting two different episodes at once. The sorcerer, however, recollects two separate single instants, because the glue of the description of time is no longer binding him."
"Is the double solid?" I asked don Juan after a long silence.
They looked at me.
"Does the double have corporealness?" I asked.
"Certainly," don Juan said. "Solidity, corporealness are memories. Therefore, like everything else we feel about the world, they are memories we accumulate. Memories of the description. You have the memory of my solidity, the same way you have the memory of communicating through words. Thus, you talked with a coyote and you feel me as being solid."
To be continued…