The Concept of Energy and Castaneda’s Assemblage Point
by A. C. George
I am using the esoteric model popularized by Carlos Castaneda as a springboard to explore the concept of energy. The model revolves around the notion of the assemblage point, and describes sorcery as its manipulation at will.
This seemingly hypothetical point that can be identified on the energy body, dictates what you perceive and therefore what you are. The idea is that all exists from Essence or Source, and that this existence is fostered via lines of force carrying the patterns to feed the medium of all that is. A human has a near infinite spectrum of options of being, but at the conscious physical level the options are severely limited. The entity accesses these options though a mobile center of focus. This is the assemblage point.
A given position of the assemblage point, therefore, corresponds to a bounded and specified spectrum of potential experiences, including responses and expressions of initiative. This spectrum includes thought patterns and physical dispositions. It is, furthermore, still a minute portion of the near- if not outright- infinite tapestry of existential experience available to that entity.
At the most directly accessible level, therefore, you can change your body habits, thought and behavior patterns within the range dictated by the current position of the assemblage point. You can do this by simply applying will power and directed action. Effect then follows cause in a more or less logical and linear manner, in accordance to the potentialities of the assemblage point itself. If the assemblage point emphasizes other variables that conflict with the intended changes changes then we find things either don’t change or events bring conditions back to where they were after a brief shift.
The assemblage point includes the world one inhabits as well as one’s own disposition. The lines of power that pass through the assemblage point involve all experience, inner and outer, from who one is to what world one inhabits. Simply put, the greater the shift in the assemblage point, the greater one’s existential experience alters. Castaneda promoted a threefold practice to activate the ability to manipulate the assemblage point: intent, stalking and dreaming. As this is my take on the matter, the definitions are also my own interpretation:
1) Intent is the Force of consciousness.
2) Stalking assesses one’s existential topography to identify where the assemblage point is, and what is around it. Then one targets a new position accordingly.
3) Altered States (Dreaming, Meditating etc) involve learning to regain fluidity of the assemblage point.
To move the assemblage point we require a measure commonly labeled energy, and without it there would be no force and hence no consciousness that is the cause of change. Energy is a term one finds liberally used in esoteric teachings of all types, but the actual meaning of the word is rarely specified, beyond interpreting the equivalent terms in other languages. If we can look at the term as it is defined scientifically and even mathematically, we can draw parallels with esoteric understanding and perhaps expand our occult model and its possibilities of application.
Let’s look at the notion as it is expressed in classical physics (Newtonian Mechanics). Energy is extrapolated from the meaning of force in physics. The esoteric parallel can be understood in terms of consciousness- as we defined intent in the list above. The comparison between esoteric and scientific meanings of force and energy is allegorical and useful for our esoteric application as mentioned. In classical mechanics, force is defined mathematically as the product of mass x acceleration. Mass is defined in physics as matter’s capacity for inertia, the response of the environment to the presence of the body in mention. Mass determines what it takes to counter the motion of an object, and how the object behaves when we apply acceleration and force. We often associate mass with the force of gravity, and confuse it with weight, but the definition involves any applied force. The esoteric parallel to mass is presence.
To get the esoteric parallel of acceleration, we break it down to its fundamental variable, that of distance or displacement. In terms of esoteric parallels, displacement translates to how much- qualitatively speaking- change has altered the conditions of the application of intent. Force is, therefore, the presence increased by a factor of the rate of acceleration of change that applied consciousness engenders. Without getting into the math, work as an esoteric parallel assesses the extent of change in terms of the intent in combination with the arena of application, or what actually was meant to change. Work is the measure of what the applied force does- in terms of the change it causes. To simplify, when an object is moving work and energy are one and the same. Thus the Energy of Change (Transformation Energy) is the same as the work involved to effect said transformation: the experienced initial intent multiplied by the extent of the arena of application. Thus the force applied amplifies its effect through the arena of transformation- represented by displacement in physics.
The above terms are non-quantifiable, so the mathematical parallels are meaningless if we cannot read them qualitatively. Addition and subtraction are meaningless since they only occur between quantities of the same measure rather than a synthesis of varying conceptions. Multiplication and division, however, the way different types of qualities come into synergy. We can look at the qualitative interpretation geometrically. The product of two variables can be viewed as a two dimensional array the variables as its corresponding dimensions. Thus, energy is an array of influence defined by force in one dimension and displacement in the other. We cannot speak of energy when there is no change in experience because of it, at least not in terms of the above model. Then the energy is in potential. That means the capacity for displacement exists, such as with an object on the edge of a cliff. If it tips and falls, the energy in potential becomes increasingly kinetic- the type previously discussed- as it accelerates falling, until it hits bottom.
From an esoteric perspective, potential energy is a sort of ground intention-state. As an applied force of intention on autopilot, it includes the fulfillment of basic needs so we may be sustained in our environment and during the course of our life. This does not refer to instincts, which are the way such needs are expressed. The needs are inherent in every living body, and in humans are rather more complex for a variety of reasons. We can call this Intrinsic Intention, noting that we are speaking of a state of relative mental health by the standards of modern society.
To extrapolate the esoteric parallel, potential energy is the measure defined by the response of the world to the entity’s capacity for change, when expanded by the inherent space possibility where an entity can engender change with minimal effort. Perhaps the physics conception would make this easier to understand. Potential energy in mechanics has to do with the capacity of a body to fall. Force must be applied in all directions for anything to move except one: down. If you are standing on something then gravity is acting on you, but you do not move because of it. If, however, you apply a horizontal force to move where a cliff ends, then downward motion commences converting potential energy to kinetic until you hit a lower ground. In parallel, the intentions that keep us alive stem from our very relation to our terrestrial environment its relation to us. If those relations are altered we can fall or slide until we reach a state of greater stabilization, but which would require much greater effort to induce change to a more desired and less limited state.
In Castaneda’s context, the more energy at your disposal, the more effective you are at intending the presence and power of essence into the shifting of your assemblage point. In terms of our discussion pertaining to physics, the energy stored is potential energy. The Intrinsic Intention we described results in an Intrinsic Energy that is variable over the probability landscape defined by one’s assemblage point.
These are just a few concepts examine via drawing allegorical parallels expand possibilities of meaning available in a given occult model. For the model to work, it needs to reflect in reality and be positively rooted in the potentials of the one applying it. It also needs to make sense to the user. Models are anything but arbitrary or convenient. They are the conceptual sieves that channel the energies and forces we have been discussing. They structure energy and reflect it into existential experience to shift it accordingly.
The concepts are full of implications. The allegorical parallels when punctuated by handles of experience are useful toward magical practice. Handles of experience are the states of awareness and of magical potency one embodies via internalized experiences that parallel the conceptions of the model. For example, what does it mean to experience presence? How does the force of intent vary in experience? How does on experience one’s existential topography? Can we focus with mind, breath, voice or movement to experience awareness that parallels the meanings of our model? In doing so we may have managed to map a territory toward the ability to change one’s reality state at will, and travel through times, places and states of being in a natural and deliberate grace.