"In 'Transcendence of the Ego', Sartre argues that when one turns
inward to examine one's own states one creates a new object, the ego,
that had previously not existed. For Sartre, there is no independent
subject of the classical kind, access to which is secured, as Descartes
believed, by introspection, an inspection of the mind. Consciousness
cannot know itself independent of its relation to things. Far from being
a privileged form of self-knowledge, introspection is for Sartre
"The hell with him, he thought bitterly. The hell with patriotism in
general. In the specific and the abstract. Birds of a feather, soldiers
and cops. Anti-intellectual and anti-Negro. Anti-everything except
beer, dogs, cars and guns."
"If you turn your skin, flesh and fat inside out just like you do a
sweater, you turn into a woman. You become a perfect woman, more real
than any woman out there... Womanly women, sewing women, office women,
anchor women---they are all fake. They are all men's women."
"Among these plants is the 'corpse vine' (AYAHUASCA), which produces
the curative hallucinations of the shaman who, in his spiritual
voyages, envisages the investiture of kinship in the forest, as when he
sees a forest tree as full of people. His soul travels beyond the
confines of the living and the dead into the generalized and
depersonalized worlds of the forest and the river, which have been
created and are maintained by 'owners' variously described as mothers, anacondas, and beautiful tall white foreigners.
Though the owners are usually indifferent to humans, they do inflict
sickness and death on those who must inevitably invade their domains to
survive---to hunt, fish, and farm. It is the shaman who must intervene,
paradoxically, by means of the very plant, ayahuasca, whose source of
power lies with the owners. He comes to see, as the spirits do, human
settlements in the depth of the river and the center of the forest. By
sharing the spirits' food and listening to their powerful songs, he
mediates between them and the Piro."
"Bill took out his guitar and began to sing country-and-western
songs. The music too was something of a revelation to me. Country music
when I was growing up in a redneck town seemed mostly about truckdriving
and reactionary Okies from Muskogee, and in the metropolis I moved to,
it never intruded itself much on my consciousness. My parents were
immigrants' kids, with no more relationship to the culture of the
American outback than to the landscape in which they raised us. I had
dismissed country as a syrupy retrograde stuff, but the songs Bill sang
had a wit and rancor that caught me by surprise."