Don Juan Genaro’s ultimate goal for Castaneda is the injunction: “Stop the world!” As Deleuze and Guattari will argue, “Stop! You’re making me tired! Experiment, don’t signify and interpret! Find your own places, territorialities, deterritorializations, regime, lines of flight!” (TP, p. 139). We are trapped in the symbolic order of civilization like flies in a Venus fly-trap unable to release ourselves from its clutches, we assume the language of reality is reality – that the structuration and organizing force of language that forges the links between thought and being is tied in a knot between concept and idea, linguistic sign and signification. Instead as Anders after D&G says of Castaneda’s apprenticeship to Don Juan: “The apprenticeship will belong to the post-signifying regime, which is authoritarian and passional. It is a regime of exodus from the despotic and paranoid signifying regime of signs.” (Anders, p. 7).
Another sorcerer’s apprentice William S. Burroughs gave us the notion that “language is a virus from outer space”. Burroughs adroit use of elegantly worded but simple seven word sentence, has the power to unlearn decades of cognitive conditioning about the nature of the world we live in. Our view of human reality is a social construction mediated only by the instability, the ambiguity, and the volatility of languages used to signify our perception of the world. Indeed, language is a virus from outer space. A virus operates autonomously, without human intervention. It attaches itself to a host and feeds off of it, growing and spreading from host to host. Language infects us; its power derives not from its straightforward ability to communicate or persuade but rather from this infectious nature, this power of bits of language to graft itself onto other bits of language, spreading and reproducing, using human beings as hosts.
Michael Serres in an interview with Johannes Wick would describe the parasite somewhat like Burroughs language virus: “Parasites are in operation everywhere—in production, in communication, in the transfer of knowledge and in every form of exchange and networking. We have to learn that parasitism is a normal condition. It is a question of accepting to a certain extent the destructive power of our “enemy” the parasites. The enemy has come to me because it found something interesting.This therefore means I have got something interesting on offer. Parasites are as a rule intelligent, and it is therefore worth waiting before one tries to fight them off, because then you might find out what they are all about. Every interference provides an opportunity to collect new information. This creates the possibility to form an intelligent alliance from which both can unexpectedly profit. By associating cleverly with the presence of my enemy—the parasite—I can discover something completely new.”