In our conversations, don Juan consistently used or referred to the phrase “man of knowledge,” but never explained what he meant by it. I asked him about it.

“A man of knowledge is one who has followed truthfully the hardships of learning,” he said. “A man who has, without rushing or without faltering, gone as far as he can in unraveling the secrets of power and knowledge.”

“Can anyone be a man of knowledge?”

“No, not anyone.”

“Then what must a man do to become a man of knowledge?”

“He must challenge and defeat his four natural enemies.

Anyone can try to become a man of knowledge; very few men actually succeed, but that is only natural. The enemies a man encounters on the path of learning to become a man of knowledge are truly formidable; most men succumb to them.”

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