Boyd and the Toltecs
To say that I am excited is to vastly understate the case. Before
I went to Teotihuacan, I had been reading a book called
Boyd by Robert Coram. It's the story of Air Force colonel
John Boyd, the most innovative military thinker since Clausewitz.
I put Boyd aside to reread some of Don Miguel Ruiz'
material, and some of the Castaneda material on Toltec
sorcery. In the midst of that, I took a break and
finished Boyd. Then, yesterday, I reread my own edit of
the teaching materials in the first four Castaneda books, which I
call The Warrior's Way. Then, this morning I
started rereading Castaneda's The Wheel of Time.
In his commentary on his teacher, Don Juan Matus', teachings,
Castaneda explained that what Don Juan was really teaching was
a different cognitive system, a way of seeing energy, as
it moves and acts, directly.
And it hit me, this is what Boyd had learned to do on his own.
His energy-maneuverability theory, his Observation - Orientation
- Decision - Action (OODA) loops, and his amazing ability, in
spite of a personality which flew counter to all principles of
public relations, to navigate the halls of the Pentagon, and get
the entire military bureaucracy, completely arrayed against him,
to comply with his insights, were all examples of the fact that
this guy, this foul-mouthed, cigar-waving, dressed like the worst
sort of squarejohn clown, spitting in the face of generals and
secretaries of defense in his zeal to expound his ideas, had
somehow learned to SEE in the Toltec sense.
Which offers a fascinating field of cross-fertilization. Boyd's
ideas were what led to the tactics which permitted us to win in
Gulf War I and II, so easily, so quickly, and with such few
casualties. But because they were applied by rote, by people
who could not SEE, they were abandoned for the
occupation phase. This may also be because Boyd's ideas
incorporated those of Clausewitz, and Sun Tzu, but, so far as I
can tell, not those of Mao or Giap, which have direct bearing on
our current situation in Iraq.
This insight led to some further conclusions:
First, it illustrates the point that there is way too much
coincidence to be coincidence. There is no coincidence; there
is synchronicity. Boyd was sent to me by Don Gluck,
my very first company commander as a second lieutenant. Gluck is
a consummate warrior, but more than that, a brilliant and
empathetic man. Truthfully, if anyone else had sent this book, I
probably wouldn't have read it. I had to shove a lot of stuff out
of the way to read Boyd, and I had no objective reason to
do so. But the fact that it came in the midst of my submersion in
Toltec mysticism was synchronicity in deed.
Second, Boyd was hatching his ideas at the same time Castaneda
first brought the concepts of Toltec sorcery, as
anthropology, and later as personal experience, to a general
public. But there is no indication that Boyd himself was ever
aware of that. This seems to me at least a partial demonstration
of Teilhard de Chardin's idea of a noosphere, that there
is a kind of band or layer of collective thought above in the
atmosphere, that certain people, in states of heightened
awareness, can plug into.
Boyd was unaware of it, but in his aerial dogfights at the
Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, he practiced the Toltec
a) lose self importance,
Nothing else you can do in an aerial dogfight. And that frame of
mind, in aerial combat, allowed him to start to perceive the flow
of energy directly, and become Forty-second Boyd, the
man who could flame anybody in forty seconds.
b) erase personal history,
c) use death as an advisor, and
d) accept responsibility for your own acts.
Third, the Toltec stuff was never sorcery or
shamanism, it was science. Twenty-five hundred years
ago, it was science, the same science that constructed
Teotihuacan. During the long years of the Conquest, passed down
as an oral tradition, it was viewed by the Indians among whom it
was practiced as sorcery, but it has a firm foundation
in modern physics, as it is just beginning to be discovered
I don't know where these insights are leading, but, just for
openers, they provide a strong link between my old world, the
world of special operations – of warriors who actually
fight the war at hand, not the last one or the one before –
and my new one, the world of Toltec
sorcery, which I will henceforth think of as Toltec
Science. This leads me to a recommendation: that warriors who are
on the cutting edge of this thought put Castaneda's
The Wheel of Time and Miguel Ruiz' The Four
Agreements on their reading list, and that students of Toltec
wisdom put Robert Coram's Boyd on their reading lists.
And fourth, this also reinforces Don Miguel Ruiz' belief that
ink-blots of enlightenment are growing, spreading,
merging, and leading toward a world in which war is
irrelevant and obsolete. Boyd's ideas have already cut
casualty figures, at least for the good guys, by ninety
percent. Pursued to their logical conclusion, they may eventually
cut them to one-hundred percent for both sides.
Sounds damn good to me.
by Jim Morris
... who is a former Special Forces officer who retired of wounds;
the author of four novels and three non-fiction books, of which
the best known is his Vietnam memoir, War Story.