Castaneda's writings in large part deal with ways of claiming one's own in terms of energy and free will from such a system. The battle is in large part internal. One must unmask and stand up to one's internal predator first. Otherwise one's external actions, even if well motivated, take place in the paradigm and mode of the predator. The internal predator can be extremely subtle. Still, it has some general recognizable characteristics: Castaneda puts it as follows:
'Why has this predator taken over in the fashion that you're describing, don Juan?' I asked. 'There must be a logical explanation.'
'There is an explanation,' don Juan replied, 'which is the simplest explanation in the world. They took over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. Just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops. Therefore, their food is always available to them.'
'Why not?' don Juan asked calmly. 'Why not? Because it infuriates you?'
'Yes, it infuriates me,' I retorted. 'Those claims are monstrous!'
'I want to appeal to your analytical mind, ' don Juan said. 'Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradiction between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behavior. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of beliefs, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal.'
'But how can they do this, don Juan?' I asked, somehow angered further by what he was saying. 'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?'
'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!' don Juan said, smiling. 'They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous maneuver - stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous maneuver from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now.'
Don Juan continues: 'I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its maneuver is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear.