This is in response to the featured article “The somber side of Mexico’s celebrated ‘Hippy Trail.’”
After reading the article several times I was mystified at some of the conclusions the writer came up with. He starts the story about some yoga student (a red-haired man named Hari Simran Singh Khlsa no less) in Tepotzlan who falls off a cliff while hiking and concludes the man died searching for the “center of spirituality.” Well maybe. I guess we will never know.
Neil Cassady did not die in Guanajuato, he died outside of San Miguel de Allende. Minor mistake.
I have read several of Carlos Casteneda’s books and unless you really believe people can change shapes, fly and become animals, the book is fiction. I read the book as fiction. It is common for authors to collect quotes from other sources and use them in a book.
“Castaneda”s fabrications inflicted lasting damage on Huichol peoples.” Lasting damages? Please see what lasting damages is by consulting Spanish conquistadors circa 1600s.
The final few paragraphs was about some guy who was killed (?) by Huichol people because he took their picture. “The reputation of the tribe was unfairly tarnished by the news that two Huicholes were responsible for the murder ...” Was the guy murdered by the Huicholes or not? So are you blaming the victim here? I am sorry but killing is not justified for somebody taking your picture. Local customs should be respected but murder, even for the native people of Mexico is wrong.
“Yet despite this obsession with community and cooperation (nothing wrong with that), what really defined these explorers was their reckless individualism.”
“Reckless individualism?” Not sure what that is.
Let’s not be so harsh nor misconstrue why people come to Mexico. You bet some “hippies” came down to Mexico to get high (I rolled through in 1974) but the vast majority ... just passed through. I think Mexico is harmed more by folks who come only to Cabo and Cancun, drink too much beer and act the ugly American. Or politicians who label Mexicans as rapists and criminals.
Michael G McLaughlin