"Ironically, the material warns the reader of the possibility of becoming a,"canidate for the madhouse," but who would take that seriously"
Many people would read 'this will make you a candidate for the madhouse' and take it as a dare
Someone offering you a seat at a game played with marked cards will find a way to make this set up look like a grand adventure, not a rip off. They'll make it seem that anyone who refuses to sit down to the marked card game is too much of a weenie to be worthy of the challenge.
They'd read it and think, 'I'm different. I'm strong enough that I wont be someone who will be weak enough to go nuts.'
(In a real challenge, you have a 50-50 % chance of winning. In a rip off, which a game of marked cards is, you have maybe zero to 10% chance of winning. The odds are super heavily stacked in favor of the creep with the marked deck.)
Loggerhead, you're not the only one. A lot of people get seduced by Castaneda literature. They've never met the guy in person but what they get enchanted by is a fictional persona--a false mask crafted by the writer--in this case, the kind of writer who leads you into a maze with no exit.
If you want a very instructive contrast, go to www.sustainedaction.org the website for people who were in the Castaneda maze.
Then you can go to the sustained reaction forum and look at the legions of people who
never met the creep, but who think he was real and they think they know him better than the people who lived with him and were abused by him.
Thats what I mean about seduction by a book and seduction by a fictionalized persona.
Folks like this tend to emphasize secrecy, danger, specialness and power. They make it seem that being an ordinary person is a shameful and horrible thing. It isnt.
Note in his book, in Search of the Miraculous, Ouspenksy wrote of how he did Gurdjieffs self remembering exercises then one day woke up and realized he'd done a bunch of errands that day and had no recollection. He felt this was an awakening to the nature of consciousness.
My guess is doing the self remembering exercise caused Ouspensky's conscious awareness to split off and dissociate, and generated a several hours long episode of dissociative amnesia--a trance state that can be very disabling.
That to me indicates that those self remembering exercises, even when taught by Gurdjieff himself, were not safe to do, and could fracture consciousness, not bring it deeper.