Wu Song, a character in Water Margin, liked to drink wine— bowls of wine, and sometimes the tavern keeper would bring an earthen ware jar of it to the table. The sign outside the roadhouse said “after three bowls do not cross the mountain” so Wu Song went in, drank 18 bowls, ate two catties of meat, and started up the mountain where he met the man-eating tiger and killed it with his bare hands.
Wu Song by Janney from Water Margin. Janney grew up with these Water Margin stories like we grew up with Le Morte D’Arthur.
What does it mean to know? to know some thing? to know something? I know what my shoes look like; I know how to start my car; I know what I like; I know how to dance the waltz; ; I know how to design; ; I know how to find my way home; I know to go to buy a used car; I know how to judge art skills—I may not like it but its well done or Its not well done but I like it and I know how to judge whether a person is honest or not. . .
Yasakune Jinja on a rainy fall morning
The list would be endless, often things we know can be broken down or combined into into multiple hierarchical parts with each one being counted as another thing we know—ad infinitum! Bothways!! Up or down!!
And without words, another complex multi-hierarchical set of things, each with its own set of rules, we could not communicate about it.
Things themselves can be hierarchically arranged from simple—a discrete thing— to complex, difficult to understand or even grasp. Into where is the universe expanding?? Think all the things and hierarchies of things, Gazillions of things all in their correct order that we need to know before we can even grasp that question. And yet people are so comfortable with that idea that its acceptable as the title of a popular on air tv show.
But to be Real for a society, any hierarchy needs to to start as single discreet commonly experienced thing, it needs a solid base to build on. Often when there is no solid base ofreal shared experience to stand on, Faith pops up to play a supporting role.
Some “things” we know while we do not know, we know the “meaning” of the word but its meaning—as they tell me about my old WordPress site code— “has been deprecated.” We all have a common understanding (however flaws) of what it means to live in a cave but very few people today have anything near that experience. Nothing associated with that “thing” is a part of The Common everyday experience.
We know things using our senses —see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, this is an empirical experience and as human beings, we share these same capabilities and have developed ways to measure that we use all the time.
Commonly we see the same colors, hear the same sounds, and so on. We can easily compare capabilities and variations of individuals.
If knowing is only sensing things then if we cannot experience them we do not know that they are there, even if they are there. Except we have reason . .
Another human method of knowing is Reason. The human body also includes a brain enabling people to think, to figure things out, to be creative, to behave with logic, call it Reason . .
which gives us ability to “figure things out”
The human body includes a brain, a mind, a connected central nervous system enabling people to organize—differentiate, define and make relatonships — sensory experiences, to think, to figure things out, to be creative, to behave with logic and reason, to have meaning.
Sweet rice dumpling with pork and peanut for a hiking taste treat in Coyote Hills.
But Reason needs sensory input, if people cannot experience they cannot Reason about the experience.
Science is based on sensory experience, if there are things we cannot experience they cannot be known to science. On the other hand science may “know” there is a thing without knowing what it is, such as “dark energy” or “dark matter” where science can measure some “thing” which when explained by accepted science results in a reason based conclusion that some other “thing” is there.
When scientists start looking for the thing, they find something new or a different explanation using accepted knowledge and scientific knowledge is expanded. Will science one know everything or will it always be finding new things only on closer inspection to find those things are made up of more things, a process which will go on for ever, not because of the nature things but because of the nature the process of human knowing, Or maybe AI will “fix that” by knowing things humans can never know.
In a sense science knows very little, but what it does know is good solid information that is practical for human beings while with faith you can know everything there is to know except one thing, the most important thing.
All day one decision after another . . .
and making some of those decisions are what you do for a living.
Individuals are so uniquely different and the threads which unite individuals into a society while being incredibly complex get most of us functioning on the same page. Still some people use those those minor differences to justify hate and killing others just for being human beings like themselves.
Or maybe it just is the nature of being human that there are some people who are so bad that it justifies killing, hate, war and scapegoating innocent people.
I will stand unbounded knowing outside at my door.
One thought on “Noh, know, no! free Wu Song”
Rather than knowing “everything “ I’ve finally realized that it’s an ability to figure out a lot of things that’s gotten me this far. And realizing there are more and more things that I can’t figure out. But, I know that I like that blue Curious George bicycle!