Knowar—ran, tea, & see

Last week The Washington Post ran a news article concerning a famous photograph by John Filo:

“On that afternoon in 1970, the world was just as riveted by an image that showed the life draining out of a young man on the ground, this one a black-and-white still photo.”
Washington Post April 19, 2021


“ Taken by student photographer John Filo, it captures Mary Ann’s raw grief and disbelief at the realization that the nation’s soldiers had just fired at its own children. The Kent State Pietà, as it’s sometimes called, is one of those rare photos that fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves and the world around us.”
Washington Post. April 19, 2021

The article reported how in the process of becoming famous the image had deeply affected the woman’s life—in 1990 Mary Anne was quoted  that the photograph had “really destroyed my life.”

“Everyone had a piece of me,” Mary Ann says. “And when everyone in the world thinks they know who you are, you don’t want to be who you are.”
Washington Post. April 19, 2021

All of this from a single fifty year old photograph! ! ! Still, I wonder how many people were so deeply affected by Picasso’s Guernica? or  Goya’s Third of May ?

My “not so famous” photo from Days of Rage, Chicago 1969..

Photographs have their own meanings, responsibilities, goals & ambitions, and collateral damage. And all the while there is always something in the photograph that the photographer did not anticipate.

Alameda Creek

Media audience expansion, its not only larger audiences for media but its geographically contained Global audiences electronically interconnected around the world with inexpensive smart phones connected to computers—the Earth is a saturated market, no unknown frontier, no where to go and hide, no new resources. Everyone in the world is increasingly connected in real time.

Winslow Homer was a Civil War news illustrator, compare his reporting work to photographs by Mathew Brady. . Paintings are powerful communicators, but perhaps what we see in photogrpahs is more similar to what most people saw in paintings for centuries before photography became what it is now.

With all its antiwar messages, photography plays a strategic role in military defense, and remember, during the Iraq attack there were news videos of bomb sighting and dropping—people watching the news showing planes sighting , dropping bombs, following the journey through to the the explosion.—hard to tell which was the news and which was the “rubber necking style” entertainment

During the 1960s TV news reporting on the Vietnam War included the daily “Body Count,” a basic graphic of words and numbers that were updated daily.

War is a major profitable business, whole industries produce weapons of war described as tools to “maintain peace through military readiness.”

Maybe war is just one part of being human,, its part of human nature, killing others is what people do and The Geneva Accords were just setting the formal rules for people to kill each other. Some say that each of us is so motivated by our personal wants and needs that we cannot control the destructive anti-social behavior of our natural self while others say it is the repression of individuals l natural drives tothe end of a common social behaviour which enables social solidarity that “alienates” individuals from their natural self.

People sometimes see a “realistic painting” and say, “It almost looks like a photograph” as it is some technical measurement of painting but usually when I hear the “photograph is almost like a painting” the meaning refers to an artistic quailty which does not look “real.”

The “thing” about a photograph is that somewhere the brain believes a photograph to be some kind of visual truth which a painting cannot have . . .

. . . perhaps because the photographic image is made by a “more truthful” machine technology—the camera— while the painting is made by a “less truthful tool” —the human hand? or is it the opposite? The universe created people to see itself, and people created photography to see the truth of themselves.

End Papers

The hands of Bruce Lee have reached far into the future..He has motivated many people on this Earth, not just in martialists but in their own personal goals.

My father, Sparks NV, 16 years ago, early one morning, experiencing advanced Alzheimer’s,—he turned out be more than I knew at the time.

Morris Bellis in his tire shop about 1970, Arlington MA,

On a day in San Francisco Marina district , maybe thirty five years ago, I am glad I did not earn my living doing this, but then again maybe he was a very successful musician who enjoyed busking in the streets on weekends, somehow the band seems a little unfitable for my kind of music.

Came through North Berkeley a few weeks ago, in the area of the old “DeathHouse, ” Black Oak Books and the original Pete’s Coffee, stopped to browse at Tibet Imports.

Esther taking a photograph of me.

Driving up College Ave, passed an antique store I used to visit years ago, the proprietor was sitting outside with a friend eating, glad to see he was still around, I did not stop. but wish I had.

Who am I to stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate slowly grind my life away?
Who am I?

Country Joe Who Am I? (song)

Relearn what we no

Thousand Character Poem

Winter comes and Summer has gone,
Harvesting is in Autumn and storage in Winter.
Saving in leap day of years and years ,
then add one more month time.
During Huangdi(Yellow Emperor)‘period,
Lulu was the musical tune which tuning 
Yin and Yang as the two opposing principles in nature .

Seal script brush and translation by Janney

From the 6th Century students in China were required to practice the Thousand Character Poem to learn the meaning and writing of Chinese characters—Hanzi, 漢字. Hanzi are the oldest known continuously used human writing system. Words which represent a “common reality” are necessary tools for survival. China developed a system where a common written language had different spoken languages—the written word, not the spoken word, was the shared (true) meaning. between people.

.Languages probably start with the spoken word and writing comes later. Words arise out of human experiences and social interaction..Where some cultures saw two things (or more) others saw one—one word or two words and no shared meaning.—how do you translate? Imagine having no word for body while having words for hand, ear, mouth, but no word for body means never to see body as a thing in itself and the handler, and mouth as unrelated.

How do you find common ground? As the Earth increasingly becomes a global culture these human differences will be consolidated , compromised, rearranged, disrupted and the new words made in the process will increasingly reflect a shared common global experience. That will happen because that is what happens when people are in an interactive group and while national boundaries, lines drawn in the sand and demagogues with tax payer funded armies will never stop it but like the will cause a lot of innocent deaths along the way.

China has over 3500 years of written history (Shang Dynasty) which is understandable today, thanks in part to those who practiced and today still practice the old ways of remind us, in a beautiful way, of why we have meaning.

NOTE: You will find many slightly different English translations of the Thousand Character Poems which speaks more to the difficulties of matching language to different cultural meanings. On earth increasingly here is no place to go hide, or call your own to be defended by killing others.

Alameda Creek

Are words less real than photographs. Both have a similar purpose as tools to represent “reality” in a way which communicates a shared and common reality relative to the discussion—Do words have the same meaning to everyone using them?

Do different cultural language systems break up the universe into the same categories? Do people from one culture have the same set of “things” associated with words that every other culture has? Imagine there is a finite set of “things” in the universe and all people have to do is create a word for each “thing” and because there is a set of discrete things, language should be made of words which represent the things,—people experience the universe the same and words just reflect the integrity and commonality of human experience .


Words can be spoken, written and expressed in sign language as human expressions which have common shared meanings. Perhaps “signing” and simple sounds came first, It seems logical that “primal sounds” and impulse “body movements” would develop & evolve into more definitive means of communication—Goodness how many tens of thousands od years does it take to evolve?

Based on that context, at some point we should have the same number of words for the same number of things in the universe . Words and writing are what link us together through history . But empirically we find quite an assortment of things and meanings between cultures.

George Santayana’s  statement. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  or these words of wisdom from the Snopes family —”Only thank God men have done learned how to forget quick what they ain’t brave enough to try to cure. (The Hamlet, Faulkner)

The ability to write words on a stable medium which could be passed on to future generation was a great accomplishment.for survival. It enables human beings to educate each other as well as respond to problems successfully.

When people first started it was all they (we) could do to survive. As years went on those behviours which were necessary for successful survival became “habits”, call them norms perhaps but they were the accepted behviours which created and daily create, the structure of society,

As people became better at doing these behaviours they became more successful, i.e. As people were able to find and later cultivate enough food for survival those (successful) behaviours became common.

As people got better at them they were able to produce the same amount of necessities with less effort, or perhaps more likely, they found themselves producing more resulting in a surplus, unemployment and people getting excited about and finding meaning increating new products.

Still along Alameda Creek about the same time every year the flowers bloom.

We all live on this Earth, in a universe of billions of stars and planets we know no other life forms like ourselves. Every peoples on this planet was & is successful in their efforts to survive and yet among this tiny miniscule population of intelligent life—a population which does not represent 1/gazillionth of the universe, there are so many who seek to kill each other in the name of cultural and racial purity. And even more bizarre, they cite their God, supposedly the God of this Universe, in their defense.

Odds & ends

For a book cover entitled Buddha Nature and Animality, a transcript of and maybe some discussion on, a conference of the same subject. I was at first reminded of Case I in Mumonkan. I guess I was under the impression that question had been settled centuries ago, and suggested using this image I made in Maine, a curious cat looking like a meditating Buddha.

A monk asked Jōshū,
“Does a dog have buddha nature, or not?”
Jōshū replied, “Mu!”

Mumonkan, Case I , Wumen Huikai (無門慧開), 13th Century CE

A couple of ideas that did not fly . .


And the final cover, not my favorite, even after 600 years an old question with an answer has been forgotten, making each of us relearn what we could have known.
Even though there was no comma in the title, I like it at three lines,

All dharmas have the nature of emptiness:
They are not born or destroyed,
not impure or pure
not complete or incomplete

from Heart Sutra

Knew words, know words and communal electronic anarchy

Hail, hail rock and roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock and roll
The beat of the drums, loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock and roll
The feelin’ is there, body and soul.

School Day Chuck Berry

Small particles can unite to create an illusion of reality. Photographs are small particles, assembled a certain way.. A medium such as paper is a part of the photograph, without it we could not visually experience the image.

What about digital images? Small particles can unite to create an illusion of reality on a computer screen. I have a pile of photographic prints, which weigh two pounds. How much does the same information weigh in digital form on my hard drive or in printed form on my computer screen? Maybe the screen on which the words are printed weighs more than a piece of paper.

Kokopelli on a wall in Oakland playing the flute that moves people to dream.This “dream” is not the ones that come at night while sleeping, but the ones that come riding on the wheels of the future.

Haight Ashbury sidewalk signs

Is there a limit to the emergence and development of culture? Say perhaps a geographical boundary relative to qualities of travel such as access to and speed. On earth there were a bunch of cultures that developed, some survived and we may never know those that failed. But we do know of cultures that rose and descended, leaving remains, both living and material.

Culture is a process generated by past human interaction—how people interact with each other generates a field of culture and like planets, stars, dark matter and dark energy generate a gravitational field to give structure to the universe, human interaction generates a field which gives a structure to human relationships.

That structure is conservative, behavior was successful and it seeks to keep doing the things that were successful. People want to eat so they repeat doing the same things which enabled them eat because—it works . . .

Until it doesn’t. And then they have to change their behavior or go extinct.

.People often feel emotions which make it hard to change their behavior even in times of crisis. Other times some people want to change while others do not . In times of food shortages, wealthy may resent the higher cost of food while feeling no need to change but non wealthy struggling to eat may feel an urgent need for a change.

Alameda Creek

Walking along Alameda Creek ’mos’ every day, its easy to get bored seeing the same things. If I don’t make up stuff to think about I will start thinking about my problems and then feeling sorry for myself and then getting angry at myself and miss out on the

Does a hard drive weigh more when its full of information, even when there is no space to store anymore information on it?

The answer is no, the digital information is stored on a medium which is a bunch of switches, and to store digital information new information is not added to the disc but its whether the gates on the disc , i.e. the matter— are open or closed. The gate on your fence does not weigh any more whether it is open or closed, on the other hand whether its open or closed may make a big difference to what gets in or out.

However, we the people, do not experience the information until it is printed on a medium such as paper or screen. Compare the weight of a page from a book and the same page printed on a computer screen, the latter probably weighs more than the former.

Ink on paper is different than light on a computer screen. The piece of paper has mass, its a piece of paper and when I take it over there. its no longer here.. The thing about paper is I have a copy and all I and (almost) anyone else need to read it—get the information— are eyes and some ligh,t both whether occur naturally as properties of being human in this universe.

Digital information is electronic impulses, not some “thing”, but electricity is a field where movement occurs between some “things‚ i.e. the “things” the mass of the storage is already there and does not change as the electricity just passes through—its free, no toll, just depends on the semi-part of the semi-conductor.

Last week E. Musk published a video of a chimpanzee using a chimp with computer “Neurolink” implants who learned to play pong and then after disconnecting the implants, the chimp would see the pong screen, think the movements and communicate with the pong digital hardware to achieve the correct response on the game screen— just by the chimp thinking the correct movement.

The “hope” is that people who are paralyzed may be able to use these implants to think and then perform movements.

“Human “Neurolink implants” will likely be available, its just a matter of time, though at 75 years of age, not a matter in my time.

And from where do you get the electricity? We humans generate our own electricity, we do not just tap into a natural source. —its got to be plugged in or wi-fi.Are you plugged in may come to have a whole new meaning.

Tesla thought electricity was available into atmosphere and all we had to do was figure out how to tap into it like the famous old time sci-fi Hollywood “actor” known as the “Tesla coil.”

Having your head buried into your smart phone seems to very be popular now, perhaps soon your phone will be implanted into your brain which can, or will, be online all the time. E email will be like telepathy. between two people, and imagine group online meetings.

End matter

What would all this mean for The Heat Sutra? Emptiness is form, form is emptiness.

Humans experience the universe through our five sense, not in words, but in the wordless sensual experiences which send information to our brain which gives them a word, a human created word with we use to communicate with each other. Each of our sensual experiences are unique however small the differences, but having a common word moves us to find common meaning of the experience, see this as “reality”. In the universe and enables to communicate with each other, an important tool for our survival as a species.

Perhaps if humans are “neuro-linked” and we share our unique wordless sensual experiences directly with each other, our unique experiences without words to mediate in between it could be sensual overload, psychological anarchy, perhaps like an LSD experience..

Mama don’low know fallin’ or standin’ here

The Thousand Character Classic, 千字文

The Thousand Character Classic, the last of the three great language books for Chinese school children written in the 6th century, includes 1,000 unique characters —no repetition—250 lines of Chinese characters written four across in four rhyming lines used by school children to learn a standard set of characters.

Sky is blue and black, the ground is yellow.
The universe is formed in a state of chaos and obscurity.
The sun is straighten and tilted,

The moon is waxes and wanes.
Stars filled the boundless sky.

A calligraphy of the Thousand Character Classic translation and brush in Seal Script by Janney.

San Francisco

Took the BART to San Francisco, first time since Covid 19., five weeks after vaccine #2,

The TransAmerica building, used to be the tallest building in San Francisco,

and on the escalator inside the Sales Force Bus Terminal complex , with the Sales Force building now the tallest building in San Francisco.

The public garden in the Sales Force complex.

Reflections in street windows are like constantly changing paintings. Are they more real than a painting?

Cannot imagine where this stair case goes or why it is there, its a long climb if you are just going from one building to another carrying something heavy to a different department.

“When did people commonly think the future would be different? Homo Sapiens have been here for over 200,000 years; “modern life is about 6000 years old,” about 3%. yet think how long it took for people to develop technology until, as a society they began to think of the possibility of a better life in the future because of human capabilities. Before, life would just be adapting “best as you can” to forces beyond our ken.

Practicing Social Distancing” along Market Street.

Everyday doing the same thing for tens of thousands of years doing the same thing, day in, day, Get up in the morning, move forward step by step maintaining in the same direction. For tens of centuries it must have looked like the future, the present and the past were the same.

And then at some point human technology gave people hope, not that they would get though this day, but that because of human technology tomorrow would be better,. Just don”t let ourself get lost if you don”t know how to find yourself.

Does it make any difference what our day is like, we have to live it, we have to have feelings, we have to be born and die. And through all of that we have to live with ourselves. But it is technology has given human beings hope for a better tomorrow, a raison d’etre inspite of the abuse of power An old bluegrass song comes to mind:

Little birdie, little birdie
Won’t you sing to me your song
Got a short time to stay here
And a long time to be gone

Wonder what these relief letters looked like when they were originally made.

If when I give the student one corner of the subject, he cannot find the other three for himself , I do not repeat my lesson.
Confucius (its an old quote, Confucius would say to please feel free to translate he as she. ed.)

Repairing the BART escalator or maybe they open the top every so often to give the guy who lives there a little fresh air.

Who is left to blame? Only the messenger who has no name that is not the same as everyone else who came.

Coyote Hills

Some places appear more friendly than others, a path made easy hints at a secret waiting the hiker around the corner . . .

and another path obviously appears difficult.

Alameda Creek

What would happen if there were no gravity and no temperature ? Of course we, you and I , would not be alive but being human we can imagine it.

Would every thing be falling down forever? or just stay fixed in one position forever. Forever and now would be the same, there would be no calendar , no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, nobody, no mind. But guess we have heard that one before.

End Papers

One man’s hands can’t tear a prison down
Two men’s hands can’t tear a prison down
But if two and two and fifty make a million
We’ll see that day come round
We’ll see that day come round.

One Man’s Hands, Pete Seeger

What is the sound when I am lost and calling out to find myself ?

That is why I need four hands, three cameras and two heads to get a real photograph.

Gate Gate, para gate, parasangate, Bodhisvaha