Dragon Boat Festival
Danwu, Dragon Boat Festival, is on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar and has been observed for over 2000 years.
Chinese Dragon Boat by Janney
There are different stories concerning its origin, One more commonly known concerns the death of the poet and government minister Qu Yuan (e.340-278 BC) , ancient state of Chu during the Zhou dynasty. When the Zhou, in its decline, made alliance with the state of Qin, Qu was against it and banished him. Twenty-eight years later the Qin conquered that area and Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the river. He was popular and local citizens rushed out to their boats and tried to save him.There exist writings from the Zhou Dynasty, we have Iching, said to be written by King Wen while in prisoned during the last breaths of Shang, before establishing the Zhou.
Writing was an interesting invention. In English we have an alphabet of 26 letters use to make words we speak and sometimes we make up words using the letters which we do not speak, such as many drug names advertised on tv. .Using English the calligrapher has to control form to maintain a visual designed consistency from letter to letter—as if they were one typeface—to make a spoken word. Basically letters by themselves do not have a meaning-reference to “things” but to a sound which has has a defined meanng.If we do not know the word we can look it up in a dictionary.
Hanzi—Chinese characters—have a different situation. Its not just the sound, the character is an illustration, a graphic representation, of the meaning and refers to “things” and when writing, each character may both illustrate a thing and expose the feeling’s of the calligrapher about that thing.
Calligraphy poem for Chinese Dragon Boat Festival by Janney
Individuals experience the world through their five senses, most ( but not all) people have these common functioning senses with capabilities which may differ quantitatively but qualitatively we share these common experiences, it gives us a “common sense, ” a shared Reality that works with having a language.
I see some thing, you see some thing and we find our experience is similar enough to differentiate the “thing” from other “things,” and give it a name so in the future we can use the word to represent the thing without first checking with each other to see if we had a common experience about this thing, do we share the same meaning.
Meaningful communication with others— Its a survival tool of human beings.
Meaningful communication is not that we feel good about sharing with others, rather as individuals we are experiencing the universe and finding it to be a common experience—it enables us to function as a society and as a society we can successfully survive.
View culture , not as a ting, but as a process . People do things—behave— and they survive. Those things that they did, —the behaviour they did— enabled survival and they do them again, and survive and do them again and they become the way.
Human behaviour in a social setting i.e. a society, generates a culture field, and, like from gravity emerges a field which results in a structure of behaviour for big and small particles in the universe, out of the behavior of individuals emerges a structure of behaviour, a social structure,
The expression of this structure of behavior is the culture. Behaviours which worked are repeated because they work and its repetition which creates a social structure.
One thing about human behaviour in a social setting is that repeated behavours result in some individuals becoming more skilled in that behaviour.
None of these behavours were before “the start of humanity,” humans evolved, probably as science says, and those that got the survival behaviour right survived—Is this edible? Is it safe to sleep here? Once these survival behaviors are repeated (because they worked) they become common behaviours, i.e. part of culture. Once a society can survive the behaviors are commonly accepted and people in the culture find meaning in the behaviours.
Once a society can survive a structure of human behavour is formed,. If nothing were to change this structure might last for infinity. Culture is conservative in that it establishes a structure of behaviour based on past behaviour, not future behaviour.
But things change, weather and climate, pandemics, big rocks in the universe collide, these can all create new situations be1cpming the natural conditions for survival, and requiring behaviour changes. As mentioned before, when people do things repeatedly they get better at it.
A successful society may have developed tools for producing food and a structure of society is formed which includes a set of behaviours for distributing the food. As people get better at food producing, maybe tools get better, they have a food surplus in the present, but the cultural set of behaviours appropriate for distributing the food are based on the conditions of food scarcity in the past.This generates a conflict between the established behaviour based on scarcity and the new realty of surplus.
Some basic questions about knowing—People can sense (see) there is a food surplus but mentally they are socialized in the culture and will feel more comfortable behaving in the accepted traditional way. but some hungry people and some others, not hungry but with compassion, may want to change the traditional behaviour for their benefit while others may feel the traditional behavior is the should-do behavour—conflict may emerge naturally as society evolves.
You can sense this model in very early humans where it was day to day survival with very slow technical changes in food production and compare it to the present — in my life time of 75 years there are thousands of new words for new things and 30%-40% of eatable food is thrown out daily while about 815 milion people on earth are starving and many more surviving from malnutrition.
Hearts left at home
On the one hand we can only experience the universe through our senses, on the the other hand, if there are things outside of our senses how can we ever know them—through Reason? Can we use reason to discover truths about the nature of the world?
San Francisco will open this week
This was part of a discucssion between empircists and rationalists in philosphy. Descarte thought he could prove the existence of God and the immortality of the soul through reason, the rationalists, such as Hume thought we canonly discover (know) the universe through experience.
Cable car riding will be free for about a month, at Powell Street.
Kant suggest the Copernicus experience—For humans on Earth it looks like the sun revolves around the earth, but once we understand gravity, by reason we know the earth revolves around the sun, but it looks different to our visual experience.
The corner at Powell and California St with steep slopes on all four corners, blinking red lights , cable cars go up and down both streets, and may turn the corner leaving oad vehicles and pedestrians to figure out the correct protocol for getting through the intersection. Its not uncommon to see visitors to SanFrancisco just stand there for 10 minutes until they figure out they are the only person who decides .
Empiricism can never experience (know) any part of the universe independent of our biological senses yet our brain is part of our biology and it enables us to reason out reality. What is the “best practices” approach to using our senses and reason for knowing. Perhaps this is a question to which we will never have an answer but it is the scientific method which has been the most practical tool to combine experience and reason
Late afternoon a few blocks west of Stockton, slope down.
People are the universe looking at itself. Does the universe make judgements about itself, perhaps the is what evolution is? Are changes determined by what happened in the past?
If I could write a story like Dashiell Hammett something would happen at the yellow window of the grey house, maybe starring Ned Beaumont.
Is there a finite number of particles in the universe? Or no matter how micro or macro we get, will there always be more to discover? Could it be that people are not discovering these new particles but creating them inter process called discovery— a chicken & egg. process.
Destruction & Creation—Shiva’s role in the Universe was to destroy things to create new things. What kind of world is it that has more answers than questions?
Heart Sutra in my workroom and a painting by my grandfather Ray Naegele. For many years m grandfather worked at a bus manufacturing company, he ha a patent for designing a seat, In the 1940s his four sons joined the US Army, he lost his job, I know my father left school — Case Institute of Technology) for one year to help him financially. (The other sons might have done the same, or probably did something else to help also, I do not know.)
Gate Gate Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha
Heart Sutra brushed by Janney.