Winin’ doubt, know

Art has nothing to do with intellectual pursuit—it shouldn’t be in a university at all. Art should be practiced in gutters—pardon me, in attics.

Phillip Johnson Architect & Mischief Maker

Balloon Art

Walking along Alameda Creek I often meet interesting people. Bob noticing the “discarded ” balloons congregating in the San Francisco Bay along Alameda Creek , made a commitment to cleanup and assembled the balloons into a visual.

Balloons wandering free in the San Francisco Bay.

“There is trash and junk that are far too close to the fish and birds in the area.”

Personal stories told

The visual exhibit.

Alameda Creek

In the morning I usually do some floor exercises in front of the tv and often some version of Law and Order is on. Today the behavioral science professional was on the witness chair, and prosecuting showed evidence that his methodology was not scientific. The defense attorney then stated that “Just because the methodology was not acceptable does not mean the conclusions is wrong.”

lf that were so then why bother doing the experiment, save time and money by just writing out the conclusion and submitting. Forget data gathering and go right to data processing..

Philosophy influenced, perhaps gave birth to, Science and regarding “knowing,” Philosophy had two important concerns : What do we know and How do we know it,

What is the data and how did we get it? What are the conclusions and how did we get there? Actually its What did we do and what are the conclusions.based on the data. —the experiment comes before the conclusions.

In Science there those scientists who specialize in collecting data—methodology— and those who specialize in reviewing and drawing conclusions. from the data.

In Science there is a “standard,” the “Scientific Method,” which defines how to do the experiment, and how to draw and write observations and conclusions.

The “Scientific Method” was developed over centuries by discussions in Philosophy of knowing —What you know and how you know it are equal parts of the knowing process.

The standard is “set”, but not “set in stone.”

Its set ( and taught) so everyone scientist knows what is. and can check on it every once in a while, and, its not set in stone because Science is a process which may never complete, a goal of differentiating and defining every “thing” in the Universe. it seems it will always be learning and growing.

Science is not claiming an “ in and of itself truth” about the Universe and the things in it, but a “to the best of our knowledge,” where knowledge is measured by Did the scientist adhere to the Scientific Method.

If they did not, which may well occur, and mostly does occur, unintentionally and further investigation oftens lead to modification—advancements— in defining and measuring ”—of the Method itself.

The body of scientists is held together by the personal commitment of choice by individual scientists to the Scientific Method. Its an unwritten agreement among self declared individual scientists

There are professional organizations, big and small, and perhaps the main commonality is higher education levels and the more specialized jobs associated. But still scientists around this world are united by their personal commitment to the scientific method.

There are “amateur scientists,” sometimes you hear of discoveries in space, and individuals who collect data adhering to the Method (migration for example) but today science businesses are common as well as well funded university projects.

Still all of these people .who identify themselves as scientists agree to follow the Scientific Method, one part of which is to publish their experimental data for peer review. And they do it peacefully with a balance of rights and responsibilities.

Still, whether we can know the Universe, and all the “things that make it up” is a whole other question. Can we know the Universe only through our biological senses— Empirical data alone —or by our biological capabilities of the mind—Reason interpreting our sensual data.

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But happiness is being able to hope, however faintly, for happiness. So, at least, we must believe if we are to live in the world of today.

Osamu Dazai Japanese author 1909 – 1948

A couple from Mumbai visiting their son who live near by, while enjoying the splendors of Alameda Creek

If you’re ever down in Houston, 
Boy you better walk right
And you better not squabble, 
And you better not fight
Bason and Brock will arrest you, 
Payton and Boone will take you down
You can bet your bottom dollar, 
That you’re Sugar Land bound
Let the Midnight Special, 
Shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special, Shine the ever-lovin’ light on me.

Midnight Special lyrics by Ledbelly (Huddie Ledbetter)

Summer, 1971, Phillips church summer school

The story is that Ledbelly wrote this song while in prison. He got into a fight in a bar, killed someone and was sent to prison. Perhaps he wrote it, perhaps he heard it sung and improved on it

.Ledbelly claimed to have written lots of songs, who knows but he had a singular memory capability and tens if not hundreds of “folk songs” would have been lost if there had been no Leadbelly. The story tells that the warden was so impressed with his singing that he helped him get out of jail.
Ledbelly played the 12-string and Fannon Street tells of his younger days.

Summer, 1971, Phillips church summer school

1969 I made photographs of the Toledo Model Cities program. Ed Douthet (sorry if wrong spelling) in white shirt was training these young men in the Art of brick laying. I was still yet to leave Sociology. much less have a moving business, live in Maine, go to art school, work at a big printer and then move to SiliconValley to start a design business. Ed talked about brick laying as a public Art where design, skill and commitment pf the craftsman made people’s everyday lives better. Some of his words about the public responsibility of artisans doing “the trades” have been with me all my life, he was teaching his students that what they were learning was attached to a vision of how everyday experiences are better because of the visual quality of the work.

Leaving Strong, Maine, at the edge of the town, while driving I looked out the window, picked up the camera and shot, . circa 1971, fifty-one years ago, that makes them over 55 years old. Photographs are frozen moments connecting the past and the future.

In Filene’s, Washington Street, Boston, around 1971

Its cold in Maine

Avalokiteshavara —he who hears the sounds of people all over the world, and now that is the sound of one man, for his personal pleasure killing thousands of people as the world watches in horror as it happens, on prime time television..

Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Life of know life

One n’ either

At 76 years of age some days I might wonder what the world wold be if me and my camera had chosen to be the guardian of the Gate of the Past, that gate which always shines with glory . . .

Would .I have rejected the Bodhisattva He Who Observes the Sounds of the World

What sounds would I have missed hearing ?

Maybe the sound of people being friends. or just the sound of my own name.

Alameda Creek

Walking along Alameda Creek gives me a chance to be someone else than myself . . .

That self full of 76 years of life, even so I can still pretend I was not me. . . .

If only I had done that or had not done this. . .

Could I have been a different?

Would I have been a different person or the same person? Is my essence greater than my experience or would my experience have changed my essence?

Or does no matter what your life was . . .

The same person would have come through it all being me..

Everyday, or most every day, I walk along theAlameda Creek levee

Somehow the same places look different . . .

and the different places look the same.

Only to find that its me that has changed, and is changing, into my self.

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A moment in a small midwest town . . .

and a moment in a big city.

A family I remember from, over 50 years ago. They were my friends then, I hope their life was good., His father had been a preacher rural Missouri, he played a little piano and sometimes we would sing some of those old gospel songs.

My own mother,, at the time of this photo I was not sure if she knew who I was, maybe at the moment of the photo she did so today I can have the memory she did know who I was

That is one nice quality about words, you can make them mean whatever you want whenever you want—“
I mean, know words are still the same.

Some daze its easier, well maybe more fun anyway, to think of it all —my life— as just a bunch of designs dancing randomly through my memories. As I get older it seems easier to sort & shuffle these memories around, recall them in a different order, imagine I actually did them n that new order, where I knew things and then unlearned them rather than learning from making mistakes but maybe I would have just lost the things I wanted instead of only getting some of those things I wanted and not getting others,

What my camera feels like sandwiched between reality and my illusions.

Gate Gate paragate, parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Que duo? Company

Often I see photographs in the news media and images from movies, television and other forms of streaming visual information showing “people in the news,”.

Of course that is what they are, by definition,.

I like more simple moments,

A moment not intempted to be special . . .

No script, no director, no rehearsals, no make-up crew . .
siblings selling lemonade on lower Magazine Street about 1970.

when I see it —two people together on their road,—its “no simple highway.…”

And its for “your steps alone.”

lyrics (in quotes} from Ripple, Grateful Dead

Alameda Creek

The meaning of Shaka Buddha is an end to human suffering.

When Guatama Buddha was born to a family of wealth and military power., a sage told his father that he would be a leader who united India or a religious leader . His father rejected the latter, and for 29 years Siddartha lived in a (over) protective environment ..

One day being driven around the outside in his horse drawn carriage he encountered the four signs and learned human suffering, old age;, .sickness, and death, and last, a wandering religious beggar dressed in simple yellow clothes, was peaceful and calm with an inward joy. It is said that the horse who was reborn as a god.

Guatama left home to seek an end to human suffering.

So for some time I have wondered what is this human suffering that Shaka Buddha sought to end.?

I thought about the human expressions of human suffering I have experienced, whether myself or expressed to me by others .

Common, perhaps call it natural, condition of human suffering is one thing—everyone is suffering from the same thing—but many individual expressions, including my own, were often differing personal instances of feelings of unhappiness.

Dying of sickness or old age, these are not feelings, but “real,”

What is the human suffering Buddha worked so hard to end—is it just the cycle of life? Would not the end of the cycle of life and death simply be no more life? The end of the reincarnation cycle ?

But maybe Shaka Buddha meant just what he said.

At that time in India belief in reincarnation was popular . Reincarnation means a cycle of non ending birth&death and birth& death and birth& death. How to end the cycle of human suffering. I don’t know if Buddha was also referring to the more common personal expressions of human emotional suffering, maybe, maybe knot.

In spite of the really lonely times of suffering I .have had .in my life, I would do it again just for those few feeling good times . . .

“I’d give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday
Holding Bobby’s body next to mine”

Lyrics from Me and Bobby McGee Kris Kristofferson

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The beginning of the Lunar New Year, Year of the Tiger, marked by a Welcome Painting . . .

Painting by Janney

and oranges and incense at the temple.

Walking up Telegraph Hill from Columbus Ave.

Afternoon shadows in San Francisco

Afternoon sun from Telegraph Hill, I guess that would be Russian Hill in the background. .

Looking west from somewhere along Polk Street ..

Gate Gate paragate ,parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha

Four tell the past

“Little birdie, little birdie,
What makes your head so red.
You’ve a short time for to be here,
And a long time to be dead.”

traditional Appalachian song

Fifty years ago seems like along time ago:

Strong Maine , 1970

Leonard, Cambridge MA 1971

Japan Center, San Francisco, early 1990s

I have reached my definition of dementia —When I go to doctor with a problem, and the doctor tells me its because of my, age, it will not get better, and probable get worse as I age.

Arthritis

Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are part of the everyday life of of Tokyo residents, where people encounter them face to face as they go about their business. Here is one sandwiched in between office buildings with a grande view of an apartment building for their backyard landscape.Temples and shrines are designed for on-demand personal use.

Small among large, land ‘in Tokyo is very expensive and the zoning is very different,

The lush of San Francisco.

Alameda Creek

Individual people have five senses which enable a person to function in the universe. Living things, unlike rocks for example, are required to behave, to do something, to enable survival. Our senses give us information which enables survival.

We interact with the universe and differentiate one thing from another, Some things help us survive,, some do not and some things are dangerous. We use our senses to know and we can only know what we can sense.

We also have the ability to create tools to extend our senses,

While this does enable us to see things beyond the biological capabilities of our human senses, it does not enable us to know the things which might be “sensed” or “known” by other kinds of senses, not just smell, sight, sound, smell or taste. We cannot know what we don’t know.

We also have “mind” or “reason.” Through the process of human knowing we have knowledge—we know a bunch of “things” and we can use the mind/reason to relate them to each other using language.People use their senses to differentiate one thing from another and mind to give it a unique identity—a name.

In one sense the history of people is a history of always ”discovering new things, ” a history which brought a new meaning with the creation and development of writing, printing, and now digital, which makes information instantly accessible and enables a qualitatively new level of comparative analysis.

Sometimes new discoveries shed light —a thing is actually not a thing , but a bunch of different things. Air for the example, the (no) thing we used to differentiate things like a mountain from a tree, actually a bunch of small particles.

Things can have both a general and particular quality to them . We scan peak of horses in general,, a concept, yet each specific horse will never be the exact of the concept and it works well for communication and survival but there no such real horse as the concept of horse.

The camera is a tool to enable people to use light to record a moment of the past.

Still when people see the same photograph often they do not see the same thing

A photograph is a specific record, a particular situation of a thing, and not a general. yet people may still disagree on what they see when viewing the same photograph.

Sometimes its easier for people to agree on what is the general, an ”imaginary concept” of a thing; than on what is the particular, a specific ”Real” thing.

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a) People are naturally good; or,
b) People are naturally bad; or,
c) People are naturally good and bad.

”Naturally” refers to a quality of human life which by default is unchangeable, immutable. We all have it, its human nature, in our biology.

Consider even if each of us has the quality, can there be quantitative differences of that quality among individuals . . .

Such as compassion, cruelty, a mechanical sense, a talent, a way with people, an instinct, an intuition.

a) People are naturally good; or.
b) People are naturally bad; or.
c) People are naturally good and bad.

Choose one of a), b), or c) from above: —How might the societies be different?.

Marshall McLuhan tells the story of two women meeting on a sidewalk.One is pushing a baby in a carriage and the other says ,“What a beautiful baby,” and the other responds , “Oh, you should see the photograph.”

I don’t care if my photographs are fake or real, they are just about trying to forget my problems to make myself feel happy enough to get through the day.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate, bodhi svaha

Noing know thing

The chartreuse (or any off tint of green) knight

About six weeks ago a wrist pain developed.—to type ? it’s painful, or, its hunt & peck. A couple of days ago I got an MRI . . .

Sometimes I reflect on the last times I saw my father, a period of about 4 years,  while he was increasingly physically and mentally deteriorating, and while the various discomforts and pains in my own body get progressively worse mostly I reflect on the former.

Now, fifteen years later I find myself  going through similar physical entropy –a nice scientific term for it—I askwhy did I not talk to him about it a bit more, No, a lot more;

Its not so much whether I remember the specific situation correctly—as it happened—as much I understand the situation differently .

Alameda Creek

There is a rhythm to Alameda Creek or there is n’s one.

Weather, time of day, calendar days, work day or weekend, light or dark, all influence the number of people using the path.

Its generally, but not specifically , predictable

Why do people do the things they do? What else would we do?

What is stopping us from doing those things?

Nansen said, “The mind is not the Buddha; knowledge is not the Way.”
Case 34 Nansen’s No Way Mummonkan Blyth translation

The weather is fine, and the sun appears;
Rain falls and the earth becomes wet.
With exceeding kindness he explains everything,
But how few have faith in his words!

Ummon’s Verse Case 34 Nansen’s No Way Mummonkan Blyth translation

When I thought about losing the use of my hands or even one hand, I wondered if my father—one of his favorite child hood books was Facing Death by Horatio Alger— had ever had to face something like that.

But the answer is “Of course he did!!!”. . .

. . . because he/she is a human being.

Being Buddha means to escape the cycles of birth and rebirth?

 the Truth of suffering,
the Truth of the cause of suffering,
the Truth of the end of suffering, and
the Truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

Do Buddhists believe that awakening their Buddha inside will end their cycle of birth, death and rebirth?

Why are we separated from our Buddha hiding inside of us ?

Why are these kinds of “religious questions ” more important than understanding why some people behave in abusive ways towards others?

Only thank God men have done learned to forget quick what they ain’t brave enough to cure.”
from The Hamlet William Faulkner

Maybe religion works better to help individuals get though the crap that it does to get rid of it.

“I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours” (Bob Dylan said that).

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An old Zen story: If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.

Would you recognize Buddha if you passed one on the street?

That said, How many would recognize Muhammad or Jesus walking along the street?

Maybe only a small few would fail to recognize Krishna —the only original Blueman in the crowd,

A monk asked Base, “What is the Buddha?”
Baso answered, “Not mind, not Buddha.”

If you are a Buddhist,
if you practice Buddhism,
if you have the hope of awakening the Buddha inside of you,
When it happens how will you know its happening, or even that it happened?

The thing that always bothered me about reincarnation, was; if at the beginning there was enough “human material” to make “N” amount of humans, with the human population getting bigger, does reincarnation mean that each new human born has progressively less of the needed amount to be “like the original human”

ShakaBuddha was born as a bodhisattva, so it was written anyway.

How did he get so far ahead? He never tells us the real secret—or maybe I just cannot hear it.

The eye of know-eye,
the ear of know -ear,
the nose of know-nose;
the tongue of no-tongue,
the touch of know-touch.

I don’t think I’m going to make it this time around, maybe someone younger will . .

. . . or won’t..
Who knows!! Maybe this guy is a Buddha and I just cannot recognize it.

I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle-minded real live girl

from a popular song by The Mills Brothers

Maybe a wooden Buddha is better than than a real live one.

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha