Knott scene knorr her’d

Welcome to San Francisco!.

I “immigrated ’cross-country” to the Bay Area late 1979, drove from Boston, blessed to have friends back then and never lived in San Francisco.” I am a visitor with a senior pass for public transportation. First time to be officially welcomed with a beautiful smile.

Reminds me, what matter “Human Nature?” Whatever is “Human Nature” Theoretically it’s a quality of us all—we are all human and if it is “natural” for humans to have this quality, then we all (should) have it, And we cannot avoid or escape having it—we are by definition this quality.

If behaviour is human nature then we all do it, if the feeling is human nature then we all feel it .

What is it that is the “Human Nature? ” Is it the behaviour? Is it the feelings?

People can feel the same feeling and respond differently—some feel a hurt and anger and strike out violently hurting others and/or often hurting themselves, while others find, or develop ways to deal with the negative energy positively, or at least not negatively.

Perhaps its a wonder that in the history of human injustice, and human sadness, most people need so little reward to keep going.

Is there such a thing as “Human Nature?” We use the word regularly, that is just the way people are,

That’s life, What’s Life, a five cent magazine. I don’t have five cents, That’s Life.
A Great Depression (1930s) conversational parley. Life was a popular magazine featurnig phorographs

We would think that if something, such as behavour or feelings, are “Human Nature,” then we all do it or all feel it, to not do so would not to be a human being.

But we see such things as compassion, empathy, and remorse, often said to be “Human Nature.” are distributed along a quantitative continuum—some people have more than others. And then we have the category of “sociopath” which is m by definition, a person who has none of these qualities.

Often some groups of people identify their behavour as “natural” and the different behavour of others as “unnatural.”

Hetro- and homo sexuality for example—some will say that homosexuality is unnatural but if so, then why do people do it? Because they have fallen by the way? succumbed to the Devil? or more contemporary , brainwashed by the wrong political ideaology.

Alameda Creek

That’s the problem with the concept of “Human Nature.” We are both subject and object and cannot separate from ourselves. Why are some behaviours and some feelings natural yet not everyone does them. Are human beings naturally good? Naturally bad? A product of their experiences.?

Who defines “natural?” What is the standard ? If war is part of our nature, then we will always have war.If murdering people is part of our nature then we will always have murder. Society has some different “life openings” –social roles—for individuals , does a society, for its own survival, naturally generate a social structure which fills those roles with specific individuals?

Another way of looking at what is “natural” is to use the points  (a line) of  survival, the things we do are the things that enabled us to survive and are the things we should do now and in the future.—We know that these work because we are here.

These include every thing humans did through history, a cacophony of good and bad things. I wonder if both good and bad behavior are necessary to be present in a society to enable survival, are necessary for survival or just sufficient for survival?

Not the survival of an individual, people are social, live in a group, it is group survival but it is the individual’s behaviour which— the good and bad behavior—which generates the structure of society.

Perhaps for a society to survive there needs to be individuals who behave both good and bad behavior.Still if murdering people is very successful the society will cease to exist. Just enough so the the murderers can serve as an example of what not to do so keep enough people in line to keep the society surviving.

Its human nature to want to see others as bad or good, not just because it makes us feel better or as some people would have us, be afraid,

In order for there to be good people there must bad people. It is the presence of criminals that create law abiding citizens; and vice versa, compassionate people create non compassionate—the job of social outliers is to ensure the survival of the society of “normal” people.” by a social structure which needs living examples of not what to do in life.

Perhaps it is the society seeking its own survival at the expense of the individuals,—or perhaps some of the individuals— which shapes and directs the behaviors of all individuals to create the society, the social structure of human behavior..


What was interesting is that the vertical line of the mirror cuts through the image of the person ,i.e. the person is reflected in the mirror.

A blue tattoo, blue underwear and a blue mask.

I made this sketch from a series of circles in rows and columns, the beige background is the same color .. Something will come of this later, but its a long term effort and anticipates fun. .

Interesting with the blue background below.

I am across this map of Xinjiang dated 1759—shows the topography, cities, villages and roads with the military posts in the Xinjiang. Also shows the administrative system and local divisions of Xinjiang before the 24th year of Emperor Qianlong (1759).is my understanding that the name Xinjiang was not used until the next century generally the area was known (in China) as the Western Frontier.

This are has long been populated, and it was part of the silk road for many centuries. Uyghurs, longtime residents of the area, were not always muslim. This area was very wealthy, populated with peoples from all over Central Asia. and traders from Eastern China to the Mediterranean. Pre-muslim, the Uyghurs, had warm and cool relationships with Chinese, Dynasties perhaps beginning from the Han dynasty where they served with military leadership off and on through the Tang Dynasty. “Conversion” which was relatively late in their history involved one of the Mongol Khans invading and converting.while many others just left the area.


寒山;Hanshan (Cold Âountain) is a figure associated with a collection of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty in the Taoist and Chan tradition. No one knows who he was, when he lived and died, or whether he actually existed.

If another excels accept him
If he doesn’t excel don’t
If you excel there’s room for others
If you don”t there’s none for you
Loving the adept consoling the inept
a disciple of Goodness finds his place
I urge you to follow Tzu Chang’s motto
and ignore Po Shang’s advice

Han Shan The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain translated from Chinese by Red Pine

Know thing two no

One hundred years ago daily life was very different:

Bought out sugar by the hundred pounds, especially in preserving time, and I remember my father would send to Montgomery Ward (at that time they sold groceries) or Sears and Roebuck and buy a hundred pounds of rolled oats or hundred pounds of rice and a hundred pounds of prunes, and it’d come sacked up, get big sacks.

Lennie Hern, age 90, Decautur County, from Feeding our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers published May 1983

What is this world we live in now?

A society where our lives are working to get money to consume things—food, shelter, clothes, entertainment, medical care—and the making of those things we consume, as well as the cleaning up after we consume them, are destroying Earth..

Life on Earth is the whole of what people do, it is not what some people do while what other people do is not life. And money is an important part of it.

How do we understand money?

Money enables a sustainable society—a group of people— in which individuals can produce products which have different levels of demand by different individuals in the society over a period of time and everyone can get enough wealth to live, hopefully to live well enough so that violent change over the distribution of life’s basic needs is no needed—social cohesiveness.

In a society where trade and barter are the only production and distribution , the products in their market are very limited and most people can produce most of their needs by themselves.

As society develops people who produce coats have a different market demand than people who produce lettuce than those who produce cars and so on.. After the coat producer trades a coat to a farmer, it maybe years before the farmer needs another coat but the coat producer needs needs food on a short term regular basis.

The work of both, the tailer and the farmer, is represented by money which enables product exchange to happen and results in a more technologically advanced but more inter-dependent society where money is an important part of a stable society.

Alameda Creek

I try to walk daily along Alameda Creek, leaving my house I see my neighbors, stretch out a little and and listen to podcasts and think about “things,” — “Is there such a thing as “Human Nature”?.”

“Its human nature!!, thats why” Is there such a thing as “Human Nature”?

If there is such a “thing” What would it mean? That behavour defined as“ Human Nature” is caused, or determined—by a common Universal law that determines all human beings will behave in accordance with—We all do it!

Its a quality which is a part of every person, we would all have it and it would be expressed in our common behaviour.

Would we have the same amount of human nature or is it distributed among individuals on a continuum — some individuals might have more or less of it than others. John behaves with more compassionate than does Jill, Jill has more artistic talent than John.

Prhaps in the name of “learning” we apply interval level math to measure it — John is 6 1/2 inches taller than Jill who weights 54 pounds less than John. who lives 20 minutes further from work than does Jill. Or we could say, John is taller than Jill who weighs less than John and it takes him longer to drive to work.

As each person travels through Space-Time, their life is a unique path, perhaps comparing and then ranking the path of each individual using an independent standard makes it easier to objectify other people and miss out on the wonders of their lives.

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple, Grateful Dead

Each path is separate, no matter how often the pushback tells you its the same, uneventful path as so many others.

Human nature is embedded in our biological material existence, humans do not have sonar like bats; gills like fish; a nose like a dog, we have our own human nature.

On those clearly human qualities, such as the five senses,we find some people are naturally born without them—such as sight or hearing—and we refer to them with words which suggest “not a complete person”—yet wherever there is a a society of humans living there are some who are born blind and some who are born deaf ———where is the concept of common human nature now?

Or is it that “the qualities we associate with the definition of ‘Human Nature’ not only are distributed in varying degrees among individuals but in some individuals are actually not present— think of compassion, empathy and remorse.

We say: Its human nature to want more than you have; its human nature to cheat people when you can get away with it; its human nature to be lazy; When we say this we asset that all people are thus driven to behave badly by the very condition of of being human.And when we make that judgement we come to the “obvious conclusion ” that the purpose of law in a society is prevent people from doing bad.

But humans did not start out with the ability to know this, they only got there after doing a lot of really bad things to others along the way, inhumane stuff, like killing others and stealing property and making law and order as a tool l to defend from others what the group in power stole in the first place,. This is why law without justice for the past is always just more of the problem.


For a period of time the Fogg exhibited three small, same-size, Rembrandt paintings at the same time right next to each other, head shots of himself, his father and Christ, and while they were hanging oI often stopped in to see them—The Fogg was free then but that was over 40 years ago, there may be entrance fees now.

Man is part of Nature. Therefore human creativity is part of Nature’s productivity. In Man, Nature has arrived at self-awareness.
Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854)

We are what we look like, by definition anyway —”I see you coming down the street,or I recognize you in the photograph.

We all know, its common knowledge, its common sense, there is more to our self but its not immediately known solely by being seen.

In popular media such as film and TV, for actors their “physical self” is the stock and trade, or at least the pass to getting in the door for the next job..

How can we not know ourselves? . . . might as well ask . . .

How can we knot no ourselves?

Sometimes it was too mis-leading to get my heard around it . .

Like an epiphany which increasingly mismanages me daily.

I was like a shadow always looking for new ways to see things,

That’s how I got here in the last and first place.

Embed yourself in your own nature and your own tailwind will seek you out.

Brush painting by Janney

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhisvaha

Whening is not the ending of zenning

The Qixi Festival (Chinese 七夕)

The Quxi Festival, celebrated for over 2600 years, on the seventh day of the seventh lunisolar month on the Chinese calendar (about now) celebrates the yearly meeting of Altair and Vega.The Chinese story is about two lovers, the weaver girl Zhinü (Vega) and the cowherd, Niulang  (Altair). Niulang was very poor and homeless, deserted by his family, met the beautiful Fairy Zhinü, on her visit to earth they fell in love, and against the wishes of Heaven she stayed, they married against the rules, their punishment was to be separated forever by a Silver River (the Milky Way). Altair built a bridge of magpies over the Silver River.and the Emperor of Heaven was so moved by their love they were allowed to meet once a year.

.Brush drawing by Janney for Quxi festival. Could be lovers in Albuquerque ballooning along the Sandia Mountains

The time of meeting is now, watch for the Summer Triangle

San Francisco

Sometimes words are too abstract. Its not that people do not understand the meanings of words, rather at The Beginning, there was never A Dictionary, people made sounds into words into languages while they were busy surviving.

Words have a structural social nature, they work with each other, they fit together in sentences to enable communication between people. Words represent the things in the human experience. They are used as symbols for those things but they are not those things.

Knowing how to say, or write the word does not mean one understands the meaning of the word.

Human beings lived in different places around the earth and developed different languages with different words.

If words represent things in the human experience and humans experience the universe similarly, then do different languages have different words which represent the same things.—after all if there is a set of things, we should have words for those things .Can we take different languages, list them side by side and find words which have a meaning-match, where translating is just a mater of knowing what word from your language matches—or represents— the same thing,

For many words this works but for many other words, for different reasons, it is not a simple process of matching words until its all done, Translation of poetry may be a choice between the “literal meaning” or the “feeling meaning.”

The corners of California and Powell are a favorite place, Both streets are steep inclines, there are blinking red lights and both streeta have cable cars not just running on them but also making a turn. People at all levels, pedestrians and drivers, are confused, lack confidence and are hesitant to go through the intersection. Imagine an out of town car driver stopped on a steep hill looking at the four blinking red lights on each corner, hesitant to move while behind is a SF regular in a large delivery truck honking the horn and the pedestrians are standing around waiting for a “walk” sign that never appears.The intersection of America.

Do these differences represent different experiences ? Is there a “Real standard set of things” out there for people—for scientists—to discover, differentiate and define?
Produce store along Stockton Street

Alameda Creek

Covid restricted my travel and the Alameda Creek Trail, with levee, runs right by my (baby’s) door, As I like to walk everyday I often find myself on the trail. My photographs always have more questions than answers but they would never be evidence in a court of law.

Is there an actual standard set of “things” in the universe and oneday well people be able to differentiate each thing one from another and give them all a name.

There are many problems in knowing but what makes this work for human beings is that we all have a standard set of senses—sight, sound, taste, touch and smell and once we have words, we can compare our experiences and test if this experience is really deserving of the title “thing.”

Factors that makes it difficult is that societies —I use the word society here to mean a group of people theoretically defined as culture bound—have different historical experiences resulting in things which maybe completely or partially different.

For example different societies just by living in different geographical locations on the Earth may different different tools created to work in different places.

Levels of knowledge can play a part. Cultivated plants which for thousand of years appeared physically different from one society to another when, much later, investigated by science find them be like biological siblings.

The big “nothing, ” —air—which humans for millenniums used to separate one “thing from another thing” turns out also to be a bunch of things, small particles we cannot see.s

Consider all the new words in our society just since my life time of 76 years. Ae these all new things, created by people, words which never before existed?

When the term “Super Bowl” came out , I thought is was satirical joke, When young I played sports, enjoyed it— and have exercised most of my life— I do 3-4 miles miles every day along the creek—but I do not desire to sit around watching other people play, and other people become a bunch of partying fans— so for about 10 years I thought when people used the term Super Bowl that they were making a satirical joke about the irrational obsession many Americans had for football.—Shows you how removed I can be from pop culture.

Technically in the universe the amount of matter is constant— The law of conservation of mass states that mass in an isolated system is neither created nor destroyed by chemical reactions or physical transformations. Maybe the universe is an isolated system but then isolated from what?

So technically concerning the universe if we could agree on—discover?— the “smallest of all fundamental particles” and that the number of these particles would be a constant then there would be a finite number of different ways the finite number of smallest particles could join together. This is, for me anyway, no matter how small we look, we always find something smaller and no matter how big we look the universe is always the biggest, yet it keeps getting expanding —is the number of smallest particles particles in the Universe a constant that keeps getting bigger.


This was along Alameda Creek trail but it does not fit the previous section, call it a “feet picture”, just a big concrete block concrete left there by some construction crew doing a government project—First Amendment rights? freedom of expression in a public place ?.Think of it as a pre-historic wall in a cave.

Maybe 15 years ago, a hot summer night in Reno —ever feel lucky? I did this morning.

Windows to the worlds, a corner is a turning point

but it only leads to another corner, and another corner, always going around and around rectangle. You can see through me but I don”t go anywhere.

If you look for me I am like Buddha holding the flower for Kasyapa. when you smile at me, I am the one that smiles back.

Which is why when I wake up in the morning I see The Heat Sutra.on my wall, it keeps my mind from getting too uncluttered from all this useful information.

Gate Gate Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha.

Noh, know, no! free Wu Song

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.

A lee, a nay shun

I ain’t got no home, I’m just a-roamin’ ’round,
Just a wandrin’ worker, I go from town to town.
And the police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.
WW Guthrie

A few centuries ago in western philosophy there was discussion on the “natural human state of being, ” wondering if “original simpler societies” had social structures which reflected this natural human behaviour had more social solidarity than modern society and that the perhaps the problems in modern society resulted from changes in behaviour caused by individuals adapting their “natural behavior” to the requirements of maintaining social solidarity in modern society.

It was not new then, this idea has been around for longtime

Think of Genesis—God created man and woman, Eden was their natural state of being, and it was perfect. Later in anger God kicked them out of Eden and what we call “our life” is God’s punishment for disobeying “him”, but if we truly believe during our life then God will let us into heaven, i.e. back to the “human natural state of being,” a perfect life.

As Sociology emerged the concept of culture being an “unexplainable consistency” resulting in “common human behaviour,”—i.e a social stability— was causally connected to people doing the “common behavour”—socialization— and there developed the idea that individuals could change, or could be made to change, their behavior by controlling their behavior, whether through social authoritarianism, individual disciplined efforts, or some combination of the two.

The theme was that the process of culture —not the expressions of culture—resulted in individuals internally repressing their natural being for social solidarity which intern prevented them from having the ability to take control of their own life.

What is the “natural state” of human beings? We do not really know, still many people just believe it was better, even though they usually cannot agree on what it was. We get a little scientific information from archeology and anthropology which clearly suggests that it was not better—based on today’s materialistic common values, yet how could we tell if there was more happiness, more satisfaction, more meaning. painting by Janney

The theme is that “original people” lived in their natural state of being in which they had control over their own destinies and that the needs of modern society separated individuals from this natural state of being, it alienated individuals from their personal ability to determine their own life.

Contemporary alienation is based on the notion that culture is a unifying process to control human behaviour with the goal of “social solidarity which results in survival (as people). This process of culture while resulting in “social solidarity” functions using repression of natural individual behaviour in favor of behavior which increases social survival.

In traditional societies most people behaved very similarly, there was little “cultural adjustment pressure” but in modern societies there is an increased diversity of individual behaviors, especially in the division of labour, i.e. jobs. People have many different kinds of roles such as occupation, social groups, consumer and with a satisfied large middle class everything seems to run smoothly.

Culture works to maximize social solidarity and in modern society with its increasing diversity in behaviour conflicts with culture, when culture “dominates” the result is individuals repressing internally who they are naturally. The basic theme is “individuals are alienated from their natural being for social solidarity.”

man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”

Rousseau thought people were naturally good and society compromised this natural goodness for social solidarity;

Hegel thought there was an original universal “ human spirit” which united subject and object as one that was here before the material conditions but modern society separated them. Using human reason individuals could overcome and reunite them —sounds like the story of Genesis with Adam and Eve separated from Eden;

Freud saw sexuality as a “natural” part of being human, the process of socialization used sexual repression within individuals to create social unity which screwed people up, but individuals through therapy could realize themselves by overcoming the sexual repression;

I like Japanese design, below is a poster with a lot of very literal information yet on first look the viewer grasps everything and enjoys doing it.

Marx saw history as a natural class conflict expressed by the material contradictions of the mode of production, with resolving these contradictions in capitalism as the final obstacle in reaching a utopian society for everyone. The material contradictions alienated individuals who work from their ability to benefit from their work.
Poster in Cambridge MA,about 1970

In each of these theories people are alienated from their “natural being” for social solidarity. For some this alienation was a problem to be solved by the individual, for others it meant changing the structure of society. But consistent is that this “alienation” is a property of modern society and it would be a good idea to resolve it.

Life is a continuing bunch of problems but the question raised here is how much power do individuals have to define these problems and create solutions in their own interests. Is the lack of that personal power a measure of their alienation or their lack of personal capabilities.

Maybe that cannot be helped, it seems that the garbage of bad things just keeps growing bigger while the Earth gets smaller and it threatens to destroy the whole planet unless we find a way to bring a workable economic and social justice along with prosperity.

The big surprise? Buddhism fits too. Every sentient being has a sleeping buddha inside of them, but society prevents, i.e. alienates, them from realizing their Buddha. If you practice “correct” behavior you will awaken the Buddha within you.”

Question? “Is being a Buddha a “utopia”?, . . “perfect enlightenment?” . . . “at one with the universe?” “Will I no longer feel unhappy?”

Bodhidharma said “Buddhas don’t do good, Buddhas don’t do bad.”

Hagi is very porous and with use is always changing color, this chawan was made by the son of a potter who founded his kiln in the 1890’s. I also have one by his son.

I guess posting on my blog counts me as a poster.
Poster in Cambridge MA,about 1970