Another 4th of July about 1973. While camping in Maine a grandfather pulled in, parked the car and the grandson came out shooting. just a toy gun.
“ I wrote me a song ’bout the white winged dove And a toy gun for Christmas in place of love. I hear the children yell with their hands on a gun I’m better than you are ’cause I got one… My playmates respect me, my Mommy does too Cause she bought it for me to shoot whenever I choose. Sometimes I wish this gun it was real But I can pretend that it’s made out of steel. Bullets and powder and a trigger to pull. Then I’d be grown-up like the rest of the world..”
a few lyrics from the song White Winged Dove written by Mark Spoelstra
A door in Shibuya, spring, 2008, The english works well to effect a common feeling.—this must be what some clothes designers might feel.
Sengai, a Japanese priest and calligrapher (b 1750, d. October, 1837). This is the cover of a catalog /book about an exhibition at the Japanese Cultural Festival inOakland CA , April and May, 1956. One his famous drawings, the book notes: “Possibly Sengai’s conception of the universe.”
Chicago, fall, 1969, a rainy mid afternoon, “groovy” was a popular term people spoke then,
California and Powell (San Francisco), the former starts from around water level and runs to the top of Nob Hill and the latter runs from Market up hill to California, levels at road width out here and starts down to the bay. Every corner is a steep hill,
Traffic control is four blinking red lights, Cable cars run up and down California t and Powell, Pedestrians and drivers, not familiar with this intersection come to the red light, stop and do not know what to do next. Pedestrians, probably visitors mostly, often just stand there for awhile, trying to get it, while horns are honking because some confused driver , facing uphill or downhill, was holding in place in front of a local impatient driver.
When a cable car, and sometimes two at the same time, would approach the intersection the flashing red light became a solid red light in all four directions. Making matters even worse,, see the guardhouse ? Sometimes there (was) a guard on duty, The roads are four lane and drivers will make “sudden” right turns on red, especially when other drivers are “hesitant and uncertain.” The guard on duty used to park his “bright new blue BMW ” on the on the left, just down from the guardhouse and drivers coming from the two lanes down hill would have to merge to avoid the illegally parked car.on the right,
Looking Eastalong Powell St
Add-in someone coming up the hill (where the cable car is) made a quick right-on-red turn and then a sudden brake or swerve to avoid the downhill car in the left lane. and or the parked car.
looking Northalong California Street
We are lucky that we speak in languages,
Each person has unique life experiences and lives in society, Language is a “thing” the individual learns by living in a society with a network of relationships. Imagine if every individual had to develop their own language . We would be like other animals, we could make sounds which communicate to others such things as danger, food, sexual attraction and even show compassion, or anger but having a language is a much more powerful capability.
To make this happen, a necessary component is there needs to be generational survivability in an ongoing society.
We can “produce” a surplus—we do not have to struggle through seasons like other animals—we can produce, store and use later.
If people, on Earth, would get along with each other, we could have a thriving world economy,
Its the “gettin’ along” with each other that is difficult, ir at this point appears impossible.
There would need to be common set of rules, at the very least a common set of enforceable rules for doing business .
In Sociology, there is the concept of “norms” —common behaviours creating a “structure of common behaviour which enables a society. to exist.
Regardless of different “individual psychologies”, enough people have common behaviors to enable a society to exist and persevere.
In the History of Human Development, people did not all start out at together, rather around the Earth different groups popped up here and there, found (worked) their way to survival and cultures emerged, cultures which for the most are not abut a different “reality” but different ways of surviving in the same reality.
Behavjors which happened in the past may or may not have been necessary to get here. we will probably never really know ,maybe we can never know.
But humans have “geo-political nation states now, funded by growing economies, taxes to support military, sovereign boundary lines drawn in the sand which justify killing others,
Of all the planets, in all the solar systems, in all of the galaxies in this Universe, thee is on only planet which has “developed intelligent life”. . .
And the “intelligent life” on that planet, on Earth, is busy killing each other. Still, the hope of language, that with brave leadership and support from equally brave and intelligent humans will create an Earth where peace, justice and respect for the birth rights of all people on Earth will prevail and respect for the human rights of others will be seen as a strength and not a weakness to be abused who have no respect for others or pride in themselves.
“The greatest photographic exhibition of all time —503 pictures from 68 countries— created by Edward Steichen for The Museum of Modern Art Prologue by Carl Sandburg”
“Photographs concerned with the religious rather than religions. With basic human consciousness rather than social consciousness. Photographs concerned with man’s dreams and aspirations and photographs of the flaming creative forces of love and truth and the corrosive evil inherent in the lie.”
Chado—The Way of Tea –Even though Rikyu knew that Hideyoshi disliked black teabowls he dared ouse one to serve Hideyoshi. Shortlyafwards Hediyoshi ordered Rikyu to do seppuku on the 28th day of the 2nd month of the same year.
“In the shadows of Momoyama period Setoguro pottery which reach to our day, such human histories lie hidden.”
Kiseto and Setoguro Famous Ceramics of Japan Series Number 10 from the Introduction by Shosaku Furukawa published 1983
It is said “Three’s a crowd” Clothes styles in 1960s Toledo Ohio, 1968
At a daycare center in Toledo Ohio 1969. ,fifty-tree years ago, if these girls were four then, that would make them 57 years old,
UN Plaza. SanFrancisco, 2018
On the Sakura LIne, Tokyo . Imagine what the woman in the white jacket looked like when she was the same age as the woman next to her in blue.
And again, and again, and again, and again war is called up to fulfill the ambitions of one man, it raising its ugly head to one ma’s song ,a man whose personal ambitions justify killing thousands of innocent human beings.
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.
Niles was one of five townships which joined together and later evolved into Fremont. In the early 20th century silent films were made in NIles, known for Charlie Chaplin and Bronco Billy.
Niles has a unique quality—it feels like the most visually interesting place in Fremont,
No one is at home, in all this house, in all this land. It is a long while before their return, I shall move as they would trust me not to, and as I could not, were they here. I shall touch nothing but as I would touch the most delicate wounds, the most dedicated objects,
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men James Agee and Walker Evans
There is a Bronco Billy’s piazza parlor, with a counter on one side and a column of tables lining the others, sandwiched in between walls exhibiting a plethora of reminders of the local past.
There is a motorcycle bar and a stop for the train that runs to Sunnol, and back, about an 8 miles journey for Saturday and Sunday families,
Niles also has its name spelled out in big white letters on the local hill side and a little museum celebrating its place in the past of silent film. Still a movie was and is, just a bunch of still of photographs joined side to side on a piece of film and run-through a projector.
What does The Heart sutra mean? Does it make any sense ?Do you think nothing exists? Or if nothing exists its opposite, something , must also exist.
. . . form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
From The Heart Sutra
Or maybe by mediating correctly we can control our feelings and not let our problems bother us so much. Its not really that we have problems, its that we see them as abnormal, unwanted, not a desirable part of life , when problems and dealing with them successfully, or no, and going on to the next one, is what life is. Many of us would trade our problems for those of someone else, and if we could we could find its no better.,
Still, feeling, no feeling, no perceptions, impulses,or consciousness., how can they all be just illusion? Janney liked the lanterns and made this image which I made into an illusion. Orange and blue are complementary colors.
Are you conscious in your own writing (substitute photography, ed,) of the existence of a ‘usable past’? Is this mostly American? What figures would you designate as elements it? Would you say, for example that Henry James’s (pick a photographer) work is more relevant tot represent and future of American writing (photography) than Walt Whitman (pick a photographer)?
From a questionnaire sent out contemporary writers in 1939 from the Partisan Review
Photography is usually about the content ,or the meaning of the object in the image, . Show me something !Show me some “Thing.
There are many different categories of photographs— snap shot, family portrait, wedding photograph, journalism, advertising and fashion, scientific, Fine Art, documentation, spying, the ubiquitous driver’s license photo, catalog, a picture postcard, selfie and more. People like to see photographs of themselves,
.Each of these categories has their benchmark of quality. Many of these benchmarks include that the photograph not tell you anything about the photographer. that would intrude on the function.
“Photographs concerned with basic human consciousness rather than social consciousness” Photographs concerned with with man’s dreams and aspirations and photographs of the flaming creative forces of love and truth and corrosive evil inherent in the lie.”
Edward Steichen from the Introduction to The Family of Man
Still the photographer”s craft is there, photographers are differentiated by their skills and when, over time, the photographer’s intrusion on the function or purpose of the image is consistent, it stops being an intrusion, it becomes a style and maybe even a fashion.
“It was conceived as a mirror of the universal elements and emotions in the everydayness of life—as a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world.’
Edward Steichen from the Introduction to The Family of Man
Perhaps the universe created people to see itself, perhaps to know itself . . . and perhaps people created photography to see themself? or to see themselves?
Its been almost 200 years since the first photograph, there are so many different categories of photographs, and in a sense each shows us who were are. We have seen starvation, .Nazi concentration camps, war and the end of war, and peace, until the next war—photography has shown us so many faces of ourselves and has not been able to to generate a solution .
There is always tomorrow until there is no tomorrow..
Japanese TV shows
In high schools and colleges in Japan there are “clubs,” which may range from sports teams to photography to almost anything and this story is about five students who form their own literary club and their evolving personal dynamics. Its a softly told emotional moving story with no end.
Onsen is a story of a traditional Japanese restaurant surviving in the modern world of forget tradition, fast food and big profits.
Food in Japan has its own unique place with many Japanese tv stories built around the “magical meaning” of food. In Tokyo there are many excellent small neighborhood restaurants, there is no need for any of them to be the “best,” they can all be different and all be the best because of their uniqueness. One series is a food detective business where clients bring their precious but lost food memories for the detectives to find the source and make the special dish, most are vey common dishes prepared uniquely by a special person in their life . .
Onsen is a story of the tradition of a Japanese kaiseki restaurant and along with the stereo type LCD the viewer experiences the meaning of Japanese traditions in food preparation and serving, learning about the importance of traditions ikebana, painting, pottery, food preparation, food service and training—all things which are part traditional Japanese cuisine
An even number of cats broken into two groups of one and three, and the three broken into two groups of one — who got the soft pillow?— and two.Front door cats photograph by Janney.
InJapan public services are welcomed, when there are problems delivering the service, such as in mass transportation or education, the Japanese fix it and.conservatives do not behave as if the problem is a bunch of economic failures who will get something for free, something which they do not deserve and will decrease their motivation to work. Tokyo is a much more pleasant city to live in than any in the USA because you can go anywhere and enjoy all the different neighborhoods without fear.
Many in the big retail business use outside facing windows to display their wares, when you watch many people passing by are more busy looking at their own reflection in the window,. Looking, I wonder if I see myself the way others see me though I am quite sure they do not see me as I see me, that is why when you see my photos, I am not trying to tell you who is this or that person, why they are doing this or that, whether they are good or bad, its just a little about how their lines, shapes, colors, and textures fit together to make a scene.
So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra which says: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
“We usually had a book apple orchard. Such a variety of apples that w had apples until the spring of the year. After one variety would be gone , the folks seems to know what the next varies you’d start using.
And Dad, he’d bury those [apples] in the oats bin, lard cans—50 pound cans. There might be as many as 15 cans buried down in the oats bin, and they be just like out of the refrigerator now, when you’d take them out.”
Mary Works , 84 Feeding Our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers published 1983
Do you think there wold be no war?, or crime?, or mistakes?, if only world was populated by Buddhas . Or do you think these Buddhas would sit around all day in deep prajna paramita? who would cook and clean and raise the children or earn living?
The last lines of The Heart Sutra, brush by Janney
Here in the US people are blessed with many diverse understandings of what is Buddhism and what is tofu. US farmers sell soy beans to countries in Asia and many think tofu is “weird food” while in the US “the zen of” something is the basic essence of it, without all the unimportant trappings, the nitty-gritty, the skinny, the pragmatic or the unimportant.
What is it that could be unimportant? I guess non-Zen behavour is doing a bunch of unimportant things such as cleaning your house or having a bowel movement? Drinking water? Feeling self pity?
Zen behavour is not doing those things? Or doing no-thing? Maybe the differences between the two, Buddhism and tofu, gets a little confusing for me.
Like tai chi along the Alameda Creek levee, its easier done without thinking, or planning, just a little repetition everyday and after awhile you stop worrying about whether it makes any sense.
Or whether being alone is really being or does being start when you get there.
Having a purpose, a mindful destination or even if mindful is the purpose what purpose is there? What purpose did God have when creating the Universe?
It sure was not very perfect, otherwise God would never have kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden How could God be so incompetent as to create so much imperfection, something which was so easily destroyed just by eating an apple?
Which is more important, the fore ground or the background when the back is the foreground.
Why not birds in the sky or bananas in a tree, neither one should be allowed to get in the way of enlightenment, so why would we let them?
Painting by Janney
One afternoon fifty years ago. Where are these people now and Morris the cat, after 50 years is “likely” no longer in this world. More than other cat I have ever known, Morris loved to be touched, you could pick up Morris, throw him in the air, catch him and he loved it and wanted more.
Then there is my sister’s cat, when visiting in 2018 I entered the house while my sister was not home, the cat was alone, I was not properly introduced and during this visit this was the friendliest it ever got. In 2019 a dog had joined the household and the cat was very pleased and happy.
I am allergic to cats, being around them in rooms where the live or touching them makes eyes itch and affects my breathing, my nose and mouth dry u. Not every cat affects it the same, some less, some more and sometimes its so bad I have leave.
Before the Covad-19 I used to go to Trader Joe’s and the bookstore on Saturday afternoons, after my four miles exercise along Alameda Creek levee. The bookstore first as I purchased perishable food. And before that there is a small Cancer Society second hand shop, the kind where the stuff is interesting to see and in good enough shape to enjoy seeing it.
At the bookstore I often get in a conversation with someone, seeing someone looking at a book I may inquire about it which often starts a conversation. This gentleman, being very proud of his daughter, spent about 20 minutes talking about her accomplishments.
I like to use quotes from books, perhaps as out of context flashes, these images are like quotes from the book The Journey is the Destination The Journals of Dan Eldon.
I can enjoy like Finnegans Wake or The Gutenberg Galaxy or Mummokan—just open it up anywhere, anytime, any way, and start reading or in this case looking, and whenI decide I am finished, close it and put it down. The experience of a book does not have be a linear-logic experience such as you might have with a book written AI or living next to a forest and upon walking enter it from different places.
Two people, Toledo, Ohio, late 1960s,
And one person, me drinking tea from a SetoGuro chawan.