#4360

Knowing, Being, Doing

The knowhow of nowhow

I've been posting something like the following in various places on the internet, but Deep Japan is probably the most appropriate context for this topic -- because "deep Japan" is probably the most appropriate place to think about these things.

The starting point is "now".

Now is the only time we can do something. Kanji characters offer ways to understand how to use "now" to change ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Kanji, as used in Japan at least, are helpful for clarifying thought about the nature of now, self, other, evaluation, action, motivation, optimization, perception, communication and recollection. They support understanding of being, doing and knowing. The logic of these characters suggests that “good” changes when goals change, and that the “best” movement towards the other is, ironically, “best” for the self.

Being
The only time available for action is “now”. One thing we do “now” can be illustrated using three characters: tree (木), eye (目) and heart (心). A tree is anything observable. The mind’s eye scrutinises the tree for evidence of value. The heart responds to a perception of value in the observed object. An urge (想) is created. This is the “being” layer of behaviour.

Doing
Movement in the direction of perceived value creates a path (道: “head in motion”). Generally, we want to get where we’re going quickly and effortlessly. That would typically be regarded as “good”. Tools and guidance can help. So, using the “being” mechanism, we also seek out “good” tools (道具: path items) and guidance (道徳: path merits; morality). This is the “doing” layer of behaviour. Note that “good” is defined solely in terms of the urge we are trying to satisfy.

Knowing
One quintessential human tool, and the quintessential medium for guidance, is language. In the process of language acquisition, in special circumstances in which shared attention is a crucial precondition, the heart moves in the direction of sound (音) to create meaning (意: sound + heart). Then the heart moves in the direction of meaning to create memory (憶: meaning + heart). This is the “knowing” layer of behaviour.

What we know is what we remember, and we use words to communicate about, or at least tag, our memories. Memories guide us. When we offer and seek guidance, we tend to use language. If I were to write this in a language that I know but you don't, no information would be shared. Language is a tool, and tools themselves are made possible by language. A photo may function as a tool for sharing a memory. Think of all the words that went into the creation of the camera that made the photo possible.

A mind for the other
The three layers of behaviour influence each other, and the heart is often a downright nuisance, but this framework may serve as a “good tool” for those striving to design a “better” world, one in which (in terms of “being”) we seek “good guidance” by harnessing the power of “a mind for the other”, an idea that is deeply ingrained in traditional Japanese culture. In fact, the more skilfully we apply “a mind for the other”, the closer we will get to an objective perception of value, the better will be our selection of objectives, tools and guidance, and the smoother will be our movement towards a “better” future.

Shameless plug
If you perceive any value at all in the “tree” outlined above, you may find yourself moving in the direction of viewing a recent PechaKucha presentation that I made, where one of the objectively “bad” features was the loudness of my voice.

http://www.pechakucha.org/presentations/now-how

Adam F image

Adam F

United Kingdom

Adam F's other advice

A mind for the other images

A mind for the other

As Japan becomes more like any other country, it's not so easy to see clear evidence of "a mind for the other" in everyday life, but it does still influence the way people behave. This "mind for the …

You might also like

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan images

The Top 8 Places to Beat Summer Heat in Japan

Where do Japanese love to visit to avoid summer heat in Japan? I searched the top 8 summer resorts loved by Japanese including Furano in Hokkaido, Okinawa, Karuizawa and Hakone, which are famous amon…

Alexlovetravel image

Alexlovetravel

Enjoy bath, Japanese style images

Enjoy bath, Japanese style

Enjoy taking bath with Babu(Bub), a popular Japanese bath tablet to Relax after Exploring Japan on Foot.All travelers know how sight seeing can be exhausting. Especially walking around on foot, t…

mimichan image

mimichan

6 Interesting Japanese Manners & Customs images

6 Interesting Japanese Manners & Customs

Have a comprehensive look at what you MUST know before traveling to a new place.Learning the manners and customs of the country you are traveling to is imperative to impress and socialize with the …

Lara image

Lara

LOOK application makes you to understand Japanese product by your native language images

LOOK application makes you to understand Japanese product by your native language

▼ Download “LOOK”https://look-goods.com/en“LOOK” is an application that allows foreign tourists in Japan to understand information about Japanese products in their own native language, and shar…

R2C8 image

R2C8

Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement? images

Difference of IKEBANA and Western floral arrangement?

When I traveled foreign countries, I found some different customs, cultures, and ideas. It is all new to me and leads me more eager to know its deep culture. I will be frequently asked the differ…

Ami image

Ami