Monday, March 23, 2009

Human Nature in China

Times have changed. Just last year I was in China lecturing on the metaphysics of human nature. Then I was unable to access my blog, inferring that the Chinese government blocked access. But here I am one year later, and for whatever reason, with full access!

So, if time permits I figured I blog a little about my experience and my lectures. Today I am scheduled to lecture on dualist views of human nature. I'll cover a couple of Descrartes' arguments for dualism and the compound dualism of St. Thomas Aquinas.

My son Rowan and I spent a few days in Hangzhou before settling in Beijing. We spent some time with our friend Jing and her husband Chenhui. The highlight was traveling the streets of Hangzhou on bicycle with six million of our closest Chinese friends. It was the most harrowing of experiences!!! The streets are jam-packed with bicycles, mopeds, cars and buses and there are no discernible traffic rules. Absoulte mayhem. The same holds for boarding and deborading buses and trains. It is a free for all. People push and shove and no one is phased by it. I was happy to see that the taking off and landing of aircrafts do not obey the same cultural norms!!!

My favorite experience was flying from Beijing to Hangzhou aboard China Eastern Airlines. As the plane was landing and was all of several hundred feet off the ground people in the back of the plane began getting out of their seats and reaching for their things in the overhead compartments. The flight staff yelled at the people, raced to the back of the plane, closed the over head compartments, yelled some more and then ran back to her seat before the plane touched down. It was amazing to behold!!!

And the food. Ahhhh, the food! Flavor abounds and we are in culinary heaven.

Reflections on my first lecture will follow.

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