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Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 19:30

Chinese Cosmology: Tales of Life in the Loess

Peter Lighte, Ph.D.
Chairman, JPMorgan Chase Bank (China) Company Limited

Embassy of Norway
Nuowei Dashiguan 1 Sanlitun Dong Yi Jie


To live in Beijing is to live in loess, the silt particular to Northern China which not only colors the Yellow River, but the air, as well. To gain insight into China's philosophical traditions, Peter Lighte maintains that we must remain at the level of loess—in the knowable world—our eyes not aloft. The Chinese language itself tells us that, unlike in the West where the very word 'cosmos' alludes to an abstract concept of the universe, here the notion goes only as far as the eaves and ridge poles of a roof.

Peter Lighte will share his insights on the Chinese concept of cosmology, the immediacy of such ideas to our lives in China and tales of life in the loess during his sojourn in the early '80s.

An old China hand resident in Beijing from 1982 to 1985, Peter Lighte is Chairman of JPMorgan Chase Bank (China) Company Ltd. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. His recent book Pieces of China is available online; profits will be donated to Half the Sky.