On 18 November, Nottingham Confucius Institute was delighted to host the fifth session in the NCI Chinese Philosophy Talk Series. Manuel Parreno joined us again via Teams to share a fascinating exploration of Chinese philosophy and the answers it can provide for those seeking meaning in their lives. Manuel is founder of the company "Embrace China" and has a long-standing interest in the country, its culture and philosophy. He studied Political Science and Chinese Language in the US and Chinese Philosophy in China, developing a passionate interest for Daoism and its significance in the lives of people from all walks of life.
Manuel Parreno examined some philosophical ideas from Confucius and Laozi and addressed how they could guide us to become better people. He highlighted how Confucius focused on "external forms" or abiding by "rituals" as pathways to becoming an ethical person. He explained how, by following various rules of etiquette, people can learn to restrain inertia and bad habits to achieve continuous self-improvement. In comparison, Laozi advocated "introspection", that is, the comprehension of "Dao", and the value of consciously doing things in line with nature to live a happy life. Manuel emphasised how this Daoist approach has much to offer modern people living in a fast-paced society. We could gain a lot from learning to reflect on what is worth pursuing or should be pursued, and finding a "way" of action. Then, "under the guidance of Dao", we could choose to act appropriately to ensure we are on a path of goodness, and finally realise a harmonious coexistence between ourselves, nature and society.
Over twenty University staff, students and members of the general public attended the online event. Several participants thanked the speaker and NCI, expressing how fascinating the talk was and their wish to find out more about Chinese philosophy.
Posted on Friday 26th November 2021