Confucius was a great Chinese philosopher that was born during the period of philosophical thinking. It was the norm during his era for people to seek knowledge and power. Confucius is most likely one of the most famous men in the history of China. His teachings were what made him very famous not only in China but the entire world. The standards he set are still used as reference points today. Confucius philosophy was centered on a principle known as “Ren” or “Loving others.” He believed in the need to exercise discipline, and that “ren” can be implemented by using the golden rule which states that you should not wish others what you don’t wish for yourself. His beliefs on politics were also centered on the policy of self-discipline. It was his belief that a leader has to display self-discipline to be able to lead by example.
Like other philosophers of his time, Confucius had his convictions that he lived by. The followers of his teachings were able to document some of his philosophical thinking about the society and life in general. We will be discussing five of Confucius beliefs in this article.
- His philosophy about human nature: Confucius beliefs about human nature were learned from Lao-tzu who Confucius visited to ask questions about history. Lao –Tzu was the founder of the philosophical system known as Taoism. According to Lao, nature is all within the universe that moves without any form of interruption. Lao taught that nature is good as much as it is allowed to run it full course without any hindrance from another source. To Confucius, it was normal for a man to be social and that the philosophy of Lao about starting and finishing, coming and going, and initializing and completing and all a usual procedure in human relationship. He held the notion that a world where there is cooperation is the best way of life. Confucius also taught that humans are different from other species in the likelihood to interfere with nature. A person’s ability is restricted by the individual’s capability to identify his/her real nature was another of his notion about human nature.
- His philosophy about having a consensus: Most times disagreement between people is caused by the fact that they think of themselves and not nature and it way. The views of Confucius were that no single person possesses the truth. He held the belief that it is through coherent dialogue that the truth can be arrived at among two individuals. Confucius held the view that as far as agreeing on a large scale is involved, that people will normally flow towards their station in nature. When there they will be controlled by what he called the five social relationships. These includes the connection between a superior and his subordinate, a father and his son, a husband and his wife, an older brother and his younger brother, and that is existing between friends interacting as equals. The main attributes he identified as needed in such a relationship are goodwill, carefulness, and concern.
- His philosophy about society: Confucius held the view that the key to attaining self-discipline is by adhering to the right routine. This routine according to him includes religious activities like worshipping ancestors that are death and the wider tradition of social relationship. He taught about the mutual obligation that exists between members of the same social group using the example of what exist between a husband and his wife, a parent, and child, etc. Respecting the relationship that binds them and conducting themselves properly is what will ensure a cordial relationship between them and serve as a building block for a society that is just and stable. He advocated certain ceremonial rituals within the society that include the celebration of the attainment of manhood by a boy at age twenty, sacrifices, mourning rites, marriage, and feast.
- His philosophy about politics: A lot of his philosophy was centered on governance and how a leader is expected to conduct himself. He advocated for just justice and sympathy by the leader and his subjects. His belief was that it was only by being just that a ruler will receive the blessings of heaven and continue to enjoy his mandate as a leader. Confucius held the belief that the key to succeeding in governance was each to carry out his assigned duty within the society in agreement with his position. His emphasis was on the need for each individual to discharge its functions as allocated to him by the society. The leader must have virtue to enable him to maintain his throne. The leader must not use force instill the fear punishment upon his subjects to retain power.
- His philosophy about education: Confucius taught his followers that the key to attaining self-discipline was through knowledge acquisition. Must times he will ask his disciples questions instead of teaching them and use the answers they provide to teach them lesson about life. He advocated the need to understudy a master that knows the laws of behaving in the right way. He recommended studying from the very best intellectuals. Confucius taught about the need for appointments into positions to be based on merit. This was because of his strong belief in education. His views and contributions helped to shape the way people were admitted into schools during his day. He advocated for people to be accepted into school based on examination instead of on the circumstances of their birth.
His contribution to the advancement of education during his day helped in shaping the Chinese society during his day. Some dynasties accepted his teachings and philosophies about education and implemented same in their kingdoms. This in part was what led to the advancement of his teachings after his death by his followers.
Confucius was a great philosopher, and his teachings were very influential during his day. His teachings on education, politics, and how to conduct the affairs of the society helped to shape the ideology of most communist governments. His teachings on the importance of acquiring knowledge are still vital in our day. His teaching about consensus building is another key point that today’s society can use in modern day conflict resolution. We will recommend political teachings on the need for leaders to show justice and sympathy to leasers of today. We feel some of his teachings should be imbibed by modern day leaders to help make the society a better place for all.
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